The London Underground is probably the most famous subway in the world. Celebrating 150 years in 2013, it started to operate back in 1863 and is growing ever since. Right now there are 270 stations being served by it, with roughly 1.23 billion people transported per year.
With its magnificent history, which touches 3 different centuries, it is now heading up to be one of the most energetically efficient subways in the world. A new and pioneer project plans to use the heat emanating from the people and the movement of vehicles to warm up houses.
This project is a responsibility of the Islington Council, and is part of an initiative from the London Mayor, Boris Johnson. The initiative aims to make use of the heat produced by the city's activities, whether they are commercial, industrial and so on. It is obviously a really ambitious goal, but commendable none the less - the subway project claims to be the first of its kind in the European continent.
Through a vent in a Northern Line station, which is the busiest Line in the London Underground network, the heat from the subway will be captured. In addition, the heat produced by a nearby electrical substation will also be captured and distributed. Supposedly, around 500 houses will benefit from this heat.
Not only this project will be great to spend a little less with the heating bills, it will also be good for the environment, by saving 500 tons of CO2 emissions each year. The project has a total funding of £3.7 million (around $6 million USD): £2.7 million from the Islington Council and £1 million from the European Union's CELSIUS project (this project aims to reduce wasted energy in European cities).
Even though it is pioneer in terms of subway and transportation, this project is not exactly a novelty inside London - since November 2012 the heat generated by a local power station is also being captured, heating more than 700 homes near it.
London is trying hard to become a more energy-efficient city - hopefully, this example will be followed by more and more cities around the world.