back to article Crematorium to heat council swimming pool

A funeral director has described Redditch Borough Council's plan to use crematorium furnaces to heat a municipal swimming pool as "a bit strange and eerie". The authority's novel idea involves sucking calories from Borough Of Redditch Cemeteries & Crematorium to the nearby Abbey Stadium Sports Centre. The facility's cremators …


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  1. Wommit
    Paris Hilton

    Don't mind myself

    I wouldn't be around to object anyway. :)

  2. Wize

    Its not like...

    ...they are using the remains to grit the path.

    1. Captain TickTock

      Give it time...

      In france they were using ash (not from crematoria though) for gritting over Christmas when they ran out of salt.

      Are these people squeamish about organ donation? Are they vegetarians or something?

      They sound happy enough to waste our fuel reserves and hasten the demise of civilisation due to global warming when they're gone.

      When I'm dead, take me to Iceland and drop me in that unpronounceable volcano.

      Oh wait, then we won't be able to use geothermal energy because there's dead people in it...

      Light blue touchpaper....

      Oh well.

    2. Stumpy

      Now there's an idea...

      ... maybe, they could use this idea down at Heathrow next time there's a brief cold snap ....

    3. N2


      Or turned into snuff, so they can even get up your nose when they die!

  3. jon 72
    Paris Hilton

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    I love it where the green madness puts the tree huggers into uncomfortable situations.

    Paris beacause.. far nicer to hug than a tree

    1. sabroni Silver badge


      so only tree huggers feel uncomfortable about this? Or should everyone think it's wrong cos it's creepy, but the tree huggers are conflicted?

      It seems to me that this is a sensible idea but I can understand how people could feel it was creepy. I don't think that feeling would be restricted to "tree huggers"....

    2. Elmer Phud

      Explain, please

      'Green madness'?

      Tree huggers - uncomfortable?

      Waste heat - most not produced by the stiffs - used to heat water.

      Cracking idea.

      'For years Dad's been on at us to turn the heating down, now he's heating the pool'

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      I dunno...

      ...she's a bit boney and twiggy...

      At least the tree would have more personality...

  4. IanB
    Thumb Up


    As a Redditch resident I love the idea - the heat is there anyway as the fires aren't actually fueled by the bodies, so why not use it? And the BBC are reporting that Unison (god bless'em) are calling it "distasteful" but, as the £14,500 per annum is likely the salary of a council employee job, would they really prefer a redundancy to save the same money?

    1. Tom 38

      Can't blame Unison

      Once you have been unionized, you are pre-programmed to object to any change, whether it materially affects you or not. It's just a Pavlovian response, like Bob Crow wanting a 10% pay rise.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "as the £14,500 per annum is likely the salary of a council employee job"

      Ah, this must be one those overpaid public servants we keep hearing so much about.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    sounds like

    a good idea to me.

    don't fall behind with your council tax though or you know where you'll end up

  6. Steven Jones

    And the issue is?

    I'm not sure what the problem is. It would be inappropriate to have happy swimmers splashing around in sight of the crematorium, but that's a proximity issue, not about reclaiming the waste heat from the furnaces seems perfectly sensible. It's not as if somebody is promoting the composting of bodies or using them for methane production. The energy will be coming from the burning of gas. Dead bodies do not make good fuel.

    Some people may recall a scene from Brave New World where the chimneys at Slough Crematorium were equipped to recover valuable chemicals from incinerated bodies, an invention which I feel owes more to artistic license than economics, but this is a step on the way.

    There are also those who opt for "green burials" where they do, indeed, expect to fertilise the earth. Then there are those societies that practice sky burials and you get recycled for vulture food.

    1. William Gallafent

      Dead bodies do not make good fuel?

      … in which case, why are they being used as fuel in Sweden?


