About Insulspan

Highland Center in New Hampshire

Environmental Education and Lodging Complex Focusing on Sustainability.

This project included a total of four buildings. Insulspan was involved with two, Thayer Hall and The Highland Center. The goal of this project, initiated by the Appalachian Mountain Club, was to create an environmental education and lodging club that would integrate sustainable design and restoration with a new facility. The building site at Crawford Notch is not new to development. Previous to this project, there was a hotel located on the site, which burned down in 1859. The hotel was rebuilt, only to burn down again in 1976.

This environmental resort is located at Crawford Notch, White Mountains, New Hampshire. The type of buildings constructed are for commercial and educational use. With one building being 10,000 sq. ft., and the other 30,000 sq. ft., the energy efficiency was a vital part of the project.

The climate and surrounding mountains were carefully considered when development of the building design, and landscaping took place. The buildings are placed strategically on the 26-acre site. The whole idea was to ensure that the development, construction and final product took as little out of the land as possible. According to a write-up in Eco-Structure Magazine, “The project integrates cost-effective and proven sustainable building and landscaping techniques throughout. And, by constructing in a way that makes the new building compatible with the site and its historic structures, the retreat follows the AMC principle to “Sit lightly on the land.””

Energy efficiency is an important part of the Highland Center’s Design. On the site, all the buildings are situated east to west in order to maximize daylight and summer breezes. The design of the buildings and their materials had to work carefully with the ever-changing climate in Crawford Notch. The goals of the project were to encompass the AMC principle of “Sit lightly on the land.” The buildings needed to include lodging, meeting facilities, staff offices, as well as environmental education venues. The design team integrated the historical structures with the new ones, creating a final design that would disturb less than 2.5 percent of the proposed site.

Environmentally friendly design elements were chosen to maintain the sustainability of the project. Formaldehyde-free medium-density fiber-board cabinets, 95% recycled gypsum wall board, and recycled wood for the Highland Lodge dining room are all design elements utilized in the project. The goals of this process were able to be met by the combined efforts of the forces of the Appalachian Mountain Club, their architectural team based in Keene, N.H., and the general contractor, MacMillin, Co., also based in Keene.

The products and systems in this project were carefully considered for their cost effectiveness and sustainability features. The insulated for walls and roof were provided by Insulspan, Inc. of Blissfield, Mich.. The insulation was chosen because Insulspan recycles scrap insulation during the process, and the insulation is not blown in with ozone-depleting gases. The flooring, provided by Shaw, was carpeting made with 89% percent recycled materials. The facilities utilize water conservation and indoor air quality techniques such as low-volume faucets, composting toilets, and showers instead of tubs.

The heating and cooling system uses a Biomass central boiler that burns locally harvested cord wood, scraps and pallets. There are also heat recovery boilers and water heaters installed to help reduce energy consumption. A large amount of recycled material was used throughout the site, ranging from reclaimed timbers, to ground up asphalt to be used for the gravel in the driveway.

The architect saw the importance of incorporating the aesthetic and emotional elements from the historical buildings. The placement of buildings and arrangement of landscape added strength to the sustainable principle of the project. The goals of the project were successfully met with structures that utilize the energy efficiency and sustainability of the products and materials used. The benefits to the AMC are a beautiful complex of buildings, providing facilities that reflect their principles and values of sustainability and nature. The community and others can come and learn more about sustainable practices and energy efficiency by visiting the complex.

Photos of the completed Project can be seen in Eco-Structure Magazine in the May/June 2004 issue, pages 16 through 24. This article can also be viewed online at: http://www.eco-structure.com/Archives/May04b/may04b.html. Please see attached for the exterior of the finished structure.

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