Many people know about the world’s largest indoor ski resort in Dubai, but it’s not the only indoor snow making facility in the world. Snow domes have sprouted all around the globe — from The Netherlands to South Africa to China — so that locals who have little to no access to natural ski slopes can embrace the sport, at least in a makeshift refrigerated environment. But these fabricated winter wonderlands of machine-made snow aren’t cheap; according to an ESPN article, it costs roughly $55 million to build one, plus additional maintenance costs to generate snow — and more importantly, keep it from melting into slushy water. However, the creators of a snow dome to be built in Barcelona propose to significantly lower maintenance costs — and by going green like some other ski resorts in the process.
The initiative comes from B01 Arquitectes, a Barcelona-based firm that advocates sustainable building in their work. Word had gotten around that SnowWorld, a Dutch company which builds indoor snow domes, had their sights on balmy Barcelona, and so B01 approached SnowWorld with ideas to make a snow facilitiy more eco-friendly than any other previously made, using a cleverly engineered system which harnesses cold temperatures that would normally just go to waste and dissipate in the nearby ocean.
Liquefied Natural Gas (L.N.G.) is shipped to Barcelona’s ports, and when seawater is used to warm it up from subzero temperatures in order to return it a gaseous state, the by-product is cool energy — which can then be harnessed and used as a refrigerant for building air-conditioning — and making snow if all goes well with approvals.
“As we all do, SnowWorld has a responsibility to move to a more sustainable world,” says SnowWorld Chief Financical Officer Wim Moerman. “So we are constantly looking for measures to save energy.”
If approved, the B01/SnowWorld Barcelona project construction would begin in 2015, and would be the first of its kind — and quite possibly the first of many future green snow domes. And their schedule is timely; according to The New York Times, Barcelona, a city which hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics, may have its sights on hosting the 2022 Winter Games.
Photo: jonrawlinson via Flickr by CCBY2.0