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London Underground Used to Heat Up Homes

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the Earth’s average temperature has been steadily rising. Our use of fossil fuels has led to a significant increase in the level of CO2 and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere – this is having a detrimental effect on our planet.

According to the NASA global climate change website, 19 of the 20 warmest years have all occurred since 2001.

Therefore it has become incredibly important that industries rethink the ways they are using natural resources. In line with this new joint project has been rolled out by Islington Council, TfL, and Ramboll engineering firm which entails using heat from London Underground tunnels to warm up homes.

Under the new scheme the waste heat from the London Underground is used to provide heating and hot water to homes, schools and leisure centres in Islington.

So how does it work?

In order for this initiative to work, the old City Road tube station, which had been abandoned and out of use since 1922, was transformed to have an underground ventilation shaft fitted in that would extract the heat from the Northern line tunnels. Warm air extracted by the heat pump is then used to heat water and supply heat for commercial and domestic heating systems.

Not only does it offer a heating solution, it also has the potential to supply cooler air to the London Underground, which is much needed during the summer heatwaves.

How does this help?

Heat pumps represent a low-carbon energy source that is better for our environment. Since the station is using the heat that would otherwise go to waste, it has been estimated that it will help to significantly reduce CO2 emissions by around 500 tonnes each year. This scheme promises to reduce the heating bills for council tenants that are connected to the system by around 10%. On top of this it also generates greener and cheaper electricity for use by London Underground and a neighbouring tower block.

London Underground are hoping to identify more opportunities for projects like this across the London Tube network.

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