Perkins Smith receives Environmental Excellence Award

Camp Common Ground Eco-Lodge project selected

The Eco-Lodge Project at the Common Ground Center in Starksboro features a low-pitched living roof, planted with drought-resistant sedum and local wildflowers.

Perkins Smith Design Build of Shelburne was awarded the Environmental Excellence for their Eco-Lodge Project at the Common Ground Center in Starksboro. The award was presented to owner John Perkins at the recent Home Builders and Remodelers 2012 Better Homes Awards banquet on Oct. 23.  The environmental excellence award was chosen from 58 entries across all categories and is a testament to the commitment to sustainable building practices embraced by both Perkins Smith and owners Peg Kamens and Jim Mendell of the Common Ground Center.  “As builders, we are lucky to work with owners who have such a positive vision conserving our natural resources and preserving the Vermont landscape,” Perkins stated during his acceptance of the award.

The Common Ground Center is a cooperatively run non-profit arts, education, and outdoor recreation and retreat center dedicated to bringing together and strengthening diverse families and communities through unique program offerings and facility rentals. The beautiful site demonstrates their commitment to environmental sustainability. Common Ground Center has consciously chosen the greener path, often times over a simpler, less expensive one, to set an example that other citizens and organizations can follow throughout the country and the world.

The Eco-Lodge, designed by Carol Stenberg of Colibri Architects, is the latest development at Common Ground Center.  It was with this vision to have as little impact on the environment as possible that the Eco-lodge was designed. The single-story building is nestled into the gently sloping hill, slightly hidden by a knoll to minimize visual impact for guests and neighbors. The low-pitched living roof, planted with drought-resistant sedum and local wildflowers, helps the building recede into the landscape. The Eco-Lodge was built with wood harvested on its own land, has natural light in all rooms, solar hot water and heat, and can house over 30 people in sustainable comfort in seven guestrooms, all with private baths.

The Eco-Lodge is solar powered; heat, hot water, and electricity are generated on-site by eight tracking PV solar arrays and a rooftop solar thermal system. The Eco-Lodge has a solar thermal system. All of the rooms in the Eco-Lodge have radiant floor heat with solar tubes providing a major source of energy to keep guests warm. A large common room has a locally harvested maple floor, soapstone wood- burning stove, and full kitchen. Rocks and boulders used in the column bases, rock wall, and community room foundation were uncovered in the pond excavation and saved for this project.

Perkins Smith is committed to creating buildings that are in harmony with the environment as well as integrating sustainable building practices with their innovative design. They offer a full range of energy services from home audits to complete energy centers for your home. For more information about Perkins Smith Design Build, call 985-5464 or go to www.perkinssmith.com. To learn more about the Common Ground Center, go to www.cgcvt.org.

The project was built with wood harvested on its own land, has natural light in all rooms, solar hot water and heat, and can house over 30 people.

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