      1. Steven Jones


        I'd like to see the technical details involved there. I suspect they are just chucking the bunnies into an incinerator with a load of combustible rubbish. A body with a lot of fat will contain quite a bit of fuel, but human beings are approximately two-thirds water, not to mention all the mineral parts that don't burn. When the road manager for Gram Parsons used five gallons of gasoline to try an incinerate his body and coffin at Joshua Tree in a sort of improvised cremation, he only partly succeeded.

        In any case, just how many bunnies are running amok in Sweden to make any meaningful energy contribution?

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Apples != oranges

        Half a tonne of dead rabbits burning at a few hundred degrees in an incinerator does not equal a single human body being incinerated at a much higher temperature with gas jets in a crematorium, along with coffin, clothing, etc. etc.

        The idea might scale up if you were to burn several hundred bodies at once an a power station, but somehow I don't think that would gain widespread acceptance...

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Dead bodies for fuel & The Matrix

          This was what I pondered when I saw the *only* cough Matrix film - surely burning the bodies would be better, than trying to generate BTU's from them while alive?

          Given any energy (nutrients) going into the system are still subjects to the normal laws of physics and suffer "conversion loss", I'd have thought that generating BTU's from live bodies was far less efficient than just burning the source nutrients for the bodies in the first place.

          It's not a practical experiment I'll be performing for Class 8 it should be said...

  7. Fuzzysteve

    Don't see a problem, myself

    It's not like the majority of the heat comes from the person.

    And it's hardly 'green madness'. It's a money saving thing. And it's all tax payer money. so if it save the council money, it saves you money.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I think trying to save money due to the death of someone's family member or friend is a bit sick" as opposed to making a fortune out of that death with frighteningly expensive coffins which are just going in a fire anyway?

  9. M. Burns Silver badge

    Soylent Green Energy

    It's People!

  10. thejackle

    Natural fit?

    More people die in the Winter: We need more energy in the Winter. Seems like a natural fit.

    (unless it's all used to heat old peoples homes which could lead to a bizarre fuel shortage/excess loop)

  11. EddieD
    Thumb Up

    Good idea

    It costs over a fiver to get a swim in the local pools, anything that can keep that from rising sounds like a good idea.

    If in doubt, don't tell anyone. Call it Redditch Council Combined Heat and Power reclamation, bury the details in the third annex to the second footnote, put the whole report in a disused filing cabinet in a cupboard in the cellar behind a door which says "beware of the leopard" and when someone complains tell them that the plans have been on display an if they can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, then it's their own fault. Apathetic blo....

    Anyways, more seriously. If we are going to be serious about energy conservation, then decisions like this are necessary. Heat is energy used, and rather than waste it, find something to do with.

  12. despicable me

    Hot water

    Presumaly most of the heat comes from the gas jets that are needed to get to 800 C. I doubt the burning body and coffin add more than a few percent to the total.

    I suppose they could also do it the other way round and use the exhaust gasses from the swimming pool boilers to preheat the cremators.

    Surely there needs to be a back up system for the swimming pool anyway, as I can't see the crem storing up bodies* for burning only when the pool is open.

    * As in "Put fatso on one side in case we get a cold snap".

  13. Richard IV

    How's it creepy?

    Unless the council are planning on deliberately offing a few people to keep the furnace topped up and keep costs down, I really don't see the problem. Well, that or running a "Breast(stroke) In Peace" promotion at the leisure centre immediately afterwards...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great Idea

    This is a really good idea. Whether you buy the global warming thing or not (and I do), it makes sense to use resources as fully as possible. This should definitely be done more, or would we rather pay more local taxes?

    The local funeral director is logically incorrect in his complaints. The swimming people isn't being heated "due to" the death of those being cremated. Neither is the saving being made "due to" the death of family or friends.

  15. Anonymous John


    I can see a lot of outraged ghosts haunting the swimming pool.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm.

      Like Rentaghost meets The Brittas Empire?

  16. Blofeld's Cat

    Frying tonight

    As an elderly relative of mine said when her husband shuffled off the mortal coil:

    "I'm having the old bugger cremated. It'll give him a chance to get used to the heat."

