Staff writer, Connecticut Post
Updated: 09/20/2009 12:18:22 AM EDT
Kroon Hall, around the corner from the Peabody Museum, is the new home of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
It gets electricity from the sun. Geothermal energy provides heat and air conditioning. Rainwater from the roof and grounds is used to run the commodes. Solar panels heat the water. In the winter, heat exchangers pull heat energy from warm exhaust air to aid the heating system.
Experts say that it uses about half the electricity than what would be expected for a building its size, and the photovoltaic array on the roof supply one-fourth of the remaining electrical load.
The structure is heated and cooled entirely with geothermal energy ---- there's no backup furnace or air conditioning system ---- or even a water heater for that matter.
Kroon is designed so it won't require much heating and cooling in the first place. Its east-west orientation maximizes solar heating in the winter, and the 23-degree tilt of the exterior slats deflect the sun's rays when it's high in the sky in the summer months. The massive concrete superstructure--there's no steel skeleton--acts as a huge heat sink. This "thermal mass" absorbs heart during the summer months, which slowly radiates
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Photo courtesy of Yale University/Robert Benson