A large crematorium in Oslo offered to provide warmth to the city’s major utility Hafslund, which supplies energy and heating in the Oslo area. Hafslund turned down the offer, citing financial and ethical concerns.
Newspaper Vårt Land reported Wednesday that the crematorium at the city’s large Alfaset cemetery wanted to hook up to Hafslund’s underground fjernvarme system. Hafslund initially replied that “it wouldn’t be profitable,” crematorium chief Anne-Margrethe Brøndesbo told Vårt Land.
There were other concerns as well, according to Hafslund itself. The crematorium in Grodruddalen on Oslo’s northeast side is not located in the immediate vicinity of the underground network of pipes that supplies warmth to Oslo homes and businesses, said Hafslund’s information chief Truls Jamtland. The system also needs continual production of warmth, he said, “and the third problem was ethical.” Hafslund was uncomfortable with the idea of using warmth from a crematorium, and an ethics specialist at the University of Oslo (UiO) could understand why.
“Folks don’t want to have anything to do with bodies, and when a person dies, that person has left this world,” said Ole Martin Moen, a post-doctoral researcher in ethics at UiO. “The thought that they could nonetheless come back in a way and give us warmth can be uncomfortable for some.”
Sunniva Gylver, a pastor in the Norwegian church who’s an environmental activist, disagreed, saying it would not be unethical to use warmth from a crematorium as a source of energy. She contended that those in charge would simply need to be careful about how they discuss it publicly.