Andrew Fleming-Brown manages SWG3, an arts complex in Glasgow, Scotland, that hosts massive dance parties in a series of warehouses.
In 2019, he had a light bulb moment.
What if they could harness the human energy all those sweaty bodies are expending in its warehouses to create a sustainable business?
“We realized that our audience could be our source of energy,” he told the guard.
Brown worked with geothermal company, TownRock Energyto make his dream come true. Earlier this month, the club opened to 1,250 clubbers, meandering to EDM beats. At the same time, a specially designed system transferred the heat from their bodies 500 feet underground into a layer of rock that acts like a thermal battery.
The foundation stores the heat until it is necessary to heat parts of the site.
The Bodyheat system at SWG3 is installed in two of the complex’s largest event spaces: Galvanizers and TV Studio. On average, the technology reduces SWG3’s annual CO2 emissions to about 70 metric tons, allowing them to eliminate three gas boilers. At full capacity, SWG3 could generate 800 kilowatt hours of heat.
But kinetic systems like these don’t come cheap. Brown told The New York Times, he spent about $500,000. Fortunately, he got a grant from Scotland’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Program and low-interest bank loans (before the current economic downturn) to pay for it.
The success of SWG3 has inspired Brown and TownRock Energy to use the Bodyheat system in other places. According to the Timethey have their eyes on a chain of UK gymswhere pumped-up bodies are just ripe for harnessing energy.