About ten years ago, I worked at UPS in their "boneyard" — a place where all the pallets were unloaded and strewn in huge heaps on an asphalt parking lot. We’d neatly stack the pallets, place them in a trailer, and UPS would get rid of them, netting about $0.25 per pallet saved. At the time, I didn’t realize the amount of pallets in circulation around the globe. It’s estimated that there are about 2 BILLION ordinary unit load pallets in circulation globally, and about two-thirds of these are only used once. It’s further estimated that U.S. companies throw away roughly 4 billion board feet of wood pallets every year. Pretty crazy, I know.
So HDR Architecture came up with Unit Load_Redux, a temporary exhibition intended as a probe for sustainable living through the redux of pallets and the use of bicycle energy.
Visitors can produce 125-200 watts while riding the bikes, which goes to power the LED lights illuminating the project at night (see below). And when the exhibit is over, the pallets will go back to being used as pallets and the bikes will be donated away.
The project was done in collaboration with Kiewit Building Group, Palleton, Inc., and Baxter-Kenworthy Electric, Inc.