Over the course of the past several years, Parisian officials have undertaken a number of bold new environmentally-friendly initiatives designed to make their city a leader in emissions reductions. The city has banned vehicle traffic, for example, on a two-mile stretch of road along the Seine River as part of its anti-pollution campaign “Paris Breathes.” Now, in an effort to reduce the amount of energy Paris uses to heat its swimming pools, the city is using two new innovative techniques that reuse heat from wastewater and computer servers.
The first technique involves building swimming pools above Paris’ sewer infrastructure. As warm waste water passes through the sewers, the heat is captured by metal plates in the pipes, and then transferred to the pool water via a heat-pump system. This keeps the pools at a comfortable temperature without having to rely on devoted heaters.
The second technique, which has yet to be implemented, will use residual heat from computer servers to heat a swimming pool in the city’s 13th Arrondissement (Parisian municipal district). Next year, a French start-up called Stimergy will install hundreds of servers in the basement of a building below the swimming pool. As the residual heat from the servers rises, it will be captured and transferred to a boiler that warms the pool and its locker rooms. Rather than letting the excess heat go to waste, it will be reused to keep the pool warm all year round.
The projects are being spearheaded by Jean-Francois Martins, the city’s deputy mayor in charge of sports. He hopes that the environmentally-friendly innovations will give Paris a better chance at becoming the host city for the 2024 Olympic Games. If the projects are successful, other cities may adopt similar heat recycling systems in the future as well.