By Roger Lohr
The Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont announced the opening of a new facility to house its Touring Center, as well as a café, fitness room, waxing room, meeting space and more. This structure was built to be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, using energy-saving designs and local materials wherever possible.
The Craftsbury facility has 3,000 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, which will be set up for net metering (selling electric power to the energy company when possible), so that the facility will have net-zero annual electricity usage. The building structure incorporates locally sourced wood for paneling and recycled steel beams for support.
The locker rooms feature composting toilets, as well as low-flow water fixtures, timed showers, and hand-dryers to minimize paper towel waste. The heating system will incorporate waste heat from the snowmaking system along with a high-efficiency wood boiler, supplemented with solar thermal and a heat pump as needed. An electric charging station will be installed near the building in the future for electric vehicles.
The Craftsbury Outdoor Center mission includes the use and teaching of sustainable practices. In 2004, Craftsbury Outdoor Center joined the Green Hotels program and its Cedar Lodge was designated “green” by the organization. In 2010, eight tracking solar arrays were installed on site at the center yielding about 45,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually, offsetting about 35% of the center’s electric use. The new building furthers Craftsbury Outdoor Center on its quest to become a steward of environmentally-friendly practices.