Halcyon Arts Lab Shows Their Community What a Clean Energy Future Looks Like with SmartflowerOct 01, 2020
A Smartflower was installed at the Halcyon Arts Lab in Washington DC earlier this year. The unit provides power to the Halcyon Arts Lab, which is located on the site of the historic Fillmore School that was built in 1893 and demonstrates their commitment to being on the forefront of clean, renewable energy.
The culture at Halcyon revolves around celebrating exploration and creativity, bringing together change-makers in art, science, and social enterprise, and providing them with the environment to flourish. Given the non-profit organization’s enthusiasm in advocating for innovation in business and the arts, the Smartflower fits right in, acting to inspire others and to demonstrate how art, business, and science can co-exist. “Our Smartflower conveys a message about how powerful an artistic, aesthetically compelling representation of our commitment to clean, renewable energy can be,” said Nicole Dowd, the Director of Arts Programs at Halcyon.
For Halcyon, their Smartflower also acts as another way for them to interact with their visitors and passers-by, starting conversations about the intersections between renewable energy, innovation, and art. “One thing that’s great about the Smartflower is that even people who haven’t seen one before immediately recognize the solar panels – they know what this is for as soon as they see it. The Smartflower makes them smile, gives them a chance to learn about renewable energy, and shows them that there are more and more innovative ways to make solar power work for your building,” said Josh Mandell, the COO of Halcyon.
The Smartflower was originally introduced to Halcyon by Campion Hruby Landscape Architects, an architectural firm dedicated to forging meaningful connections between people and nature through modern, sustainable design. Halcyon initially looked at roof-mounted panels but could not find options that provided power, was easy to install, and complimented the historic estate the Arts Lab calls home. “For a beautiful, historic building like ours, a rooftop system wasn’t an option. We were really happy to find an option that adds to the aesthetic of our property and provides lots of power without the complications of cranes or roof-mounted systems,” said Josh.
However, the Smartflower is only one part of Halcyon’s investments in creating a clean energy future. A handful of thoughtful sustainability updates have been added to the Halcyon Arts Lab during the past few years, as well as to Halcyon’s other main facility. The Halcyon Arts Lab uses geothermal heat beneath the facility, and the outdoor area around the Smartflower is mindfully landscaped with native plants to reduce runoff and erosion.
When asked about what the most inspiring part of the Smartflower was, Nicole had this to say: “The Halcyon Arts Lab provides housing and studio space to emerging civic-minded artists. Their work deals with everything from criminal justice issues, to disability rights, to immigration and refugees, to questions of race and gender equity. For them to walk into our building every day and pass the Smartflower – such a beautiful, artistic symbol of what the future can look like for clean energy – it reminds them of the many ways art can impact society.”
Learn more about Halcyon and the Halcyon Art Lab at halcyonhouse.org
Interested in learning more about other Smartflower installations? Click here.