Nightclub to reuse body heat to warm and cool

A Glasgow dance club and arts venue is implementing a geothermal heat pump system designed to store and reuse body heat from its patrons.

A retrofit ahead of COP26 will see the venue, SWG3, implement a geothermal heat-pump system known as Bodyheat. The system is designed to suck up the heat generated by thousands of dancing clubbers, store it at depth via a dozen 150m bore holes, and pump it back into the venue when required. The club estimates the system will save 70 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Geothermal consultant TownRock Energy is overseeing the project, using off-the-shelf components.

Usually, geothermal heat pumps work by connecting HVAC systems with rocks 150m below the surface, which radiate at a temperature of 50°C. The connections are long, fluid-filled pipes.

The stable temperature inside the Earth can be piped up to balance out temperature fluctuations during winter or summer.

SWG3 will use air collectors in the ceiling to suck up the hot air emitted by clubgoers. Usually these air collectors would transfer the collected heat outside the building.

“That wastes heat,” says TownRock Energy founder David Townsend. “Why not capture it and use it? Otherwise, the heating is done by gas boilers.”

SWG3’s system will remove heat from the dancefloor on Friday and Saturday, when the venue is used as a dance club. No air conditioning will be required. But on other days when the building is used as an arts space and often requires warming, the heat pump system can be used to pump heat from the rocks below back up into the space.

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