Center for Innovation

This project was designed to help high school students discover how to live, and flourish, in a carbon free world. It would operate, year round, without the use of carbon fuels. Careful design using energy and light modeling reduces energy usage to the minimum. Photovoltaic panels and gravity fed water supply the necessary energy.


South Kent School

Location South Kent, CT
Features unbuilt
Program event space, visitor services, media studio, laboratory, solar greenhouse, technology spaces, support spaces
Year Completed 2011
Photo Credit Centerbrook

South Kent School’s Center for Innovation (CFI) was designed to both LEED Platinum and Net Zero Energy Building standards. The center would serve the school’s educational needs and accommodate as many as 300 visitors for various community events. The ultimate aim is to establish an environmental campus that is totally heated and powered by the sun; grows enough food – year round and onsite – to feed the entire academic community; consumes no externally sourced water; and causes zero pollution. Among the elements that would eliminate the campus carbon footprint are: photovoltaic panels for electricity; a solar bio-shelter that enables year-round agriculture; permaculture landscaping and husbandry; passive solar building design for heat and natural lighting; natural ventilation; and super insulation. Augmenting the solar power arrays and serving as teaching tools would be onsite renewable energy generating systems, such as wind and hydro technologies.

Bordering a scenic pond on a 128-acre site near the existing campus, the Center for Innovation was designed as a cluster of academic buildings, organic gardens and orchards, a greenhouse, permaculture landscaping, husbandry facilities, and constructed wetlands for storm water treatment. The first of the project phases calls for the cleanup and improvement of the former dairy farm and the establishment of the new organic farm. The second phase would encompass the construction of the central Community Building, a 300-seat, multi-purpose event space, visitor services, and media studio, and the Environmental Building, which would contain a science laboratory and a bio-shelter, or solar greenhouse, that supports an indoor ecosystem. A Technology Building, new farm crops and support buildings, and renovations to existing facilities were slated for development in future phases.

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