Recycling Heat? Are you Kidding?
In the wintertime, one of the most significant expenses is the cost of heating the air in homes, offices, factories, and enclosed spaces the world over. Ironically, most of the money that we spend literally does get burned -- and wasted. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the average power plant that burns coal loses almost 2/3 of the available energy in waste heat. Many times, this heat is vented out into a nearby body of water, which compounds the waste by harming a fragile ecosystem containing plants, fish, and other species.
So what can we do about it? In some parts of the world, power plants are designed to handle waste heat as another usable by-product -- not just something to get rid of. In Poland, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark, many districts get all of their heat from energy that, not too long ago, had just been sent out into the atmosphere. In Manhattan, there are steam pipes running under the streets that convey heat that would otherwise be wasted.