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The Power of a Hot Body

timothy posted about a year ago | from the pickup-line-for-new-year's-eve-parties dept.

Earth 161

Hugh Pickens writes "Depending on the level of activity, the human body generates about 60 to 100 Watts of energy in the form of heat, about the same amount of heat given off by the average light bulb. Now Diane Ackerman writes in the NY Times that architects and builders are finding ways to capture this excess body heat on a scale large enough to warm homes and office buildings. At Stockholm's busy hub, Central Station, engineers harness the body heat issuing from 250,000 railway travelers to warm the 13-story Kungsbrohuset office building about 100 yards away. First, the station's ventilation system captures the commuters' body heat, which it uses to warm water in underground tanks. From there, the hot water is pumped to Kungsbrohuset's heating pipes, which ends up saving about 25 percent on energy bills. Kungsbrohuset's design has other sustainable elements as well. The windows are angled to let sunlight flood in, but not heat in the summer. Fiber optics relay daylight from the roof to stairwells and other non-window spaces that in conventional buildings would cost money to heat. Constructing the new heating system, including installing the necessary pumps and laying the underground pipes, only cost the firm about $30,000, says Karl Sundholm, a project manager at Jernhusen, a Stockholm real estate company, and one of the creators of the system. 'It pays for itself very quickly,' Sundholm adds. 'And for a large building expected to cost several hundred million kronor to build, that's not that much, especially since it will get 15% to 30% of its heat from the station.'"

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161 comments

Matrix (5, Interesting)

Andrewkov (140579) | about a year ago | (#42431955)

One step closer to The Matrix movie.

Re:Matrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432015)

"There are trains, where human beings are no longer transported. We are harnessed"

I for one, want a decent compensation for the energy I produce! Every 10th trip for free maybe?

Re:Matrix (4, Insightful)

calzones (890942) | about a year ago | (#42432103)

Not too far off considering that this concept is only worthwhile when bodies are generating excess heat that is unwanted in a space. But if you take away all the bodyheat being generated, then the people in that space will feel cold. To make up for it they will either dress warmer (insulate to keep their heat instead of sharing it) or they will expend more calories (which they must make up for by eating more) to generate more heat.

So yes, kinda Matrix-like, this could easily turn into essentially draining a person's precious energy from them without their consent.

Re:Matrix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432239)

To make up for it they will either dress warmer (insulate to keep their heat instead of sharing it) or they will expend more calories (which they must make up for by eating more) to generate more heat.

So it is a self-regulating system, great.

In the current state people generate excess heat so they need cooling. Transporting the excess to a place where people doesn't generate enough heat is not exactly a sign of a dystopian future.

Re:Matrix (2)

calzones (890942) | about a year ago | (#42432345)

The problem is that if you pump the thermal energy out of the building where the "hot bodies" are without somehow knowing when to stop, there's nothing to keep the system from turning that comfortable space into something less comfortable and more like the winter temperature outside. That defeats the purpose because you're not going to save energy when that happens.

At the extreme, it means the temperature in the space could become cold enough people want you to turn the heat on. A little less extreme and it means that people are less comfortable than normal and dress to avoid sharing their heat (making the space colder and making less heat available to the system).

At the most subtle level, even a degree change of -1 degrees means that people will expend more personal energy to maintain their preferred body temperature. Conservation of energy demands that this personal energy come from _somewhere_.

So, is it more carbon friendly to:
- consume food and generate body heat?
  - or to heat a space by using traditional means that depend on centralized power generators?

Re:Matrix (4, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | about a year ago | (#42432383)

Spaces like train stations are usually over heated, so they generally need to be cooled. Instead of using the outside air as your heat sink, you are using a building across the street, who happens to want the heat. The train station becomes more comfortable, and a building gets heat without expending more carbon.

Re:Matrix (1)

calzones (890942) | about a year ago | (#42432419)

Yes, I said that up front.
As long as you are doing this to avoid having to cool a space that you'd have to otherwise cool, then yes, it's a net win.

Re:Matrix (2)

Shinobi (19308) | about a year ago | (#42432389)

The place they are taking the heat from is a place where people are dressed for winter during winter, so lowering the temperature is desireable in the winter too. The railway station mentioned, Stockholm Central, can get quite toasty if you're dressed for the outside weather, and there's lot of people inside....

