Okay, not quite. But the City of Lights is fast becoming the City of Innovative but Slightly Bizarre Energy Solutions, including new ways to harness the heat you might otherwise not want to touch.
Sewer water: French children are probably too classy to be delighted by this the way American children would be, but last week a Paris primary school started heating itself with poo. The school recovers heat from nearby sewer pipes, which are full of euphemistic “waste water.” Steel plates in the pipes draw heat from fast-moving water and pump it to the school’s heating system. The new plan should cover about 70 percent of the building’s heating needs, and keep 76 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere — a drop in the bidet, maybe, but all that waste energy would just go to waste otherwise.
Subway sweat: Also, this year, a public housing project will start drawing heat from the masses of damp, uncomfortable commuters in the Paris metro. The average passenger generates 100 watts of energy a ride, just from generally being alive (plus, you’ve seen the French, you can’t deny they’re hot). When they’re all smashed together, they provide enough heat to power 17 apartments. The building will draw the heat from the station into heat exchangers, which will move it into the pipes. Call it BOthermal.