  17. Bottle_Cap
    Thumb Up

    What's the problem?

    Generally by the time cremation happens you've generally finished with your body....sounds like a bloody good idea to me!

  18. Anonymous Coward

    So when someone complains....

    ...that it's 'dead hot in here', they wont be far wrong.

  19. Richard Rae

    Not a bad idea

    When you really think about it. Why waste that energy? use it somewhere else.

    You could also offer the mourners a 'free' ticket to the pool to bath in their loved ones emanations.

  20. Ian 31


    "I'm not comfortable with it at all and I think trying to save money due to the death of someone's family member or friend is a bit sick."

    Said the funeral director. But making a living off the death of someone's family member or friend is fine?

  21. Mike Shepherd

    It's just a tradition

    I already heat my home by burning the methane derived from my great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandfather, god bless his diatomic skeleton.

    1. Elmer Phud

      But . . .

      But you're burning dead children as well - won't anyone think of the children?!

      And all those dead trees and birds and flowers and fishes animals, doesn't anyone care about the environment anymore.

      Now I know why the dinosaurs died out -- it's heartless (heatless?) buggers like you setting fire to them.

      I bet you burnt the Baby Jesus as well.

      As the great philosopher 'The Pub Landlord' once said - 'Shame on you, Shame on you!'

    2. Johnt199

      Burn baby, burn..

      Damn good point.. What are we doing if not heating ourselves with the bodies of the dead already!

  22. A J Stiles
    Thumb Up

    Good idea

    I always said I would like to be cremated in a power station, after any useful bits have been cut out and stashed ..... this definitely sounds like a step in the right direction.

    It's frankly obscene burning *anything* and not reclaiming the energy.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whats the issue

    It's waste heat, thats all.

    At the moment it's being vented to the open air, the net result will be the same, just the air will be cooler as it will have gone through a heat exchanger.

    Net result no difference.

    Great idea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: the air will be cooler ...

      ... so it might not make it to heaven, and bits of the dear departed may condense in the heat exchanger. I suspect the former is the sort of idea that worries the people who are bothered by it, although they'd probably feel foolish to express it in those terms. As for the latter, someone is going to have the hazardous and icky job of cleaning it, and I wonder how they could dispose of the residue.

  24. TeeCee Gold badge

    Later, in the office of the Council's Chief Executive....

    "Excuse me sir, your 10am is here. Mr Burke and Mr Hare with their proposals for improving our inadequate pool-heating system and reducing our care home costs."

  25. sabroni Silver badge

    burning is a waste

    If god didn't want us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat?

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm... can't see the problem...

    I very much doubt that anyone in the leisure centre would give a monkey's about where the heat to warm up the swimming pool comes from... as long as the water's warm and usable all year round.

    From the ecological standpoint this is a perfectly good solution. It shows that combination heating (using the waste heat) will save money all around, regardless of what is being incinerated (coal, rubbish, corpses).

    The media making a mountain out of a mole heap again, as usual. Must've been a very slow news day.

  27. Neil CM Burns

    Happy :-)

    didnt expect to see this about my home town on this site but still. im happy with the idea. as are the majority of local residents.

    "so far Redditch Standard readers are expressing overwhelming support for the proposal."

    1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit
      Thumb Up

      @Neil CM Burns

      Ta for the link. So what we have here is a case of union leeches^Hleaders utterly out of touch with the true wishes of the populous they claim to represent. Who'd have thought it?

      Nice name/story convergence by the way.

  28. Graham Marsden

    Death happens...

    ... deal with it!

    Why are people so squeamish about the end of a natural process?

    People are born, they live, they die, that's the way it's always happened and for most of human history it's all happened in one room, so when granny pops her clogs it's no great shock.

    But now we seem to want to deny it happens, people don't die in their beds, they die in hospitals and we tell kiddies that granny has "gone to live with Jesus" or some other nonsense to stop them getting upset (we're Thinking Of The Children!) and so anything to do with death is seen as "creepy" and sensible ideas such as this get to be big news because, well, it's icky, isn't it?

