A City Bench Heated by Compost

The London-based non-profit design studio Public Works has created a public bench heated by compost.

Instead of burning garbage or fossil fuels, organic waste is used to provide energy for a heating system that warms a city bench in Oslo. The installation relies on the natural reaction of composting, which can generate heat of up to 60-70 degrees celsius. This heat is transferred through a coil positioned at the center of the bench. Establishing this project has allowed the studio to scale up in the form of a floor heating system for a studio in London. In the words of the designers, “if you can heat a bench, you can heat a house”.

The bench was created for the occasion of the Oslo Architecture Triennale. Degrowth, the event’s theme, called for the exploration of ideas about the transition to a more circular economy as current production and consumption patterns are dramatically increasing waste outputs worldwide.