A Swedish crematorium has come up with a novel way to harness its furnaces to heat buildings in the surrounding town, instead of letting the energy escape into the environment and cause air pollution.
Lennart Andersson, the director of the cemetery in the town of Halmstad, has revealed that the idea was conceived after a recent environmental review concluded that the crematorium's chimneys were pumping far too much smoke into the air.
"It was when we were discussing all these environmental issues that we started thinking about the energy that is used in the cremations and realised that instead of all that heat just going up into the air, we could make use of it somehow. It was just rising into the skies for nothing. For starters we will heat our own premises. But I hope we can connect to the district heating network in the future," the Telegraph quoted Andersson as saying.
The newspaper said that the new strategy may also help the crematorium save money because it will not only eliminate the facility's own heating bill, but also allow the crematorium to save money on cooling the smoke before it is released into the environment.
Anderson revealed that, so far, the idea has met with approval from locals in the town of 55,000.
"Of course it's possible that there will be some discussion about the ethics of this, but from our side, this is a purely environmental idea. There will be no difference in the ashes," he said.
Town officials say that they may tap into the new energy source by 2010, should the new heating system prove to be successful in the crematorium's own facilities.