September 26, 2009

Swiss Build New Alps Refuge

On Saturday, Switzerland will inaugurate a new futuristic looking mountain refuge in the Alps.

The new refuge is at 9,349 feet near Zermatt in the southwest part of the Alps.  It resembles a gigantic crystal with metallic-looking cladding on the exterior, and a wood interior, according to the Swiss Alpine Club.

The shed can house up to 120 alpinists and is designed to obtain 90 percent of the power it needs from the sun.  The project was built with the help of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

The remaining 10 percent of the needed power would be ran off gas, which will be delivered by a helicopter regularly.

Water will also be sourced from the surroundings.  Water from melting glaciers in the summer will be collected and stored in the reservoir, and heated mainly by solar energy.

A computerized system will manage the building's energy resources and total carbon emissions from the shed, which are expected to be three times lower than the current mountain refuge exposes the environment too. 

The Swiss Alpine Club says the building is "not just an attractive lodging for the alpinists but also a point of attraction for architecture and technology enthusiasts worldwide."

The refuge's view is over the Gorner, Grenz and Mount Rose glaciers.

Thirty-five workers built the $6.3 million refuge over two summers, with about 3,000 helicopter trips to ferry workers and materials back-and-forth to the location.

Image Courtesy Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich


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