My studio project this quarter has been looking at systems that are self-powering. Specifically we have been looking at water being collected to power buildings and promote urban agriculture. In that vein, I wanted to bring a successful project into the spotlight: Hammarby Sjostad in Stockholm Sweden. The community design also takes a closed loop approach to its design though, rather than collecting water, they collect trash.
When the town was constructed, they laid hydraulic tubes throughout, connecting buildings and public trash bins together. Those tubs lead to the district energy plant and essentially that is the infrastructure of the system. Residents separate out their trash into landfill or recycling. Items placed in the landfill bin get sucked down into the network of vacuum powered tubes that move the trash using air pressure. That trash is taken to the district energy site where it is incinerated. That energy from the incineration process provides 76% of the energy needed to power the community of 10,000 units.
Behavior of the residents was a primary concern for the designers of Hammarby Sjostad. How will residents adapt to new, futuristic methods of sustainability. While no studies analyzing the resident’s behaviors have been finished yet, designers believe that building the infrastructure within the original community helped encourage sustainable use from day one. While this is a great example of how a newly developed community implemented a sustainable closed system for waste; I wonder how applying this model to an already existing community would differ.