Re:Matrix (2)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#42432369)

Or in this case accordingly to the article lower the temperature from 22-25 degrees celsius to something more comfortable (I don't know what that may be considering people will wear different kind of clothes different times of the year. Like atm people will use jackets and possibly mittens and a hat and hence 20 degrees may be too hot to feel comfortable and say 12-15 degrees more comfortable.

In the summer people will dress more lightly but on the other hand there will be less demand for the heat.

Re:Matrix (1)

devent (1627873) | about a year ago | (#42432555)

I think any closed room with more then 10 people needs to have a ventilation system. Either you throw away that heat or you using it.

It's a shame that we don't have more buildings like that, that can use heat from the sun or people for anything useful. Termites nest have a strict regulated temperature (like 1 degree Celsius strict) without any ventilation or air-conditioners.

My apartment is on the north side of the house block. With mirrors and fiber optics I could get the same sun then my neighbour. I was thinking now for a long time if I could install a mirror for the sun on the wall of my neighbour house block. There are three house blocks under the same management. If we could install an array of mirrors on the south wall on each house block to reflect the sun to the north side of the next block, we could save a lot of energy in lighting and heat.

Re:Matrix (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#42432677)

That radiated heat was going to be lost into the atmosphere, and probably from thence eventually into space. Capturing heat from air that was already being vented would have no effect on the temperature of the rail car.

Re:Matrix (1)

cheaphomemadeacid (881971) | about a year ago | (#42433079)

So... you're saying that when noone captures your bodyheat, you don't generate any? I really really don't see the logic here. Why on earth are you assuming that people don't lose bodyheat? Why the word 'drain'? Its not a heatdrain, its using excess heat and transfering to another building. damn you slashdot for modding this shoddy logic 'insightful'

Re:Matrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42433523)

draining a person's precious energy from them without their consent.

Really? Draining their energy without their consent? Is that what we're going to turn this story into? These people found a way to harness energy that hasn't ever really been considered before, lowering heating costs, and reusing sunlight and thermal energy effectively, and we're going to instead consider the human rights issues of stealing these poor low- to middle-class workers' energy that they worked so hard to generate for themselves?

Oh. Right. "Welcome to Slashdot."

Re:Matrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432135)

One step closer to The Matrix movie.

No, not at all. We're already as close as we can get without discovering whatever super-special physics defying "form of fusion" the machines used.

Re:Matrix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432139)

The Power of a Hot Body

One step closer to The Matrix movie.

you surely mean Carrie-Anne Moss (the hot body)

Re:Matrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432147)

Even better, a matrix full of Jessica Albas...

Re:Matrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432915)

Where is this hot water used? For humans in that building? Why not bring them into trains?

The Smells of Summer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42431967)

Yes, those places use the heat produced by bodies very well, but in warmer months the body heat and smells are a little harder to manage. Ugh.

Hoot body ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42431975)

And there I thought I was gonna see some sexy girls booty ;)

Headline (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42431979)

Who else expected something completely different from the headline?

In unrelated news, hypothermia-induced death rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42431995)

among homeless people is on the incline.

Seriously: preservation of energy anybody?

The first thing I thought of was (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about a year ago | (#42431997)

how much that all might smell...

Re:The first thing I thought of was (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | about a year ago | (#42432019)

Which is why they aren't pumping the air directly, but instead, they are using the body heat to heat water tanks, and sending the water across.

Re:The first thing I thought of was (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432129)

Speaking of water, why can't we reuse the heat from the warm water that goes down the bathtub drain when we bathe or shower? Like, during the winter, have the drain switched so it goes through a winding tube underneath the floor before going into the sewer or septic.

Re:The first thing I thought of was (5, Informative)

kanweg (771128) | about a year ago | (#42432325)

You can buy drainage pipes for the shower that are basically heat exchangers. Cold water is passed through them (in countercurrent with the water draining from the shower) before it goes to the shower head. Of course, you still have to add some hot water in the mixing faucet, but thermal energy is saved.

Google: shower heat exchanger

Bert

Re:The first thing I thought of was (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | about a year ago | (#42432405)

Mod this man up. Thank you Bert. This is exactly what I need. I live in Michigan and we have very cold groundwater. It makes tankless hot water heaters a tough sell up here. But this just might be the thing to put me over the edge to buying one.