    (Should I use the Skull and Cross Bones Icon or the Flames Icon on this post...?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      RE: Death happens...

      How very clinical.

      I wonder if you'll find consolence in your words when someone close to you dies. Perhaps your mother, or wife. It'll come as no great shock.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: How very clinical.

        No, he's right - people try to brush death under the rug at the same time as indulging in the sort of emotional hysteria associated with the death of Diana, princess of our hearts. It's just not healthy. One of the side-effects of the death-denial thing is that people aren't comfortable talking about it, and this actually makes it harder for the genuinely bereaved to cope. In a sensible world everyone knows that people die, those close to them grieve then get on with their lives, and in most cases it's not a terrible tragedy but just the way it works.

      2. My Alter Ego

        Re: RE: Death happens...

        I for one agree with the OP, I also haven't taken the death of friends and family close to me particularly well in the past. I don't think he's saying he'd shrug his wife's death off, more that while it's distressing there's no point in being squeamish about it. You are after all highly likely to die at some stage in the future.*

        The whole using euphemisms for death around children is daft. What child will want to go to bed after being told that Granny or their bunny has gone to sleep and they'll never be seen again.

        I also had a enjoyable chat with some bible bashers on my door step once. I told them that I'll die, be put in a box in the ground (or an oven) and that's that. It doesn't mean I won't shit myself if I ever find myself spiralling to my death in an aeroplane.

        * I say highly likely as there are about 6,895,600,000 people in the world, and estimates of the number of people to have lived is 100-115 billion, therefore you have a 6.0-6.9% chance of dying.**

        ** Can you say for absolute certainty that the secret to eternal life will not be found before you die of natural causes.***

        *** Thought not.

      3. Graham Marsden
        Thumb Down

        @AC "How very clinical"

        "I wonder if you'll find consolence in your words when someone close to you dies."

        You mean like when my father died of a brain tumour when I was 16?

        I could see it happening. I knew it was going to happen. Yes, I was sad, but I was old enough that nobody tried to "sugar coat" it by effectively denying what was happening or saying "he's going to live with Jesus".

        I'm now 45, older than my father when he died, I know I'm mortal. I know my mother and sister are mortal, I know at some time we're all going to die. That doesn't mean I won't be saddened by their deaths, but neither does it mean that I'll try to ignore the fact.

    2. david wilson

      @Graham Marsden

      >>"and we tell kiddies that granny has "gone to live with Jesus" or some other nonsense to stop them getting upset."

      I'd have thought that many kids would be less likely to think "Granny's dead -> OMG, I'm going to die!" than "Granny's dead -> less Xmas presents for me!".

      Even knowing that people die, many teenagers still seem to act as if they think they're immortal, and I'm not sure how much different smaller children are.

      Some might need/want the happy myths, but I'm not sure their need is greater than many adults.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: RE: RE:


      I didn't disagree with your arguments, you are after all correct in what you are saying. Mortality is a fact of life and there is no need for denial or squemishness. In the context of the article however I wanted to make a connection to the fact that there are other factors surrounding death - the emotional human factors - not just the simple event. And when the death of a loved one is still raw on ones mind, I question the level of respect this recycling solution offers for all parties involved. Cremation is a meaningful act, after all.

      I'm sorry for the loss you experienced early in your life - and nor did I mean to be offensive in my comment this morning.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Soylant Green anyone?

    I actually dont mind this, as others have said it isnt actually the bodies heating the pool. Seems stupid to actually announce this to people though. Swimmers could be creeped out by it.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    It gives a whole new meaning for Carbon Footprint

    I wonder which is worse - rotting away underground giving off noxious gases or using fossil fuel to heat the planet with body disposal as a byproduct. Surely energy consumption should be about getting the maximum benefit and using energy twice is one step nearer.

  31. Cazzo Enorme

    Errr ...

