Work on Green Mountain Power's Energy Innovation Center kicked
off Thursday, March 14 with an original "groundbreaking," as local
and company officials and guests signed a 2-by-12 that was
immediately incorporated into the framing.
"Like this groundbreaking, this building will be unlike anything
in Vermont, an engaging, inviting space that will serve as a
working example for customers and all Vermonters of clean,
renewable energy, and the birthplace of new ideas on generation,
efficiency and customer choices," GMP President and CEO Mary Powell
said. "We want this building to serve as a Vermont model of
efficiency, sustainability and forward thinking on energy, both
electrical and thermal, that will drive long-term social and
Powell, who displayed architectural renderings of the interior, was
joined by Steve Costello, vice president for generation and energy
innovation; Chris Louras, mayor of Rutland; Mike Coppinger,
executive director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership; Mary
Lamson, communications director at NeighborWorks of Western
Vermont; Dave Adams, staff manager of Efficiency Vermont's Rutland
office; John Russell III of Russell Construction Services;
architect Ralph Nimtz; and dozens of other community members.
The interior design includes extensive natural lighting through new
windows, skylights and light tubes to reduce electrical
consumption. There will be an energy-efficient revolving door,
rubber flooring intended to dampen sound and mimic flowing water,
and exposed mechanical and electrical systems, including bright
blue "heat socks" that will frame the preserved, historic metal
High-efficiency air-source heat pumps will provide space heating
and domestic hot water. Air-source heat pumps are up to 350
percent efficient, meaning they can produce 3.5 units of heat for
every unit of energy consumed. A typical oil burner is only about
80 to 85 percent efficient.
"The building will be extremely efficient, and inexpensive to
operate," Costello said. "We hope to create new thinking about
efficiency, renewable energy and low-cost heating, and demonstrate
how customers across Vermont can reduce their carbon footprints and
The building will have a 14-kilowatt solar array on the roof,
two car-charging stations, and a small furnace that will run on 100
percent biodiesel. The building, expected to receive Leadership in
Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S.
Green Building Council, is scheduled to open in October.
The building will feature an open workspace, a glass-walled
classroom/conference space, and an exhibit area in front.
"The design is inspirational, and GMP's presence downtown is
already prompting other businesses to make their homes here," said
Mayor Chris Louras, referring to Small Dog Electronics and Same Sun
Choice, which are scheduled to open this spring. "Based on our
continuing collaboration, I am confident that GMP's commitment to
make Rutland the Solar Capital of New England will continue to
entice other businesses to come to Rutland."
The EIC will be the focal point of the solar capital effort,
with a goal to create the most solar generation per capita in any
city in the region. GMP employees will work with Efficiency
Vermont and Neighborworks of Western Vermont to collaboratively
develop new programs, outreach and opportunities for customers
looking to reduce their energy bills and increase renewable
generation in Vermont.
"We look forward to working out of the Energy Innovation Center,
which we believe will give The NeighborWorks HEAT Squad more
chances to meet with individual Vermonters and allow us to help
them start saving an average of 386 gallons of fuel a year," Lamson
"Efficiency Vermont has a strong commitment to the Rutland
region," Adams said. "We see this collaboration as a fantastic
opportunity to grow that connection even further, and we are really
looking forward to working together, every day, to deliver even
more positive results for the area."
Coppinger, who sought GMP's help to bring Small Dog to Rutland,
said the EIC would help transform downtown. "This is a game-changer
for downtown Rutland," Coppinger said. "It will draw in people, and
equally important, GMP is already helping to build a new sense of
pride in Rutland, and making it more vibrant than it has been in
Construction on the Energy Innovation Center, located on
Merchants Row in the heart of the downtown, will continue
throughout the spring and summer before the October opening.
Green Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com) generates,
transmits, distributes and sells electricity in the state of
Vermont. The company, which serves more than 250,000 customers, has
set its vision to be the best small utility in America.