Re:The first thing I thought of was (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42433341)

Whatever you do, don't go tankless unless your water heater will be installed near to the kitchen. It will drive you goddamned nuts. The water heater should always be installed on the same wall as the sink (optimally on the other side, but sometimes there's no space) and then the second-nearest thing, which should also be as near as possible, should be the sink of the most central bathroom. This is always true, but it's especially annoying when you're dealing with the additional warm-up time of a tankless heater. Also, do yourself a favor and buy a Rinnai or a Paloma or, if you can find something else as reputable, something else of that ilk. You just don't want a Myson or a Bosch etc. at any price. And finally, it is painfully easy to overestimate the flow you're going to be using, and have the heater not switch on when you want to use it, especially if you're on a well system whose pressure delivery cycles significantly.

Re:The first thing I thought of was (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432391)

we have these... link [watercycles.ca]

Re:The first thing I thought of was (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432035)

That's why there's a heat exchange through a water tank.

How much more heat can they get (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42431999)

If they put up some pictures of real hot bodies as advertising in the area.

How is this possible? (5, Funny)

geckoFeet (139137) | about a year ago | (#42432001)

The Swedes are such a cold people. Even the Danes consider them distant and formal (not to mention a bit condescending).

Re:How is this possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432043)

The central station in Stockholm is probably the largest railway hub in Scandinavia. It will have plenty of foreign visitors providing heat.

Re:How is this possible? (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year ago | (#42432083)

The central station in Stockholm is probably the largest railway hub in Scandinavia. It will have plenty of foreign visitors providing heat.

Foreigners? In winter?
In summer the place is indeed replete with them, but they all go south with the brass monkeys before real winter hits...

Re:How is this possible? (2)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#42432087)

It will have plenty of foreign visitors providing heat.

I was there this August. I've seen plenty of hotties there, and from the looks, mostly locals rather than immigrants. Of course, during winter, when the heat is needed, all the hotness is covered by clothes.

Re:How is this possible? (1)

pipatron (966506) | about a year ago | (#42432333)

And we consider the Danes a bunch of fat, loud-mouthed alcoholics. No wonder you consider us cold.

Re:How is this possible? (1)

geckoFeet (139137) | about a year ago | (#42432597)

"You?" I'm not Scandinavian at all (short and dark, in fact). Did spend a winter in Stockholm, and definitely wouldn't recommend it for the weather. Also have to add, in case it's not obvious from your message, that the Danes have a much better sense of humor than the Swedes, and better beer as well.

Re:How is this possible? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432409)

As we all know from thermodynamics, energy can be extracted from a temperature differential. And the Swedes' neighbours to the east are the Finns...

If your typical Swede radiates... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42433441)

60-100W, then your typical American must radiate at least 250-300W like a floodlamp!

Fibre optics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432007)

I always wondered if this was a useful idea for lighting (and even heating) non-window areas, seems it is.

Lined down the 2 sides of a building mostly facing towards the sun, you could capture a silly amount of light to not need any lighting unless it was really really cloudy.
And the best part about this? If it is actually dark, you can easily have ONE backup light source in one main grid (so, like one per standard floor) so it both saves on money and complexity.

And since you are lining 2 sides of a building, there would be a huge excess, pump that in to heating even more, you'd rarely need to turn the heater on, even on cloudy days.

I'd still rather see stable lands look more in to sub-surface building. The entire building would pay for itself with a bunch of heat pipes and pumps in place, CONSTANTLY.
Think a typical high-rise both half-in and half-out the ground, it would look nicer on the landscape overall and there'd be a huge excess of power from the constructions alone.
There has been very few to look in to sub-surface building, such a shame. The extra price to do so initially pays for itself extremely quickly if constructed right. (not to mention the raw materials that come out the ground in the first place)

Re:Fibre optics! (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42432081)

There has been very few to look in to sub-surface building, such a shame.

I've looked into it. Sump pump / water leak costs / waterproofing attempts are extraordinarily expensive.

Also you are correct, dude in wifebeater tee shirt can dig a house basement sized hole in plain ole dirt for 3-figures... I'm guessing an entire basement can be completely built for only a couple thousand. Supposedly $5/sqft finished is reasonable. Don't confuse building a living space with shoving a basement full of $10K worth of HVAC gear... you can still build the raw empty basement for just a couple thousand. Also don't confuse confiscatory taxes and permit fees with the actual cost, in a civilized area most of the expense is the labor not permits.

The killer is I ran some numbers and digging the NYC 2nd ave subway is something like 37 million dollars every 10 feet. I'm guessing a skyscraper is less per 10ft.

Power, not energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432027)

Stopped there. Sorry. Would you computer geeks keep reading a story where they confused RAM for hard disk space for example?

