Biomass Heating Plant
Location: Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT Architect: Centerbrook
Architects and Planners Engineer: DeStafano & Chamberlain, Inc.
Contractor: O&B Industries
For the past two years, golfers playing a quick nine around the Hotchkiss School’s private course, in the northwestern Connecticut town of Lakeville, have been privy to a new and unusual site: the undulating green roof of the new biomass heating plant, designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, that now warms the campus in winter. The 16,500-square-foot structure, the roof of which is meant to blend in with its surroundings and capture excess rainwater, is a tentpole of the college’s new goal to become carbon-neutral by 2020. By burning 5,400 tons of locally produced wood chips each year, the plant generates steam heat with a minimum amount of accompanying particulate matter, and this has helped reduce the school’s carbon footprint by 35—45 percent and its annual heating costs by about 62 percent. The building’s green roof is supported by FSC-certified wood beams, and nearby the school is constructing new wetlands to further integrate the structure with the natural landscape.