If asked for the difference between Reykjavík and major cities in Europe and America, the answer is hot-spring water. This abundant, natural resource has a major impact on the lives of Reykjavíks, and in fact everyone else who spends time in the city.
Every year about 55 million tons of thermal water is pumped up through deep wells within the city and its environs and utilized in a variety of ways, the most important of which is space heating. The main benefit of heating with hot-spring water, apart from its being inexpensive, is that there is no pollution associated with it. This, along with little pollution from industry, contributes to Reykjavík being one of the very cleanest cities in world today.
Thermal water is also used to made daily life in the city that much easier, for example, run-off water from heating systems is used to melt ice and snow on sidewalks and parking lots, fill private hotpots and swimming pools and to keep greenhouses blossoming. Many residents have solariums in their gardens where tropical plants, fruits and vegetables are grown, so while the weather outside might be freezing cold, inside families are basking in an environment usually associated with a South Sea island.