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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After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.