Re:Power, not energy (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42432047)

It gets worse

Fiber optics relay daylight from the roof to stairwells and other non-window spaces that in conventional buildings would cost money to heat.

... cost money to light, during the day. At night you still need lights. Fiber is fairly IR transparent, even if they really did mean "heat", which I find unlikely, they still need heat during the night, especially long winter nights. I'm sure they'll have all the heat necessary during long summer days.

Re:Power, not energy (1)

Shinobi (19308) | about a year ago | (#42432155)

Actually, during the long winter nights, you don't need as much heating as you'd think if the house is built correctly. In fact, we have a problem here in Sweden, Norway and Finland in that many houses built in the 70's and 80's are overly insulated and thus cause health problems(increased probability of asthma, allergies, sleep problems etc etc).

Re:Power, not energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432215)

#1 law of air conditioning / refrigeration: You cannot *make* anything cold. you can only remove heat.

Re:Power, not energy (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42432403)

First there is no law of air conditioning. it's a law of thermodynamics.
Second it's called removing energy, I can make it "cold" by removing energy from it.
Cold is a human term for a temperature state. Reducing the temperature of an object by removing energy is in fact making it "cold".

Re:Power, not energy (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42432883)

Lack of ventilation more so than too much insulation. New enough to have "advanced" insulation, too old for modern heat recovery ventilator machines in the HVAC.

Re:Power, not energy (2)

ssam (2723487) | about a year ago | (#42432055)

do you mean "the human body generates about 60 to 100 Watts of energy" ?
similar to saying
"the car covers distance at 100 km/h"
which is not too bad. i have seen much worse.

Re:Power, not energy (2)

necro81 (917438) | about a year ago | (#42432161)

I agree. It irks me to no end when journalists, even science or engineering journalists, conflate (units of) energy and power. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, since hardly anyone else gets it right either. Nor, it seems, does anyone care. No wonder we can't have meaningful conversations about energy, where it comes from, and how we use it.

Newly proposed wind farm to produce 100 megawatts of energy per month.

MW are not units of energy. Megawatts per month makes no sense whatsoever.

Or...

Newly proposed wind farm to produce 100 megawatts of power per month.

Power is already a time-rate unit, throwing the "month" in there just confuses things.

Or...

Newly proposed wind farm to produce enough energy for 30,000 homes.

Over what time scale? Did they mean average power? What is the typical "home" journalists and PR folk use for this drivel? Homes consume power in different amounts - a highrise condo in NYC is very different than a McMansion in the 'burbs. The same house, occupied by different people, will use power at vastly different rates.

Or...

The human body generates more bioelectricity than a 120 V battery and over 25,000 BTUs of body heat

Don't even get me started.

Re:Power, not energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432343)

Jeff Foxworthy once asked a contestant on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader? the question: "How many watts are there in a kilowatt-hour?" It was the only time I've ever wished I was a quiz show contestant...

Re:Power, not energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432385)

Jeff Foxworthy once asked a contestant on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader? the question: "How many watts are there in a kilowatt-hour?" It was the only time I've ever wished I was a quiz show contestant...

The only reason a fifth grader would know that is because commie eco-mentalists are in charge of the schools these days... I am surprised the question wasn't "how many cm will the sea rise when you waste one kilowatt-hour"

Re:Power, not energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432407)

It would have been interesting whether the correct answer "a thousand hours" would have been accepted. It's one of those cases where a comprehensive answer consists of "the correct answer would be x, and the answer you most likely want to hear would be y".

60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (3, Insightful)

metamarmoset (2728667) | about a year ago | (#42432079)

The average light bulb around my area (W.Europe) is 9W - 11W.

Maybe I'm nit-picking in finding this anachronistic, but this is a technology news site...

Re:60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432177)

This is also a US-centric site, and in the US 82% of household lighting is still 40-100W incandescent, and US people are hoarding these light bulbs because of government mandated phase-out.

Re:60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (1)

dr2chase (653338) | about a year ago | (#42432267)

A crazy subset of US people are hoarding those light bulbs. Home Depot had the Phillips LED screw-in replacements on sale for $13 yesterday. No mercury, decent color temperature, expect them to last at least 25000 hours if you don't use them in a closed-up fixture, and probably longer.

And you can always find some fool, ignorant of heat pumps and the inefficiencies of generating electricity, defending crappy old incandescent bulbs as a good source of heat.

