Man Turns Abandoned School Into A Dream Home For The Entire Community

Published October 27, 2016 527 Plays

Rumble / Fascinating PeopleCharles Shaw is a visionary and crafty entrepreneur who has seized an opportunity to turn lead into gold and decided to transform an old school into a model of energy efficiency and community. Sixteen years ago, along with his wife Lisa, he bought an abandoned junior high school in old town Durango, Colorado.

The building was in poor shape, but its walls were solid brick. Charles immediately saw the potential of making a long-time dream come true, as he turned a large building into a super-efficient one.

It is now a type of model that is mixed-use community space that has become a vibrant center of living, learning and creativity.

Today the "Smiley Building" has become a landmark in Durango, and it might well be the most efficient, energy independent building of its kind in the entire country. You're going to want to live here!

At first they paid over 5,000 dollars utility bills a month, but after making the building efficient, i.e. changing to LEDs, controlling lightning and ventilation by motion sensors and generating their own solar energy their monthly bills dropped to around 300 dollars for the entire 45,000 sq. foot building.

People love coming to this building for different activities, they love the comfy space and nice community, there are a lot of different classes, yoga, dance studios, theater, bike shop, architects, graphic designers, musicians, photography, digital, workshops, offices, non-profit organizations, you name it.

They rent this building mostly to artists, but Charles also lives in the building with his wife Lisa and their son. They are pushing the limits of mixed use where people are respectful of each other.

Credit: Respectful Revolution