By Drs. Robert & Sonia Vogl
President and Vice President
Illinois Renewable Energy Association
Once again, the Illinois Renewable Energy Association (IREA) has become involved in some interesting projects. This time, two of them involve buildings.
IREA is partnering with Patchwork Vision LLC in the operation and management of the Patchwork Inn in Oregon, Ill., where Abraham Lincoln is said to have visited for lunch and lodging. At that time, it was known as the “Moore Hotel.”
The inn reopened this year in time for the Aug. 8-9 Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair after having been closed for many months. Major speakers for the fair are invited to stay there at no cost to either them or IREA.
The previous owners completely restored it in an 11-year project and opened it in May 1999. The motto “Lodging in casual elegance since 1840” refers to the inn’s historically-charming appearance.
But beyond that, the inn will be a model for “green hotels.” Environmentally-friendly cleaning products and bamboo towels are being used. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are replacing incandescents. The possibility of installing solar PV panels on the roof is being explored. Rain barrels will collect rainwater to use for the gardens, some of which will provide sustainably-grown fruit for breakfast. Each room has its own climate control, providing on-demand power use.
IREA will also benefit from a project run by the Kickapoo Mud Creek Nature Conservancy in Oregon, Ill. The Kickapoo Center was designed as a meeting room, storage shed and model of energy-efficient construction.
The meeting room section is designed to use 1 watt of energy for heating on the coldest day of the year, meeting the German Passivhaus standard. A combination of structurally-insulated panels (SIPs), insulated concrete forms (ICFs), an earth tube, a solar roof and a heat recovery system should assure this goal is met. The HVAC systems are Energy Star qualified. Crushed stone will absorb enough heat during one sunny day to warm the building for two days. The building is extremely air tight for energy efficiency and noise reduction. An earth berm provides additional climate protection.
Doors, expanded polystyrene foam under the slab and fiberglass insulation are free of synthetic resins and formaldehyde. Bamboo, marmoleum and recycled glass and minerals form counter tops and floors. The roof is made of 25 percent scrap steel.
Only .46 watts per square foot are used for lighting compared to the maximum of 1 watt needed to obtain LEED certification. The display room uses mercury- and lead-free LED track lighting.
Local materials were used as much as possible. A local contractor and crew constructed the building. A salvaged cherry tree from a local source is used for porch posts. Native prairie plants from a local source will tie the building to the site.
The center has been offered as a free meeting space for IREA and the Prairie Preservation Society of Ogle County. IREA used it for a welcome dinner for fair exhibitors. The PPSOC held its recent board meeting there and will have its annual meeting and program at the center in November.
The Patchwork Inn will hold an open house Oct. 25. The Kickapoo Center will be on the annual Tour of Solar Places Oct. 3.
From the September 30 – October 6, 2009 issue.