Re:60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432563)

Crappy old incandescent bulbs are a good source of "decent color temperature". The problem is that color receptors in the human eye have sensitivity curves over light frequency/wavelength, and colored surfaces have refractive curves. So even if your eye can be fooled into considering direct light from an LED light to have a certain color temperature, that does not mean at all that colored surfaces look the same color as they would under an incandescent light of the same temperature.

It's the nightmare of paint producers that they can perfectly match paint colors in sunlight (and incandescent bulbs) when switching pigment composition, and if you look under neon light or sodium vapor lights or LED lights, a perfectly matched car paint repair job looks like utter crap.

With LED lights, your color prints and color photographs and color paintings all are off-color. Never mind that the direct light looks quite accurate. Print and photograph inks/pigments have been adjusted to deal with neon lighting in recent decades, but LED light is rather new in the game.

Re:60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#42432727)

expect them to last at least 25000 hours

Or ~three months if you don't waste power by having them on 24/7. Power cycling kills them dead. Add being harsh on eyes and making colors look like crap (neighbour post can tell you more).

Re:60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (2)

dr2chase (653338) | about a year ago | (#42433613)

Power cycling does NOT kill LEDs dead. Where do you get this information? LEDs are installed on bicycles running on one phase from a bicycle hub generator; at low speeds, it is flicker-flicker-flicker. Chopping LEDs at a kHz is a recommended way of modulating their power. LEDs are used for brake lights (and now, headlights) in modern cars; those are cycled frequently.

The Phillips bulbs are notably NOT harsh; they're a low-color temperature light. I personally like a hotter (bluer) light, but that's not available yet in a good screw-in bulb (Home Depot has some other high-powered brand X that does a nice impersonation of a welding arc; THAT is harsh. Don't buy that one.)

The neighbor post is an idiot. Modern high power white LEDs deliver a much more even spectrum than your standard fluorescent bulb. It's not black-body, but the LED I can buy at Home Depot is far better than any CFL or fluorescent tube I have ever bought anywhere (someone elsewhere asserts that very good fluorescents can be had, and I'm willing to believe it). If it's my own work -- mixed color temperature mounted under cabinets over a counter, I beat that handily. For example: http://dr2chase.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/undercabinet-lights-basement-kitchen/ [wordpress.com] Yes, there is a bit of a dropout at 480nm -- I know that was immediately obvious to you -- but if I cared, I would fill in with blue+cyan.

Re:60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42432395)

Mostly because a lot of us here in the usa are pretty dim, so we use higher wattage bulbs so we seem brighter than we really are.

Re:60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432245)

You're forgetting about all the nonsense rants and FUD that come up every time somebody talks about CFLs vs. incandescent. That reminds me. I still have a few oddball incandescents in my house chewing up my electric bill unnecessarily. Maybe I'll stop by the store on the way home and pick up another pack of replacement CFLs. I still haven't seen the CFL that takes minutes to warm up and visibly flickers, and I even have a roommate who suffers from seizures who can't even see this supposed flickering. I still don't even get what the fscking deal is with price when you go from a bulb that costs 50 cents but chews through energy to a bulb that costs 2 dollars and a fraction of the energy to use. Yeah, a 2 dollar bulb is going to bankrupt me, but paying for a 100w bulb instead of a 23w bulb month after month won't. Bah.

Re:60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432327)

Never noticed a flicker, but I've had plenty take 5- 10 minutes to reach full brightness. Mainly a good few years ago now though - I assumed it was a thing of the past (none of our recent ones took noticable time to get bright) until I bought one from Ikea a couple of weekends ago and found it takes a good 15 minutes to get to full brightness (although in the situation we're using it that's not a bad thing)

Re:60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432923)

Ikea sells crap furniture. Seriously, they could make their furniture out of dried crap and it'd still be the same shit.

Is it any surprise they'd sell a crappy lightbulb?

Re:60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (1)

xaxa (988988) | about a year ago | (#42432501)

I still haven't seen the CFL that takes minutes to warm up and visibly flickers.

I have one, in my rented flat. It's very small, made to fit in the same type of fitting as a miniature halogen spot light, but in this case the fitting is shaped to only take the CFL bulb. It's like this [energybulbs.co.uk] , except not Philips. The lights take about 90-120 seconds to warm up fully. It's rarely a problem, as I don't often just pass through this room at night, and I won't bother to replace the bulbs until they fail.

I remember my mum buying a CFL in about 1990, it looked like this [wikipedia.org] (but white). This was well before they were generally used, I think she bought it from a local science museum. It was similarly slow to start, but it's still working.

