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Testing the Water for a Cool, Warm Place

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Testing the Water for a Cool, Warm Place

Laugardalur swimming pool

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Aron Leví Beck is testing the water—literally. He sees an opportunity in run-off water from the swimming pool in Laugardalur and would like to use it to heat up a dream project—a Biodome—between the soccer arena and the camping ground in Laugardalur, mbl.is reports. Along with his partners, he has created a startup group called Footprints in the Sand (Spor í sandinn). The research is being funded by the Students’ Innovation Fund (Nýsköpunarsjóður), as well as Efla Engineering, Hornsteinar Architects and Primordia Consulting.

Aron, a construction architect and planner, is looking into ways of using the pool run-off water to heat up a dome-shaped greenhouse. Hjördís Sigurðardóttir, the team’s leader, envisions a greenhouse, composed of four domes, which would not only house vegetables, spices and fruit, but also fishfarming. Water and waste from the fishfarming operation would be used as fertilization for the plants.

On the group’s Linkedin page, the project is described: “In the centre of the cluster, the largest dome contains a rich tropical environment. This will be a multi-functional space with reception and information area, specialized restaurant, kitchen, rest rooms and a small visitors’ shop. Two smaller domes are specifically devoted to the farming; aquaponics, organic horticulture and a study area. The harvest will be prepared and consumed at the restaurant and also sold separately in an on-site shop.”

The project, Aron points out, is based on ideas for environmentally friendly planning and urban farming. The group members seek new ways to use and reuse resources which otherwise would be wasted. The pool is a great resource, he explains, because of the run-off water it produces and because it’s emptied a least once a year.

He searched the world over for similar uses of energy, but without success. In Norway, however, he found greenhouses heated with run-off water from the cooling system of a skating rink. Although there is no precedent for the exact same kind of project as Aron’s group has in mind, it’s based on ideas regarding energy landscape and -clusters used, for example, in Holland.

Aron sees the greenhouse domes as a tourist attraction and an asset for residents. This way, there will be farmers in the city, he remarks. “Swimming pools,” he explains, “have historically been our town squares and they are the place place where Icelanders open up and start talking. Maybe it’s the same old political discussion, but the ambiance is special, nonetheless. That’s what it could be in the greenhouse as well.”

“Entering a green world all year round, a warm place where you can purchase a cup of coffee or tomatoes—to me, at least, that’s cool.” The project would allow Icelanders to set a great example for the rest of the world.

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