    We were always told as children that the swimming pool in the East end of Aldershot was heated by the adjacent crematorium. Didn't stop me enjoying the pool then, and wouldn't now.

  32. Danny van der Weide
    Dead Vulture

    So, when the water is too cold...

    ... just go out and kill some people?

    Hmmm, dunno.

    1. Red Bren

      Don't be silly!

      The weak and frail swimmers will succumb to hypothermia, providing fuel for heating the pool. Eventually an equilibrium will be reached where the pool temperature is maintained at just the right temperature to ensure a steady supply of corpses.

      I'll get my shroud...

  33. Ally J

    No big deal

    Really. That is an awful lot of waste heat going nowhere and possibly leading to complications in the lives of future generations.

    Of course, it might be more fuel efficient to perform multiple cremations, or to use the waste heat to pre-dry the late lamented? Would either of those ideas be more acceptable?

  34. Dave 15
    Thumb Up

    Best idea I've heard in a long time

    Why don't more councils think logically like this.

    What about all of those waste incinerators?

    Once upon a time Cambridge burnt waste to raise the steam needed to pump the sewage to the sewage works (the furnaces, pumps and other equipment are still present as a museum down by the river). This made masses of sense - the waste would otherwise end up in land fill where it would rot releasing CO2. This way the landfill requirements are smaller, the CO2 is released anyway, there is no need to burn fossil fuels (releasing more CO2) in order to provide that energy.

  35. defiler

    Jacqui Smith?

    Isn't that Jacqui Smith's ex-constituency? Maybe toss her in, and she can do some good for the people who voted for her for a change.

    Not in the pool - she'll melt! What a world, what a world, what a world...

  36. dracnoc


    If you're going to come up with a money-saving idea, you might as well jump in at the deep end... oh, wait....

  37. PDS

    Looking at the relative quantities

    Surely if this were to be implemented, the vast majority of the heat would be used to heat the swimming pool, and the ability to cremate remains would be the byproduct.....

    When I first read this story I thought the general concensus would be exactly what I am seeing, most level headed (relatively) normal people in general agree, its better than wasting the energy. Unfortunately its the swivel-eyed nay-sayers who are gonna get listened to though.

    Flames.... well y'know how it is....

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The alternative is Soylent green squishys

  39. SoupDragon
    Paris Hilton

    Better stop breathing then

    so are they all going to stop breathing in case any of the exhaust gases end up in their lungs - sounds like a few people out to get some publicity with sound bites to me.

    paris I suppose , because she would be a sound bite.

  40. Beelzeebub


    At least they are well prepared for coming down here.

    But wait, I also need the heat, so no way!

  41. Gannon (J.) Dick
    Black Helicopters

    This has never been Creepy

    However the Pool Party invitation I got from my boss just became creepy.

  42. Nick Galloway
    Thumb Up

    The Matrix

    If Keanu can be used as a human electrical battery in the MAtrix, then why not use some surplus process heat from a crematorium to heat a public swimming pool, green house, air conditioning system, etc.?

    When I am dead I hope to be a nice bit of blood and bone but I will have very little say in the matter. A dead body is meat, plain and simple. It is either worm food or heat for the pool...

  43. Dick Emery

    Sounds like...

    ...they'll be sent to a watery grave to me.

  44. T J

    Nah, its dumb

    Even though its efficient, I still think this is stupid.

    Sometimes the 'right' thing isn't right enough to justify doing it.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Nah, its dumb

      Yeah man. Totally moronic.

  45. chrisjw37

    Energy is energy

    Why the feck not?

    Energy is energy and wasted energy is a sin against Gaia etc.

    No seriously, I'd like my gas fuelled pyre to do something useful, our local unit is not far from Chequers, maybe it could be used to incinerate useless political figures, a bit a James Bond movie like - no need to expenses scandal, Chris is burning tonight - Whoosh, useless Chancellor gone - who's next for doing a better job?

    That would make me feel a whole let better.

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