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34 Vancouver buildings are heated using human poop

Poop for the planet
False Creek's Neighborhood Energy Utility lights at night. The facility uses sewage to convert to fuel for heating local buildings.

Did you know that there are 34 buildings in and near Vancouver's Olympic Village that are heated using human poop?

It's true.

The heating comes from what is called the False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU), which is located just East of the Cambie St bridge. The locals have dubbed it the "Poop Fingers" because the sculpture at the facility is meant to look like a hand, and sewage runs below it.

The process is called waste heat recovery, and the NEU takes heat from the sewage that runs beneath it and pumps it into the nearby buildings. Of course it's not only poop but also hot water from showers, or from kitchens - such as when people strain their macaroni down the sink.

In theory it's meant to reduce the use of fossil fuels for heating, but when there's not enough waste nearby the heat is supplemented with a natural gas system which acts as a sort of backup.

When there's a lot of energy being used by the homes connected to the system the lights on the top of the "Poop Fingers" sculpture go red. When there's not as much being used they go blue. You'll see this as you're going North across the Cambie St bridge into downtown.

And now you know.

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@bcisawesome Poop for the planet. #bchistorywithbobk #vancouverbc #sustainability ♬ original sound - BC Is Awesome