After rearranging the furniture in my bedroom a previously hardly-used light is now useful. I need to replace the old 60W bulb, since it uses more energy alone than the rest of the flat combined. (The typical evening power draw is about 150-350W.)

Re:60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year ago | (#42432723)

I need to replace the old 60W bulb, since it uses more energy alone than the rest of the flat combined. (The typical evening power draw is about 150-350W.)

So the 60W bulb is using at least 75W ?-)

Re:60W - 100W bulbs still commonly used? (1)

xaxa (988988) | about a year ago | (#42433313)

I need to replace the old 60W bulb, since it uses more energy alone than the rest of the flat combined. (The typical evening power draw is about 150-350W.)

So the 60W bulb is using at least 75W ?-)

I may have missed a word -- more energy than the rest of the flat's lighting combined.

Average bulb? Give me a break... (3, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | about a year ago | (#42432169)

>" about the same amount of heat given off by the average light bulb"

For the love of god, will people PLEASE come up with a better analogy than that tired, ancient one. I don't know about you, but I don't think I have more than one or two bulbs anywhere in my house that pull more than 20 watts, the average being more like 12.

The "average light bulb" is hardly "average" anymore.

Re:Average bulb? Give me a break... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432681)

But the newer lamps you're buying are not "bulbs", so they can't contribute to the average.

Re:Average bulb? Give me a break... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42433061)

A better analogy doesn't exist, yet. When nobody remembers incandescent bulbs anymore, perhaps only a worse analogy can replace it. They'll have to compare it to cell phone hours, square feet of solar cells, pounds of coal, or liters of water raised by a degree in temperature. Horrible.

Anybody else notice innovation go full circle? Electricity and modern technology freed us from the unreliable old Rube Goldberg machinery. Now, this kind of innovation is reconnecting everything to the water wheels around us (and us).

Re:Average bulb? Give me a break... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42433159)

Good for you, but the majority of people are still using incandescent bulbs.

Re:Average bulb? Give me a break... (2)

markdavis (642305) | about a year ago | (#42433511)

>"Good for you, but the majority of people are still using incandescent bulbs."

Not the people that I know. All my friends and family have higher than 50% non-incandescent, making non-incandescent the "norm" or "average". Most are much, much higher uptake than 50%. My last big jump from 60% to 95% happened last year when I was finally able to get LED BR30 tracklight bulbs (Utilitech Pro #0338929) that are:

* Bright (650 Lumens)
* True soft white (2700K)
* Flood, not spot
* Fully dimmable
* X10 compatible
* Instant 100% full brightness
* Affordable

I thought it would be Philips that could do it first, but these no-names (from Lowe's, I think it was) have impressed the hell out of me. Florescent BR30 bulbs were never the right color, noisy as hell, completely X10 incompatible, take a while to brighten, and really never last as long as claimed.

And lets install Fart receptacles to help power (1)

Danathar (267989) | about a year ago | (#42432173)

While they are at it let's install fart receptacles so that when a person feels a toot coming on they can plop their own asses on a hole to capture the methane for power plant use.....

Re:And lets install Fart receptacles to help power (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42433431)

While they are at it let's install fart receptacles so that when a person feels a toot coming on they can plop their own asses on a hole to capture the methane for power plant use.....

You can't really trust people to properly fit the plug. Obviously we should simply replace the asshole with a quick-connect valve at birth. Hopefully a gate valve.

We've been doing this for a hundred years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432271)

When sizing the hvac equipment for buildings, heat sources such as humans and equipment need to be taken into account. Because of this, the heating capacity of the building's hvac equipment is smaller than it would need to be if there were no occupants. Similarly, in larger buildings, the core is perpetually (year round) in cooling mode as there is no outside exposure and only sources of heat. So, meh.

Re:We've been doing this for a hundred years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432331)

From summary

Now Diane Ackerman writes in the NY Times that architects and builders are finding ways to capture this excess body heat on a scale large enough to warm homes and office buildings.

But the NY Times only found out about it today.

instead of (-1, Flamebait)

etash (1907284) | about a year ago | (#42432275)

spending money on such stupidities, such as trying to suck usable energy from an already too-low energy form ( low entropy ) as is the body heat, they should spend it for example trying to make solar cells more efficient or cheaper. idiots.

Already done. (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a year ago | (#42432319)

that architects and builders are finding ways to capture this excess body heat on a scale large enough to warm homes and office buildings

If you are in the building, aren't you already warming the building with your body heat, excess or otherwise?

