Crematorium to Heat Pool

Eric Herman Headshot

Eric HermanIf necessity is the mother of invention, she recently took a macabre turn in Great Britain, where plans are moving forward to use excess energy from a crematorium to heat the water at a nearby public aquatics facility. 

Officials at the Redditch Borough Council have announced that the pool at the Abbey Stadium Leisure Centre in Worchester will be fitted with a system that circulates water through the furnace system at the nearby Durham Crematorium, utilizing energy in the form of heat exhaust that is otherwise wasted. 

According to Carole Gandy, leader of Redditch Council, the proposal makes sense in that it would save up to an estimated $22,000 in annual heating costs. “I'd much rather use the energy rather than just see it going out of the chimney and heating the sky,” she said. "It will make absolutely no difference to the people who are using the crematorium for services. 

"I do recognize some people might not like it,” she added, “but if they don’t, they don't have to use our crematorium.” 

The idea has caught drawn comment on Britain’s national political stage. Sir George Young, leader of the House of Commons, described the idea as a “groundbreaking scheme.” He added that he would “die a happier man” if he knew heat from his cremation was warming the waters of a local pool.

Not surprising, however, the plan has also drawn its share of negative critique. Roger McKenzie, regional secretary for Unison, Britain’s largest public sector union, condemned the plan as “sick and an insult to local residents.”

As strange as this idea may seem, it would seem credit is due to those behind the plan for looking at creative solutions to rising energy cost. Obviously, the concept of heating pools with crematorium furnaces will never be a widespread solution, and on a certain level the idea is a bit creepy. That said, however, there’s an inescapable logic to using energy that would be wasted otherwise to benefit those using the pool. 

My question being, is this a good idea? Or is it an example of “going green” gone too far? 

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