If you’ve ever seen steam coming out of vents in a major US city (or indeed in a film set in one), you might not have realised why it’s there. I certainly didn’t until I read The Works, by Kate Ascher, after Matt Jones recommended it in his CityCamp London talk.
It turns out that a few major cities - San Francisco is one of them, as (of course) is New York, which has the most extensive network in the world - have thermal power systems:
At the Energy Center’s two downtown plants, we produce steam and pipe it to approximately 170 customer buildings for space heating, domestic hot water, air conditioning and industrial process use.
Who’d have thought it?