Swedish crematorium heats Stockholm housing

A crematorium in Stockholm has opted to become more environmentally friendly by pumping the excess heat from its furnace into the city’s central heating system, reports the Swedish national newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Five years ago, the Racksta crematorium offered to channel its excess heat to water carried through the city’s central heating system to warm houses and apartment blocks. At the time, power company Stockholm Energi declined the offer, believing that the move would be unpopular with the public.

But the offer remained, and instead of condemning the idea as unethical, a number of bishops and members of the public have declared the initiative appropriate and environmentally friendly. Two other crematoriums already tap into the heating network, with Racksta set to become the third, says DN.

The idea stemmed from the crematorium’s need to cool down the furnace to clear it of smoke. Because the operation would require a large volume of water, a link to Stockholm’s heating system was proposed.

Although water pumped from the pipelines is relatively hot, it is still cool enough to reduce the furnace’s temperature from over a thousand degrees to 150 degrees. In the process the water itself is heated up, thus contributing to the city’s central heating. The alternative method of cooling the furnace, using electric fans, is energy intensive and expensive, while the new method benefits both the city and the crematorium.

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