Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 11:31 am
One day, the great novelist and essayist G. K. Chesterton decided to go sketching. He brought his colored chalks, his reds, blues, yellows and greens to a hill in South England, but he forgot to bring white. Damn, he thought, what an idiot, to leave out the crucial one. "Without white," he wrote, "my absurd little pictures would be...pointless." What to do? "I sat on the hill in a sort of despair."
Most Americans use electricity, gas or oil to heat and cool their homes. But the small city of Brainerd, Minn., is turning to something a bit less conventional: the sewer.
As it turns out, a sewer — the place where a city's hot showers, dishwashing water and organic matter end up — is a pretty warm place. That heat can generate energy — meaning a city's sewer system can hold tremendous potential for heating and cooling.
It's just that unexpected energy source that Brainerd hopes to exploit.
Native Americans and Pilgrims were onto something when they turned to cranberries as an infection fighter. American settlers believed the bitter food could stave off scurvy. But there's more than just Vitamin C in this indigenous berry.