EKU solutions for the Bolzano waste-to-energy plant

A waste-to-energy plant with a “friendly” image for Bolzano

The Bolzano waste-to-energy plant was designed to blend harmoniously into the surrounding environment thanks to a careful study of the construction morphology. Amongst the solutions adopted are the EKU 50 Glass and EKU 78 TT systems, utilised for the south façade of the first body of the building complex.

Following a six-month testing phase, the Bolzano waste-to-energy plant has been operating at full capacity since June 2014, as a high-tech system able to dispose of residual solid waste, producing thermal energy equal to 260,000 MWh (corresponding to the needs of 20,000 households, or half of the families in the city of Bolzano).
This “technological machine”, as designer Claudio Lucchin calls it, is located at the southern entrance of the city, positioned amongst the mountains, vineyards and fields. “Taken into consideration was the visual importance and emotional impact of a structure of this nature,” says the architect. Lucchin explains, “I sought to shield the ‘technological heart’ behind an artificial landscape that dialogues with the surrounding environment. I wanted the construction morphology of the plant to be the symbol of the quality of our environment. Hence, I was inspired by the most beautiful mountain in the Bolzano basin: the Sciliar. In a certain sense, my aim was to create a kind of new hill, able to harmoniously blend into the skyline of the surrounding mountains, following their lines and colours. The green ‘sail’ positioned in front of the façade aligned along the highway morphologically resembles this mountain, reflecting its proportions whilst also hiding the machinery of the plant, attenuating the visual impact.”

The architectural structure of the waste-to-energy plant

The building complex is essentially composed of two large buildings. Aligned with the highway that winds before it, the first contains the turbogenerator, the components of the thermal cycle and the office building. Built opposite was a large screen-wall, comprised of a green grid that serves to mask the machinery and reduce noise. Following the line of the sail-screen, we come to an inclined glass structure that is the office building, open to the surrounding countryside and fitted with a greenhouse containing trees and plants that contribute to improving the indoor climate.
The second structure, aligned with the direction of the Isarco river, contains the furnace plant and boiler. The building is cladded with iridescent green sheet metal, punctuated by small windows that let in sunlight.
The pit is in exposed reinforced concrete cast onsite. Finally, there is the yard utilised for unloading waste formed by a common structure in translucent green polycarbonate.

EKU 50 Glass façades for the southern front of the first body

For the south front of the first building of the complex, 1,500 square metres of façade were created with the EKU 50 Glass series for mullion-transom curtain walls. With an average pitch of 2.50 metres by 1.30 metres in height, the façades are equipped with double glazing with internal and external panels in transparent and acid-etched 4 + 4/16/5 + 3 laminated safety glass, achieving an overall thermal transmittance below 1.6 W/m2K.
Since the stringcourses were very high and the struts too thin, it was decided to create a substructure that would allow the façade to withstand the wind load. Vertical tubular structures, in fact, follow the struts and in some points, HEA beams have also been built.
Windows were also created, some inserted into the façade, covering a total area of 150 square metres. Finally installed were some 50 doors of the EKU 78 TT series.

Bolzano waste-to-energy plant project sheet

Type of Building MSW waste-to-energy plant
Type of Operation New construction
Location Via Lungo Isarco Sinistro 57 – Bolzano
Client Autonomous Province of Bolzano
Architectural Project Claudio Lucchin & architetti associati – Bolzano
Structural Design Engineer Primo De Biasi – Bolzano
Construction Supervision Engineer Michele Carlini – Bolzano
Plant Engineering TBF + Partner SA – Zurich
Executing Company Termo Ter Scarl – Bolzano
Window and Door Company Fer System Srl – Treviso
EKU Systems
  • EKU 50 Glass for mullion-transom façades
  • EKU 78 TT for external doors with thermal break