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Green architecture – Nature Inn at Bald Eagle

By Damir Beciri
16 April 2012

nature-inn-at-bald-eagle-1Nestled within the natural beauty of Bald Eagle State Park, in the very center of the state, the Nature Inn at Bald Eagle combines the comfortable amenities of an inviting bed and breakfast with sweeping views and door-step access to year-round land and water activities. The LEED Gold certified project provides opportunities for visitors who wish to experience the park but desire amenities not offered by campgrounds and cabins.

Designed by SMP Architects, the 1,720 square-meter (18,500 square-foot) Nature Inn at Bald Eagle includes 16 fully accessible rooms and associated gathering spaces which encourage interaction among the guests. Porches and terraces connect to bird watching areas and trails though the park. The Inn incorporates a variety of guest room layouts, each with a private bathroom, tremendous views, abundant natural light and direct access to the outdoors complete with flat-screen TVs and refrigerators. Each day’s stay also includes a complimentary hot breakfast, and there’s a full time host that resides in the Inn Keeper’s suite.

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The Inn’s 60 square-meter (650 square-foot) meeting area accommodates up to 48 people, and their library comfortably serves 8 to10 people. Both rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art projection equipment and audio/visual connections, making them ideal for presentations on company retreats and events. In order to help you interpret what you do see while you’re visiting the Nature Inn at Bald Eagle, there are small signs, little messages and other informative features all around the place.

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Rain gardens and reinforced turf parking areas help mitigate storm water on site, and there are exhibited rain barrels which are used to demonstrate how rainwater can be collected at home. Four cisterns with total capacity of 10,600 liters (2,800 gallons) are used to store water for the rainwater harvesting system, and there’s additional water conservation achieved by usage of native plants that require no irrigation. The consumption of potable water is reduced by more than 30% by usage of low-flow plumbing fixtures and dual-flush toilets.

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The building includes a SIP roof system, bio-based spray foam wall insulation, and high-performance glazing with patterning to increase bird safety. The variable refrigerant flow HVAC system connected to 24 geothermal wells under the parking lot provides simultaneous heating and cooling, heat recovery and individual room control.

Energy Star appliances, lighting and controls produce energy savings of 17.5%. Each guest room has a digital display that indicates the current room energy use. Evacuated tube solar hot water collectors on a trellis off the lobby provide a visually interesting supplemental heat source for hot water.

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The Inn features locally sourced materials such as stone, over 80% Pennsylvania FSC certified wood used for framing, finishes and furniture, custom furniture and artwork by regional artisans. Other materials are high in recycled and rapidly renewable content and at least 75% of construction waste diverted from landfills.

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Low VOC materials and a green cleaning program avoid jeopardizing the health of guests and staff. For example, they use Green Seal Certified cleaning products, and they don’t use CFC-containing aerosol products, phosphorous, ammonia or chlorine bleach cleaning products. They also have a comprehensive recycling program and tracking, and they proudly serve only Rainforest Alliance certified coffees as well as locally sourced dairy and farm products when feasible.

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