Greenwash Watch: Is this good design or egregious greenwrapping?

green mountain

green mountain© AZPA

A few years back I coined the term "Greenwrapping" to describe the putting of solar panels on top of a noxious use like a power plant. I have used it since to describe green roofs, used to hide the scale of huge projects.

Now AZPA has taken the concept of greenwrapping to an entirely new level; thy are turning a coal-fired power plant in Germany into "a densely-forested green mountain". It is still a coal plant, supplying heat and electricity to the town of Wedel, but now it is....pretty.

plant from water© AZPA

And since we know that CO2 is life, this is more than just pretty. The architect writes:

Our first concept departed from the idea that we could produce a corrugated envelope to the new plant, made from creepers which could absorb a substantial part of the carbon emissions of the plant because of an increased surface area, produced by a corrugation of the green envelope.

azpa aerial© AZPA

Right, the creepers will just soak up that CO2 and grow like mad. Why hasn't anyone thought of this before? Why get rid of coal plants when you can just plant vines? Or put every power station in a park? According to ArchDaily,

Instead of being a fenced-off compound, when finished, the plant would be surrounded by a wooded city park, which would become the centerpiece of the various bike routes, gardens and viewpoints that are already cropping up along the banks of the river. A careful selection of carbon-hungry local species would be planted and graded in height, the tallest nearest the solid green core of the plant, and the more human scale nearer the outside, creating a distinctive green landmark on the Wedel skyline.

night shot© AZPA

Old coal plants used to put out a lot of other toxic stuff that would probably have prevented greenwrapping, but these days they filter out most everything but the CO2. But to pretend that this will absorb a substantial amount of the stuff is an egregious exaggeration. Pretty, though.

transformation© AZPA

Greenwash Watch: Is this good design or egregious greenwrapping?
Does covering a coal-fired power plant with topiary make it any greener?

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