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Rutland panel approves GMP Energy Innovation Center design

20 February 2013

RUTLAND, Vt. – The Rutland Architectural Review Board on Wednesday approved the design of Green Mountain Power’s planned Energy Innovation Center, an art deco motif that honors the building’s past even as it symbolizes a new chapter in downtown Rutland.

“The EIC will be a working example of energy innovation,” GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said.  “Through a mix of recycled and new materials and features, we’ll blend the two structures that made up the Eastman Building into a customer-focused space where Vermonters can learn about generation, efficiency, environmental effects of energy decisions, new technologies and new customer programs.”

The EIC will be the focal point of GMP renewable energy development, including efforts to make Rutland the solar capital of New England, with the highest reliance on solar per capita of any city in the region.

The smaller building, a wood-framed structure, combined with a circa 1925 retail store that has sat empty and has become increasingly dilapidated for a decade, will house GMP employees and staff from Efficiency Vermont and Neighborworks of Western Vermont, classroom/conference space, and public exhibits focused on energy and the environment.  While a significant improvement to the largest empty space in downtown Rutland, the project is also a key component of GMP plans to achieve millions of dollars of customer savings by reducing the company’s overall square footage.  

Steve Costello, GMP’s vice president for generation and energy innovation, said the plans include restoration of many of the main building’s original features, including an historic metal ceiling, terra cotta tiled facade, and stainless steel trim on windows and signage.

“The annex, which is in significant decay, will receive a completely new face, including key attributes of the larger building’s art deco style,” Costello said.  “We’re also using an art deco sign to visually connect the two buildings.”

The design is by Ralph Nimtz of NBF Architects of Rutland.  The project is being managed by Russell Construction Services of Rutland, which is nearing completion of selective interior demolition work in anticipation of construction starting in March. The project, scheduled for completion in October, includes triple-glazed fiberglass windows, a white, reflective membrane roof with a walkway for public view of a 14-kilowatt solar array, LED and extensive natural lighting, an energy-efficient revolving door, R60 ceiling and R30 wall insulation, and an open work environment with exposed mechanical and electrical systems.

The building is expected to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. “The project has received a lot of LEED points for rehabbing a deteriorated structure, recycling building materials and use of high-efficiency systems, which will make it cheaper and cleaner to operate,” Nimtz said.  

Mayor Chris Louras, who led a city panel that provided input on site selection, praised the design.  “I see the EIC as a tremendous addition to downtown Rutland,” Louras said.  “We’re replacing one of the most troubling properties in the entire city with what I know will be one of the most exciting additions to Rutland in a generation.”

 Contact: Steve Costello, Green Mountain Power, (802) 793-4031