Dad Lives In Abandoned High School With His Wife And Baby After Turning It Into Their Home

Over 25 years ago, Charles Shaw seized an amazing opportunity. In 1996, he and his wife, Lisa, bought an abandoned, vacant junior high school in Durango, Colorado. The 45,000-square-foot building was in poor shape, but its walls were solid brick. Charles saw the potential to make a long-time dream come true: to turn a large building into a mixed-use space that could become a vibrant community.
Courtesy of Respectful Revolution, you're about to step inside this unbelievable upcycled space.

At first, Charles envisioned a place for artists to come together. Over time and out of necessity, energy efficiency became another big issue. After all, the monthly utility bills cost him over $5,000. So he switched all of the lighting over to LED and began controlling ventilation through motion sensors. All of the building's electricity comes from solar panels. Now the utility bills are just $300 a month!

Charles, Lisa, and their young son live there, along with fellow artists and nonprofits. Today, the "Smiley Building" has become a landmark in Durango. It is perhaps the most efficient, energy-independent building of its kind in the entire country.

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