Excess heat (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#42432853)

If you are in the building, aren't you already warming the building with your body heat, excess or otherwise?

Umm, yes. In this case you (along with a few thousand of your closest friends) are heating the building so much that the excess heat has to be removed. The point of the article is to put that excess heat that has to be removed to good use heating ANOTHER building.

nothing really special.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432387)

Honestly you can build a modest, normal sized home that can do most of this without any "high tech" by using building techniques from the 1950's and 1960's and modern insulation.

Homes right now are built like crap. Built to be as profitable as possible for the builder, but that means it's as crappy and "cheap" as possible. Eaves are not long enough, insulation and outer wall thickness is a joke, etc...

But then most americans are stupid and demand a 2800 sq foot home for just two people, mostly because they hate each other. A NORMAL home for 2 people is 800 sq foot. using proper building techniques you can build that in northern minnesota and have it only cost $25.00 a season to heat it. Yes for winter, $25.00 to heat it, or a single 20 gallon propane grill tank to last you all winter long with the thermostat set at 70.

Go even smaller and it goes way up. There is a guy near Nome alaska that has a microhome of only 350sq foot that heats his house with the 5 pound canisters of propane. Yes the camping canisters, he uses one a month during winter. he was smart and built in real storm shudders, home is on the site correctly, and built for energy efficency with a air to air heat exchanger to reclaim heat while allowing fresh air in.

Problem is most american home buyers are stupid as a box of rocks, and most contractors are crooked and just as stupid.

Re:nothing really special.... (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#42432849)

Honestly you can build a modest, normal sized home that can do most of this without any "high tech" by using building techniques from the 1950's and 1960's and modern insulation.

Apparently you haven't been in many houses built in the 50's and 60's...

Pressed board siding, blown in paper insulation, thin walls, single pane windows, substandard wiring, no weather wrapping, inefficient heating and cooling ... only someone who literally knew *nothing* about house construction or was high as a kite would say houses built in the 50's and 60's were superior in *any* way to today. That was the initial "suburbia" boom and houses were slapped together as quickly and inexpensively as possible -- and there were no modern codes to ensure they were done well. If you were to pick ANY decades that, hands down, produced the worst quality construction in the last 125 years, those would be it. (Although, arguably, if you look at the rise of slap-together condo construction in the late 70's and early 80's, those would be worse... but its a small part of the market.)

If you're trying to wax nostalgic about structural quality, you need to go a LOT farther back than that, back to pre-WWII, when houses were built to last... but even those are a joke when it comes to energy efficiency. There's nothing you can do with modern insulation to fix a house with 4" thick exterior walls, short of filling them with aerogels... which is why modern houses in cold climates require 6"-8" exterior walls, with appropriate insulation, appropriately sealed windows, proper siding and home wrap.

Re:nothing really special.... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42433399)

If you were to pick ANY decades that, hands down, produced the worst quality construction in the last 125 years, those would be it. (Although, arguably, if you look at the rise of slap-together condo construction in the late 70's and early 80's, those would be worse... but its a small part of the market.)

Well, you'd really have to say "everything built since the 1950s" because statistically they're all pieces of shit built just the same way, except they're pretty much all using glass or foam insulation now and they have a tyvek wrap.

If you're trying to wax nostalgic about structural quality, you need to go a LOT farther back than that, back to pre-WWII, when houses were built to last... but even those are a joke when it comes to energy efficiency. There's nothing you can do with modern insulation to fix a house with 4" thick exterior walls, short of filling them with aerogels

Ah yes, but if you go back pre-WWII then you're going back to at least the end of the era when lumber was still cheap, especially if you lived near it and you should probably remember that California is the most populous state, and we not only still produce lumber but we're near the other states which make a name for themselves doing it. I lived for some time in a crappy little house in Marysville that was framed in 2x6s, and they were real 2x6s, not the fake ones we have today. Sure the lumber is rough; the homeowner doesn't care and the builder wore gloves, same as he does today.

When I was in school, parties did this for $0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432411)

How many of you have been in a crowded house party in the dead of winter, with snow on the ground? Everybody piled their coats in a bedroom, the windows are open, and it's still hot. No money at all. If there are bodies in the room, and they're moving, it's hot.

Re:When I was in school, parties did this for $0 (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year ago | (#42432673)

How many of you have been in a crowded house party in the dead of winter, with snow on the ground? Everybody piled their coats in a bedroom, the windows are open, and it's still hot. No money at all. If there are bodies in the room, and they're moving, it's hot.

