In Stockholm, which has both long, cold winters and high gas prices, the recycled body heat generated by 250,000 daily commuters in the city’s central train station not only warms the station itself, but channels energy to power an office block 90 meters away.
The recycled body heat saves that office block around 20% of its heating costs each year and easily covers the cost of installation and maintenance of the system.
A new “Signals 2017” report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) tackles the future of energy. This is in keeping with the the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal №7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.
Critical to the goal is improved efficiency, a “powerful but often overlooked driver of energy access,” says Tim Farrell, senior advisor at the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency. “Off-grid energy supply coupled with efficient appliances can help deliver sufficient amounts of affordable and clean energy while also contributing to sustainable development.”
The EEA report explores ways to make energy use more efficient and minimize energy loss, including “better insulated buildings, smart grids, energy efficiency standards and labels, and, most of all, smart behaviour by energy users.”
Energy efficiency, it says, is a “vital component of Europe’s long-term sustainability goals.”