The False Creek Energy Centre in Vancouver is the first big system for wastewater heat recovery in North America; its exhaust stacks have been transformed into public art. Photograph courtesy City of Vancouver

Waste Wattage: Cities Aim to Flush Heat Energy Out of Sewers

Rachel Kaufman
For National Geographic News
Published December 11, 2012

Shower drains and dirty dishwater and laundry water could be on the cutting edge of energy efficiency and recovery.

Around the world, and more recently in the U.S., cities are realizing that the water leaving our homes and offices—specifically, warm and hot wastewater—is an astoundingly powerful source of energy. One estimate is that Americans flush 350 billion kilowatt-hours of energy into the sewers each year—roughly enough to power 30 million U.S. homes. Cities are taking notice, and taking steps to install sewage heat recovery systems to get a piece of that energy resource.

“I never thought I’d be saying the words that ‘Sewage heat recovery is the coolest thing,’” said Jessie Israel, resource recovery manager at Seattle’s Wastewater Treatment Division.

Read more: Waste Wattage: Cities Aim to Flush Heat Energy Out of Sewers — National Geographic.

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