Centerbrook Presents at Green Summit

Published on August 16th, 2013

Centerbrook Partner Jefferson Riley, FAIA, made an illustrated presentation on the Hotchkiss School’s new Biomass Central Heat Plant at the recent Summit on Environmental Sustainability in Independent Schools sponsored by NAIS, the National Association of Independent Schools.

The three-day Summit was held at Hotchkiss School, in Lakeville, Connecticut, and drew representatives from 45 schools from the United States and Canada. Riley, who led the Centerbrook team that designed the innovative plant, participated on the Sustainable Design Panel.

“My goal was to emphasize the importance of design as well as the technical aspects of the facility.” Riley said. “I think our clients want and deserve more from their buildings than simply function. They want their buildings to be endearing and full of delight. Those are the buildings that are truly sustainable because they are more likely to last for decades to come.”

Afterwards, conference attendees took a tour of the biomass facility. Riley was joined by Centerbrook Associates Alan Paradis, who managed the project, and Mark Herter, AIA LEED AP, who managed the Centerbrook designed Esther Eastman Music Center, also on the Hotchkiss campus. Both Associates were available to answer questions. The LEED certified building, which burns woodchips from sustainably harvested local forests, has reduced both greenhouse gas emissions and heating costs substantially. It is a key part of Hotchkiss’ commitment to becoming a carbon-neutral campus by 2020.

The school reports that during its first season of operation, 2012-13, the biomass facility reduced its heating bill by more than $800,000 compared with the cost of using fuel oil. The campus has more than 600 residents and 85 buildings that total 1.2 million square feet. The facility and its design have been featured in a number of architectural and environmental publications and websites.