Topia Inn was a team effort that called upon the talents and good will of many. Rob Blanchard was the lead architectural designer who helped Caryn Heilman and Nana Simopoulos realize their dreams of building ultra green. Paul Novack at Environmental Construction Outfitters and Carolyn Gorman at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas supplied expert nontoxic advice. The green building companies provided their expertise and product excellence particularly Charles Baker of Eco-Terr Distributing, Jay Watts of AFM Safecoat, Jeff Federsen of American Clay and Hansine Pedersen Goran of Current Carpets.
Non Toxic Choices
Organic Beds and Linens
All of the bedrooms and bathrooms have Coyuchi linens made from 100% organic cotton as well an an array of complimentary natural and organic bath and body products.
Organic mattresses from the only third party certified eco-factory in the United States. Guests will be able to choose from three different types of organic mattresses based on their needs. Some rooms are furnished with natural Talay latex foam mattresses with three customizable layers depending on their firmness preference designed to relieve pressure point discomfort and to increase circulation allowing for a deeper and more restful sleep. Other rooms feature a mattress with a Talalay-process 100% natural rubber core, covered with certified organic cotton and premium Eco-Wool quilted between two layers of certified organic cotton fabric. Other rooms will feature quilted inner spring mattresses with stainless steel innersprings wrapped in certified organic cotton canvas and then layered with certified organic cotton batting. Box spring foundations on these beds feature steel springs and cabinet grade, untreated wood slats wrapped and upholstered.
American Clay Earth Plaster
All the walls of the Inn on the first and second floors are finished with American Clay. American Clay Natural Earth Plasters use natural clays, recycled and reclaimed aggregates, and vibrant natural pigments in three beautiful finishes that surround your family or workplace with the warm beauty of soothing texture and rich color – far exceeding the interior surfaces produced by traditional paint, stucco, or other finishes. Earth Plasters are non-dusting, mold and fade resistant, repairable and moisture controlling. Natural Earth Plasters from American Clay are easily adapted to do-it-yourself projects. The Traditional and Classic method of creating American Clay surfaces is non-toxic, easy to repair, easily reworked, and exciting to learn.
Current Carpets designed and and hand-tufted by Hansine Pedersen Goran with 100% Pure New Zealand Wool.
“My designs are a reminder of the signs of life in nature and humanity. They are about the joy, beauty and continuity of the currents of life in current time” says Hansine Pedersen Goran designer of Current Carpets. Each carpet is individually handmade using the best of old and new world craftsmanship, using the highest grades of materials and the most ecologically advanced production methods. And each carpet is made with great joy and care. Our staircases have organic hemp and cotton carpets from Earthweave.
IceStone recycled glass countertops
IceStone® durable surfaces are strong like granite, not as porous as marble and heat-resistant like stone. The chemical composition is benign and 99.5% inorganic making it a very safe material from the standpoint of toxicity and fire resistance.
Recycled furniture and kitchen cabinets
Dining room tables from untreated reclaimed wood
Organic fair trade coffee and tea served with a fresh gourmet organic breakfast
UNI-SOLAR® Integrated Solar Roof Panels Residential Grid-Connected System of 4Kw
UNI-SOLAR® shingles were honored with the prestigious Popular Science Grand Award, “Best of What’s New (Environmental Technology,” and Discover Magazine’s “Technological Innovation Award” for best innovation (Environment). This photovoltaic roofing is installed instead of roofing material.
100% Biodiesel-fueled Budaris boiler heating radiant baseboard system and domestic hot water.
Biodiesel fuel is a cleaner burning and more renewable fuel than home heating oil emitting 78 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than petroleum diesel according to a 1998 biodiesel lifecycle study jointly sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture. It greatly reduces the amount of harmful particulates released. Biodiesel reduces the compounds linked to cancer by 80 percent to 90 percent compared to petroleum diesel, according to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). NBB asserts that biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to successfully complete the Tier I and Tier II health effects testing required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act. In studies to determine the toxic levels of various fuels, biodiesel was the only one that didn’t kill the laboratory rats exposed to it. Biodiesel offers similar performance to petroleum diesel while providing superior lubricity. It has the highest positive energy balance of any liquid fuel – 320 percent.
Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative is a forest landowner management, processing and marketing cooperative organized by and on behalf of forest landowners in western Massachusetts. The mission of the Cooperative is to maintain the environment and character of western Massachusetts through the protection, enhancement and careful economic development of one of the region’s most plentiful resources, the forest. Other FSC certified wood includes Brazilian Cherry, River recovered Black Wild Cherry, bamboo, teac and more.
Kitchen Cabinets are recycled from the Re-store. Dining room tables made from reclaimed Berkshires wood. The bedframes were build from the existing planks in the original building.
Natural Convection Ventilation design with Windows that open in every room
Getting back to basics with facets of the original natural convection ventilation design of the old inn from the days before air conditioning. Rob Blanchard, Green architectural designer, has provided for plenums that will act in concert with the openable windows in every room to provide natural cooling and ventilation to rooms the old fashioned way.
Installed by HooRWA, Hoosic River Watershed Association, 20 native species plants were planted around the building for storm water management. These include Elderberry, Witchazel, Shad, Fern and New Jersey Tea. The rainwater soaks into the ground feeding these thirsty New England plants, instead of running off into the street or flooding the basement.
Lighting and Batteries
LED and low voltage lighting instead of toxic mercury containing fluorescent and low mercury batteries. As an inn we are required by the building code to provide 24 hour lighting in the common areas. LED lights have a soft “moonlight glow” that emit ample lighting but use pennies per year.
With LED lamp life of up to 100,000 hours there is less toxic volume for the landfill and less inconvenience due to burned out bulbs for the visitor. Our Exit signs also contains LED lights.
Advanced pervious, water-permeable alternative to concrete or asphalt paving. This system has helped our storm water management and reduces carbon emissions becasue it allows us to plant native grass in organic soil on the driveway. It is made of recycled plastic and can hold a truck’s weight.
Bryant Evolution Model 598B Air Conditioner
Incorporates innovative 2-speed compressor technology with Puron (410A) refrigerant providing quiet, efficient cooling performance. SEER ratings of up to 16.5 can be reached and the unit is Energy Star.
FV4B Premium environmentally sound fan coil is the premium air handler combining the provien technology of Bryant fan coils with the environmentally sound refrigerant Puron. Achieves an operation advantage because the ECM (Electronically Commutated Motor) combined with a Quantum Plus heat pump with Puron is highly efficient at all possible operating speeds, and delivers the precise amount of airflow desired over a wide range of duct srtatic pressure conditions. Humidity control and preimium comfort are further improved when the Bryant is used with the Thermidistat Control. High SEER abd HSPF performance.
Additional Green Elements
Homosote flooring underlayment from recycled paper
Toto Aquia dual flush toilets
Slate roof, 100% local and 20% from recycled slate
Energy Star appliances and HVAC
Energy efficient windows and doors
AFM Safecoat nontoxic paints, stains and sealers