Going Green at Camp Ondessonk
By Judy (Blase) Woodruff
“Green architecture is an eco-conscious approach to home building and design that aims to reduce the strain put on the environment. Green building choices minimize negative impacts on the environment, create homes that work smarter and more efficiently, and make the most of natural and sustainable resources,” says Kristina McGuirk in her article What is Green Architecture. She goes on to say, “Climate change, a growing awareness of diminishing resources, and a desire to live more sustainably have brought environmentally conscious building to the forefront.”
Camp Ondessonk’s programs are known to create a sense of stewardship toward the natural world. The seven Principles of Leave No Trace have been taught at Ondessonk for years. These outdoor ethics promoting responsible outdoor practices and minimizing the impact on the environment are being taken one step farther, as the new Pete Korte Lodge is being constructed.
Camp is “going green” with its newest state-of-the-art staff housing. As we witness the building of the duplex, decisions have been made to ensure cost-saving measures are being taken. Savings far into the future will be realized because of the steps being taken today.
Early on, energy efficient windows and doors were installed that will improve indoor comfort and filter out damaging ultraviolet light, saving on heating and cooling costs.
After much research, the Pete Korte Lodge will boast a geothermal HVAC system. Geothermal systems are the greenest, most efficient, and most cost-effective heating and cooling systems currently available. Such systems can save up to 70% on heating and cooling costs. Though the initial equipment and installation costs of geothermal heating and cooling are greater, energy consumption is significantly lower than traditional systems. In fact, the system Camp is installing is more than twice as efficient at cooling in comparison to modern heat pumps or air conditioners. The heating part of the system is five times as efficient as traditional fossil fuel furnaces. Decreased energy consumption helps minimize potential threats associated with burning fossil fuels, like acid rain, greenhouse gases, and poor air quality.
Pete Korte Lodge’s two geothermal HVAC systems will each contain equipment that determines when excess heated water is available to route to the adjacent electric hot water heater, thus decreasing the amount of energy needed to provide heated water for residents of the house. Though we originally planned to install LP gas hot water heaters, our HVAC company recommended that we consider electric hot water once they learned we planned to invest in solar electric generating equipment in the future.
Cellulose insulation is a favorite of the green building movement because of its recycled content, low embodied energy, low-tech processing, and excellent energy conservation performance. It is produced from newspapers obtained from recycling programs. Once the newspaper has been shredded to as small as ¼” pieces, chemicals are added to provide fire-retarding, mold-inhibiting, and insect and rodent resistance properties to the shredded newspaper. Wet-spray cellulose has water added during installation to make it stick when blown into wall cavities. Stabilized cellulose is used in attics. This product has a binder in it to prevent settling.
The environmental benefits of green building are game-changing. Going green will help Camp conserve natural resources, create a healthier environment for staff by improving air quality, plus result in significant cost savings.
We look forward to the day, in the near future, that our staff will call the Pete Korte Lodge their home; to enjoy all the amenities so thoughtfully decided for their comfort and well-being. We sincerely thank the numerous donors who have generously given to this project, along with the volunteers who have spent months working to make this home a reality!
Click here to learn more about Camp Ondessonk’s Facilities & Meeting Spaces.