U.K. Crematorium To Heat Local Swimming Pool

cartoon of a man floating on an inner tube with an urnA town near London will soon warm its new sports center and public pool with heat from a nearby crematorium. It could save the town more than $22,000 a year, and will also reduce the town's carbon footprint by four percent per year.

Said the town council leader, Carole Gandy, on the council's Website: "The use of waste heat energy in this way is good practice and very innovative. It would genuinely be a first in the U.K. and demonstrates Redditch Borough Council's seriousness about addressing climate change issues. The 'waste of heat' has long been considered nonsensical." Gandy calls it a good way to save energy "while remaining respectful of the bereavement process."

Eighty to 90 percent of people who contacted the council have backed the plan, says Gandy.

"We have been careful to explain how the technology would work, that it is tried and trusted, and that the practice is quite common in parts of Europe and especially in Sweden," adds Gandy.

The plan will save the town $100,000 in upfront costs, as well. It'll cost about $60,000 for a system to transfer heat from the crematorium's incinerator, versus $160,000 for a conventional heating system. The town council will also use solar thermal hot water heating for the sports center, which is set to open in about a year.

Local funeral director Simon Thomas voiced his squeamishness to The Guardian: "I don't know how comfortable people would feel about the swimming pool being heated due to the death of a loved one. I think it's a bit strange and eerie."

Local trade union officials were also less-than-impressed with the plan, saying it was a reflection of the massive public spending cuts being implemented by the government.

"These proposals are sick and an insult to local residents," said Roger McKenzie, regional secretary for Unison, Britain's biggest public sector labor union.

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