BIG’s Waste-to-Energy Plant is a Ski Slope that Puffs Giant Rings of Water Vapor
A new waste-to-energy plant now under construction near the center of Copenhagen re-imagines not only what a factory looks like, but what it does. Along with producing energy and reducing pollution, the plant features a ski slope on its roof for public use. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the plant redefines how the community interacts with and understands its energy sources. “We were driven to do something that would be perceived as more than a just a power plant, one that also gave something back to the citizens of Copenhagen as opposed to just delivering power,” says BIG partner Kai-Uwe Bergmann. Even though the power plant won’t directly emit pollution into the city, it will also remind its citizens that incineration does have an environmental cost. Every time a ton of carbon dioxide is burned at the plant, the building will emit a symbolic smoke ring made of water vapor. Bergmann hopes that by providing people with this information, they will be more cognizant of their energy spending habits. “I think we would all engage with our energy systems much more if we felt that they were a part of our city, rather than things that you push out to the periphery or industrial areas,” Bergman notes. By bringing energy into the realm of popular culture and everyday life, BIG hopes to shift public perceptions and encourage a culture of energy awareness. When the new building is completed in 2018, it will replace the city’s current waste-to-energy plant, which has been in operation for over 40 years. It aims to be the world’s most efficient and cleanest of its kind.