Harnessing thermal energy from event delegates, the new BODYHEAT system marks a huge stride towards making Glasgow a net zero city.
After three years of development, Glasgow’s multidisciplinary arts and corporate events venue, SWG3, has launched its radical new heating system to regenerate the thermal energy emitted from event delegates.
The BODYHEAT system stores the thermal energy across SWG3’s 12 underground boreholes located in the venue’s community garden. Surrounded by thermal-absorbing rocks, the boreholes can store the heat for future events scheduled days, weeks, or months ahead.
Delegate body heat can also be transported using a carefully selected carrier fluid through a closed network of pipes to heat pumps in the venue’s plant room, before then moving 200m underground to be stored in the boreholes. Once the energy is ready to be used again, it travels back to the heat pumps where it is then upgraded to a suitable temperature and emitted back to heat – or cool – SWG3’s event spaces and provide hot water.
“Hopefully this will influence other venue holders from our industry and beyond to follow suit and work together to tackle climate change.”
Capturing delegate body heat as they enter the venue through the main foyer entrance, the tech start-up is also now active across some of the venue’s largest event spaces, including the 1,250 delegate capacity Galvanizers room and the 1,000 delegate TV Studio, which are both used for global conferences, corporate dinners, and award ceremonies. Providing simultaneous heating and cooling, some heat pumps can also capture body heat live during an event to instantly be delivered to the foyer where it can maintain heat at a desired temperature.
With the electricity used to run BODYHEAT originating from 100% renewable sources, the system’s heating and cooling is set at net zero carbon emissions since its first launch in October, where delegates were invited to take part in a special rendition of Scotland’s famous Slosh line dance to generate SGW3’s first collection of renewable heat. Completely disconnecting all gas boilers across the venue will be the next integral part in SWG3’s sustainability focused plan to become completely net zero by 2025, while the BODYHEAT system itself is currently estimated to potentially save up to 70 tonnes of CO2 each year.
“We’re thrilled that after years of planning, consultation, and construction, we are able to switch on the first BODYHEAT system,” said SWG3 Managing Director, Andrew Fleming-Brown. “As well as being a huge step towards our goal of becoming net zero, this will hopefully influence other venue holders from our industry and beyond to follow suit and work together to tackle climate change.”
Managed by the Energy Saving Trust (EST), BODYHEAT was also made possible with support through the Scottish Government’s District Heating Loan Fund alongside the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme.
“What makes heat pumps so clever is that you don’t have to burn something to create heat,” explained EST Head of Renewables, Anthony Kyriakides. “Instead, you’re using a modest amount of electricity to capture the heat that is already around us and redeploying it in a smart way.
“EST is pleased to support the BODYHEAT project and hopes the story and success of this heating system will influence other low carbon approaches to capturing and re-purposing residual heat and help reduce future emissions.”
BODYHEAT Fast Facts
- BODYHEAT captures heat emitted from SWG3 delegates and stores it underground using boreholes. In turn, this provides cooling to the event spaces.
- There are a total of 12 boreholes in a U-shape configuration, all drilled to 200m depth, used for storing this heat in the ground.
- Waste heat is transported to the boreholes using carefully selected carrier fluid in a closed loop network of pipes, which travels from the heat pumps in the plant room to the boreholes in the ground.
- Captured heat can then be used later by reversing the cycle and transporting the carrier fluid from the boreholes to the heat pumps in the plant room.
- The heat pumps upgrade the captured body heat into a suitable temperature that can be used for heating SWG3’s event spaces.