Design in public service: waste-to-energy plant + ski slope

Energy plant + ski slope

As a recent National Geographic article shows, the design of public facilities can be innovative, even fun, in addition to useful.

Copenhagen, Denmark, is constructing a waste-to-energy plant in the city. The plant will burn garbage from the city as fuel to generate electricity and steam. Converting trash to energy is part of Denmark’s efforts to become carbon neutral by 2025.

On their own, waste-to-energy plants aren’t usually attractive additions to a city’s skyline. When I lived in Spokane, the city’s waste-to-energy plant was located on the plains west of downtown, out by the airport, where most people saw it only briefly as they zoomed along the interstate out of town.

Copenhagen is building a superstructure for their plant that will double as a ski hill. Having skiing available in town could reduce the number automobile miles that skiers travel to hit the slopes, taking another step towards becoming carbon neutral.

I like this type of why-not? design. I’ve often wondered why senior day centers and elementary schools weren’t built next to each other, or within the same facility. Have you had any bright ideas for innovative design in your community?

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