Systems of the Commons

On Monday, August 5th, about 20 Harley folks (admin, faculty and students) attended a full-day workshop on the systems of the Commons building. We were introduced to the various energy-saving and energy-producing elements which will help make it a sustainable building. Chris Costanza, primary architect of the construction, gave an overview of the structure of each teaching space: Greenhouse, Project Space, Workshop, Control Room, Science Classrooms, Center for Mindfulness and Empathy Education, and the large meeting area of the Briggs Center for Civic Engagement. Electricians from O’Connell Electric explained the energy systems and feedback software to track data on electricity use throughout the building. They also dug into how the solar panels and solar chimney will generate heat and energy for the entire building, even helping generate power for the rest of the Harley campus. Before lunch, everyone was taken on a tour of the building, decked out in hard hats. We enjoyed a good lunch which gave us the energy to continue learning through the afternoon. Our time after lunch was spent with a gentleman from Kenron who explained the Mitsubishi heating and cooling systems, and the way students can monitor and interact with the controls to maximize energy efficiency. Everyone was invested in learning as much as possible, asking questions and projecting possible troubleshooting options. All in all, it was a day full of much information and much enthusiasm. The potential of this building to drive our learning is incredible!

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