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AIA VT, Merit Award

Biomass Plant, Bennington College

Bennington, Vermont

We completed the construction of a new 4,800 square foot addition to the existing maintenance building at Bennington College that houses a new biomass heating system.  This new biomass boiler replaces the existing fossil fuel system.  The biomass boiler supplies the majority of campus with heat sourced from the burning of local wood chips drastically reducing Bennington College’s overall carbon output. It is estimated that the new system will pay for itself in less than seven years. 

The addition consists of several key components; a large room to house the new wood chip boiler, a loading dock and fuel storage area, as well as an outdoor courtyard located on the roof of the fuel storage area.  The courtyard consists of two levels, a lower patio level that will serve as the main entrance to the facility as well as an outdoor area for the staff to relax.  The upper level of the courtyard is planted with native vegetation (to control rainwater runoff), and shade trees.  In the summer months, the courtyard shade trees reduce solar heat gain and the operational windows provide fresh air, as well as natural light.  In the winter, the building is heated from waste heat generated by the biomass boiler.  

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