Human bodies turn up the heat
February 11, 2008 A new environmentally friendly building to be built in Stockholm, Sweden, will harness human body heat from commuters at the neighboring railway station. The idea is to harness the heat generated by the 250,000 people who pass through Central Station each day using heat exchangers in the ventilation system.
Designers plan to use standard heat exchangers in the ventilation system to convert the excess heat generated by visitors to Stockholm Central Station to hot water and pump it to the nearby Kungsbrohuset office block. The hot water will then be converted to basic heating in the offices. At this stage the precise effectiveness of the process is not known, but it is hoped that this source will meet 5-15% of the building’s heating requirements. Making use of excess heat from the surrounding buildings is just one of several elements in the creation of this environmentally innovative building. Energy consumption and alternative energy sources are also being investigated. The goal is for Kungsbrohuset to have just half the energy consumption of equivalent buildings.
The building will be environmentally certified according to three different systems: Green Building; the P mark; and a new Swedish system being developed by the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, the Royal Institute of Technology and the Swedish Energy Agency. Kungsbrohuset, expected to be finished by 2010, will provide almost 40,000 m2 for offices, hotels, restaurants and shops. The idea is based on passive building design, which most commonly relies on the sun, but uses the unconventional concept of human heat. Passive design is a concept that does not require mechanical heating or cooling and takes advantage of natural energy flows to maintain thermal comfort. Well designed building “envelopes” trap and store heat from and minimize heat loss to the external environment.