Eco - October 2012
Industrial Skiing in Copenhagen
Copenhagen demonstrates its vision in the aptly named BIG Architects' proposal to create an artificial ski slope on the outside of a new waste-to-energy treatment plant. The new attraction, to be built on the water's edge on Amager Island in the Orestad area adjacent to the city, will combine a striking visual statement with a sporting facility. At the same time it will turn what would otherwise be a little-frequented industrial site into a visitor hub in its own right. Skiers on the lifts to the top beside the smokestack will also be granted a glimpse at the workings of the plant through the glass roof.
But skiing is not the only innovative feature of BIG's competition-winning design. When it goes into use from 2016, the plant will also provide onlookers with a striking visual reminder of the carbon consequences of their consumption habits, by emitting a huge smoke-ring into the sky every time it produces a tonne of CO2. There will even be heat tracking lasers projecting a pie chart of carbon output data on to the smoke-rings at night.
Sustainable Shopping in Stockholm
Stockholm's Arenastaden district - seven minutes by train or a little more by bike from the city centre - is bringing a mix of offices, entertainment, retail and residential accommodation to what was previously an under-used industrial area.
Its planned new shopping mall and houses are still some way from completion, but the Swedish football team will be seeking a flying start when the iconic new national stadium, designated the Friends Arena, opens with a friendly against England next month. And next door, in a four-building complex that is winning plaudits for environmental excellence even by Scandinavian standards, energy company Vattenfall is hoping that its new headquarters will give a fresh green gloss to its corporate reputation.
Solar thermal collectors on two of the roofs provide heat to the buildings below, and can share any surplus with the surrounding district. Elsewhere, sedum roofing brings biodiversity, water absorption and breathability benefits, while boreholes into the bedrock beneath the offices cut the carbon cost of cooling.
Makeovers in Moscow
Green building materials are expensive and hard to come by in Moscow. Cost criteria on construction projects typically count for more than environmental concerns, and it's hard to justify energy- and water-saving technologies when utility prices are kept low by state subsidies. But existing houses and offices emit carbon dioxide at frightening rates.
Environmental campaigners at WWF set out to show an alternative way by attempting to transform their 19th-century offices in central Moscow with a new roof planted with vegetation and housing geothermal heating, solar panels, rainwater harvesting and thorough insulation. The project however, was scuppered by the refusal of consent to change the historic structure. Currently WWF is hunting for another site.
Pressure is also coming from international companies. Siemens now occupy one of Moscow's most sustainable offices and BMW and Kaspersky were early takers for a green office complex at Olympia Park. Meanwhile, real-estate consultants Jones Lang LaSalle have commissioned an eco-makeover at Vivaldi Plaza, near Paveletsky Station.