Location Lakeville, CT
Size 16,500 ft²
Completed 2012
Program Biomass power plant and central heating facility


Architect Centerbook Architects and Planners
Client The Hotchkiss School
Civil Engineer Milone & MacBroom
Structural Engineer DeStefano & Chamberlain
MEP Engineer Van Zelm Engineers
LEED/Commissioning Consultant The Stone House Group

This article is part of gb&d‘s Green Typologies series The Kids Are Alright: Five innovative schools.

Since its founding in 1891, The Hotchkiss School, a college preparatory boarding school seated on 810 wooded acres in Lakeville, Connecticut, has been educating the elite tiers of the American intelligentsia, and now, the campus’s new 16,500-square-foot biomass power plant serves to complement that mission and make it greener in the process—an estimated six million pounds of carbon dioxide per year greener, in fact.

Noted for its undulating green roof that converses aesthetically and practically with the rain gardens and bioswales on-site, the biomass plant—designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners—burns 5,400 tons of wood chips per year, is the third LEED-certified power plant in the United States, and is one of only 80 such biomass plants in the country.

Power produced by the facility’s two Messersmith biomass boiler units, which operate at up to 82 percent efficiency, generate 14 million Btus per hour, use wood chips from FSC-certified forests, harvest waste ash to be used for fertilizer on the campus, and use an electrostatic precipitator to remove 95 percent of emitted particulate matter. It looks clean, and it burns clean.

GREEN Certification LEED certified Energy

Certification LEED certified
Energy Replacing oil-fired boiler reduces greenhouse gasses by up to 50%
Water Green roof combines with bioswale and rain-garden system to filter runoff
Plumbing Low-flow fixtures throughout the facility
Landscape Facility is integrated with landscape, green roof

Most importantly, nature paths surrounding the plant and signage in the structure teach students and visitors about the various green strategies and devices being used by the facility, educating Hotchkiss’ future graduates on the importance of green consciousness.

This article is part of gb&d‘s Green Typologies series, which in each issue explores a single type of building. For more of our most recent collection, The Kids Are Alright: Five innovative schools, choose from the list below: