Wed, Oct 07, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Public funeral parlor recycles energy from cremations for air conditioners

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Government plans to make the Taipei Second Funeral Parlor the nation’s first “environmentally friendly” funeral home by using the energy produced from cremations to generate electricity for its air conditioning system.

The parlor, which was rebuilt and inaugurated in February last year, was built in accordance with the Ministry of the Interior’s green construction program.

For the comfort of mourners, the parlor management office of the city’s Department of Social Welfare Affairs began installing air conditioners in August. The units will reuse the heat generated by cremations.

Office director Hung Ying-hui (洪英輝) said the office would use heat transfer machines to transform the heat from the cremations into electricity.

The project cost about NT$7.7 million (US$230,000). Starting next month, the air conditioning system in the family waiting room and offices will run on the recycled energy, he said.

The parlor is the only public funeral home with cremation services in Taipei and performs an average of 52 cremations a day. The recycled energy should be sufficient for the air conditioning system.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) yesterday challenged the office’s plan and urged it to take public perceptions into consideration.

“I admire the city government for having such a creative idea, but for family members, it is just creepy to have air conditioning generated from burning bodies,” he said.

Chuang said the energy could be put to other purposes out of respect for the feelings of the mourners.

In response, Hung said the air conditioning system was installed because so many family members had complained that it was too hot in the waiting room during the summer.

“The air conditioning system is operated with recycled energy, and we can also look at it as the goodwill of the deceased,” he said.

Department commissioner Huang Lu Ching-ru (黃呂錦茹) said the department would discuss the matter with the Public Works Department, which did the construction, and look for alternatives.

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