How Cool! London Homes Heated By Subway Waste Heat; Polluters Pay More to Park in Madrid

London is embarking on a first-of-its-kind project to capture waste heat from subway tunnels and an electrical substation and use it heat homes. 

It will draw excess energy from the hot tunnels of London Underground and pipe it to an existing combined heat and power (CHP) network that already serves 700 homes.  Not only will it reduce emissions, but it will provide heat to another 500 homes at lower cost.

If it works for one electric substation, it will be expanded to the many others that dot the city.

To reach his goal of cutting carbon emissions 60% by 2025, while producing 25% of energy from local sources, Mayor Boris Johnson is moving to distributed options – district heating and CHP.

"We need to do everything possible to create a more secure, cost-effective and sustainable heat and power supply for London. By supporting locally sourced energy and heat networks which can reduce bills and lower carbon emissions, we can not only save money but also drive innovation, jobs and growth in this burgeoning sector," says Matthew Pencharz, Senior Advisor on Environment and Energy to the Mayor.  

Other potential sources of waste heat are in the Mayor’s "Secondary Heat report."

Its part of the EU’s CELSIUS project, where five cities are collaborating to demonstrate how district heating can be more efficient using waste heat generated in cities.   

Polluting Vehicles Pay More in Madrid

In the US, some towns give perks to people that drive hybrids and electric cars – in ours, we park for free, and one of the malls has two reserved spaces next to handicapped parking.

Car hybrid parking

In Spain, the city of Madrid is taking it a step further. "Smart" parking meters will charge more polluting cars more, reports The Guardian.  

Starting on July 1st, cars with higher emissions will pay 20% more to park; hybrids get a 20% discount and electric cars park for free. Somehow the parking meter can determine the model year and engine in the car. A large new SUV could pay more than older, smaller car. Prices will also vary based on how empty or busy the street is.

With a million vehicles driving in Madrid each day, air pollution is much higher than the rest of the EU – sometimes five times higher than safe levels. The city faces big fines if it doesn’t improve air quality. The effort is expected to impact about 25% of drivers.

Other measures to clean the city’s air include a bike share program that launches in June and energy efficient buses.

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