Former power plant to save power as LEED school

The 104-year-old Chicago power plant-turned-public school will earn LEED gold.


A team of engineers, architects, and foundation leaders in Chicago has turned a handsome but derelict old power plant that once served Sears Roebuck & Co.'s massive West Side headquarters into an inspired public charter high school, according to the Chicago Tribune . What once powered an entire neighborhood of buildings will now save enough energy to earn an anticipated U.S. Green Building Council LEED gold certification.

The 104-year-old structure is now the Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center , which includes Power House High School. The $40 million project, aided by $17 million in federal tax credits, has recovered the architectural glory of the old power plant, especially in a soaring turbine room with glistening white brick walls and tall, arched (and energy-efficient) windows. The building also features geothermal wells for heating and cooling, a planted roof, natural daylighting from skylights, low-flow toilets, and solar-powered sinks.
Spaces that were once filled with other engineering marvels are now retrofitted into school spaces-the three-story turbine room is now a great hall, and the boiler rooms will serve as classrooms and meeting rooms.

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