Prototype green building planned to be a bed and breakfast

February 19, 2013

It's not uncommon to hear about green buildings planned for offices, warehouses or residential homes. However, a new structure in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, is being built as a bed and breakfast. The Tribune Live reports that the facility will be used as a meeting place for Sustainable Connellsville, a nonprofit that hopes to boost the hospitality industry alongside the Great Allegheny Passage. The structure will also be able to house six adults at one time for overnight stays.

According to the news source, the building is being constructed along the Yough River Trail, just across from the historical landmark of Col. Crawford's Cabin. The green building is set to cost $65,000 – half of this expense is set to come from grant funding from the Fayette County Tourism and the West Penn Power Sustainability Fund. 

"Primarily the structure is a green building prototype that will serve as both an educational and experimental tool for designing future buildings. It will be utilized as a meeting place for Sustainable Connellsville and opened to the public during certain outreach events. At some point, perhaps by late summer, early fall, it (could) be offered for overnight rental for trail users and transient tourists," said Geno Gallo, Connellsville's volunteer sustainability coordinator, according to the news source. 

The structure is an example of what can be done with the latest in green technology. Those involved with the project believe it will be a hit with eco-friendly travelers and hikers.

"As it sits right on the bike trail, we will have information for the trail riders about the town, as sort of a second welcome center," city Councilman Brad Geyer told the news source. "Also, we are going to showcase some local products made here in Connellsville. I think that is always a perk of any project. By sourcing things produced locally, we have reduced the energy needed to get the materials to our building site. By building a super-efficient structure, long-term operating costs are reduced by 90 percent over conventional construction. Eventually, we hope to add a small solar (electrical) system and turn it into a Netzero building."

This project is just an example of one of the many eco-friendly initiatives occurring across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) primarily works in the greater Philadelphia area, in contrast to the western Pennsylvania location of Connellsville. However, it too was established to pursue the education and promotion of sustainable commercial building projects.