That heating method is very expensive due to the fuel costs.

As soon as you run out of beer, you'll lose almost all of your heating elements. It will probably end up costing you a couple of hundred bucks per night to heat the house.

Next: harness the energy of flatulence. (1)

hessian (467078) | about a year ago | (#42432541)

Of those 100 travelers in a busy public space, about 8 are farting at any given moment.

If that heat and gas could be captured, we might have an alternate energy revolution, especially within a few blocks of a Taco Bell.

Re:Next: harness the energy of flatulence. (1)

cheros (223479) | about a year ago | (#42433601)

Of those 100 travelers in a busy public space, about 8 are farting at any given moment.

Finally, the smoking bans make sense ..

I programmed the HVAC system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42432711)

I programmed the HVAC system for both buildings so if you got any questions feel free to ask. I don't have access to the documentation anymore so all information is from memory only.

The Central Station is heated by radiators, underfloor heating and excess heat from the people. But its really only the walls that face the outside that need the heating so in the middle there is excess heat, heat that used to be ventilated away. They don't capture the heat in ventilation system however. The ventilation system uses heat exchanger (rotating and water based), to keep the incoming air at a comfortably temperature. The heat is captured in chiller boxes and other devices and pumped over to Kungsbrohuset to a heatpump to increase the temperature so it can be used in the radiators and heating batteries in the ventilation system.

Kungsbrohuset got a lot more cool stuff such as cooling via the klara sjö (sea canal), district heating and cooling, lots of heat exchangers and other stuff to optimize the energy use.

If you got any questions just ask, I'll check in.

Mall of America has been using body heat for years (3, Informative)

MNNorske (2651341) | about a year ago | (#42432737)

The Mall of America was designed with the foreknowledge that people moving through it would generate heat. When I was working a volunteer event there a number of years ago the community relations contact we had was cheerfully explaining that they typically don't heat the mall. She cited a figure of 100 people generates about the same thermal output as an average household furnace. Which puts into context why a party in a house gets so warm... Most office towers in northern latitudes tend to heat primarily around the edges of the building where heat bleeds out of the tower through the windows. Otherwise you may find that the interior of the build could actually be receiving cool air to dissipate the body heat of the office workers.

So, while I applaud the re-use of body heat for something useful, it's definitely not a new concept. Architects and engineers have been accounting for it and sometimes harnessing it for years.

WTF (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#42432779)

If I paid for the food that made that heat, and paid to be in the space they're using to collect that heat, I'm sending someone a bill...

amazingly silly... this won't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42433187)

This won't work because of the social aspects of it all.

What happens when heat energy is removed from your body? YOU GET COLD. So yeah, you might get your electricity, but you'll have a bunch of people in a giant refrigerator really pissed off that you did that.
Then next time they walk through there, they will wear more insulating clothing, and will reduce the amount of heat energy they "give" you.
And then it will stop being profitable.

 

i believe you have my property! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42433217)

nothing true but taxes and taxes.

hot body? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42433227)

when i saw the phrase "hot body" i thought article was about swimsuit models or politics. just sayin

Where's the thermodynamics outrage? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year ago | (#42433367)

Usually whenever /. posts a story about harnessing energy from some source, the pseudo-physicists come out in force to complain about the energy being stolen, e.g. a story about harvesting energy from the motion of cars over a road attracts comments about stealing gas from the motorists (it must increase fuel usage, or the laws of thermodynamics are being violated, yada yada). Knowing /., I was expecting complaints about how this must increase food usage of the people in the subway. Kinda like how putting solar panels on your roof causes the sun to burn out more quickly, right? That energy you're getting has to come from somewhere...

So disappointing, /. You've lost your outrageous outrage. Or you've grasped the concepts of efficiency and otherwise wasted energy... (not holding my breath on that one -- we'll see what happens the next time an article is run on harvesting energy from something other than the sun or body heat or other examples where the fallacy is obvious.)

Unless you pay for my food, GTFO. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42433519)

I generate that energy to keep me warm and alive. It costs me food. So unless you pay for my food, you got no business intentionally cooling me against my will!

It is theft. Plain and simple.

My 1926 house (1)

3ryon (415000) | about a year ago | (#42433563)

My 1926 house already has this feature. All of the heat given off by the bodies in the house going directly into the air and so the heater doesn't have to run as often. It's amazing what they thought of in 1926, before central heat was even invented. No wonder they're called the Greatest Generation!

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