Western NY school to have "living building"

Nov 27, 2012

An upstate school is adding a structure that generates its own energy, heating and cooling using renewable energy sources for its teaching spaces. The Harley School in Rochester broke ground on the $3 million project Monday.

The Chesonis Commons will be one of the only kindergarten through 12th grade education facility in the country to earn a "living building" status, according to school officials.

The new addition is designed to educate students about renewable energy and the responsible use of resources by only using energy generated within the building itself.

Harley School interim head Vallory Myntti says students will have to make decisions about how power is used in the space -- like whether or not to turn the heater up when it is cold, or to just wear more sweaters.

"If a particular space gets electricity from solar power and the power is used up one evening, the next group of students coming in the next morning may need to pedal stationary bikes to help store electricity to the space."

Myntti says every time a child is conscious about the resources they are using it benefits the local, regional and national community.