Triform Camphill Community Takes Holistic Approach to Building New State-of-the-Art, Net Zero Energy Home at its Special Needs Community in Hudson, NY.
Triform Camphill Community, a 410-acre rural residential community for young adults with special needs in Hudson, NY, recently unveiled a 6,400-square-foot, state-of-the-art, energy efficient home for its developmentally disabled students and co-worker staff. The new house features some of the most innovative energy-saving techniques in house building today. Triform attributes the success of the newly constructed home to a uniquely collaborative effort made by a team of local professionals who worked closely together to create this one-of-a-kind residence.
On the project were Green River Architecture, Varriale Brothers Construction, Ed Herrington, Inc., and Hudson Solar. Together these four companies produced a super insulated, passive solar house with an airtight construction. With heat coming mostly from the sun and with careful attention paid to solar panel orientation to gain maximum energy, the house has a net zero energy usage. A constant ventilation system offers energy recovery, as well as a healthy interior environment.
For architect Don Pulfer of Green River Architecture, a large part of the design challenge was creating a 10-bedroom home on one level that was not institutional in nature. The goal in planning the house was to create a completely insulated envelope and eliminate the thermal bridges where heat can transfer and lose energy.
“The overall design plan is a gesture to openness to the sun, a reflection of the ideals that shaped the entire design, “ says Pulfer, who created the house plans. “In the designs we paid attention to health and energy- efficiency, and created a large house with a home-like appearance, as well as a pleasant, residential scale. “ Natural materials were used throughout the construction, along with triple glazed windows, a super insulated foundation and attic, along with unusually thick, double framed walls containing dense, sprayed cellulous insulation (derived of old newspapers) to produce a totally airtight building.
“Triform asked for what is considered cutting-edge construction in the housing industry with a zero energy usage,” says Vince Varriale, who supervised the building construction and crews. “We all worked together to make this a totally ‘green’ home by removing the oil impact and gaining maximum energy efficiency, “ he said. “Ultimately we created a house that speaks to the ideals of Triform that encompass a respect for the land and conscious use of natural resources. “
Varriale was hired specifically because of his expertise in interweaving the priorities of the homeowner with the plans of the architect to save money and time. Varriale said he accomplished this by incorporating what he calls a flexible “living management” technique, which involves eliminating change orders, minimizing management costs by supervising subcontractors on site, and procuring the best quality building materials.
Triform was able to take a holistic approach to the entire building process with all areas continually discussing the project and solving problems together.
Ed Herrington Inc. supplied the building materials throughout the project. According to Rich Herrington, Vice President and General Manager, “I don’t know any other structure in the area that has this caliber of efficiency.” Herrington’s has a long-standing relationship working with Camphill communities and has worked frequently with Varriale Brothers. “The way I see it, this house is a snapshot into the future and represents what a good building should be.”
Herrington’s said they are seeing a rise in demand for energy efficient doors, windows and insulation, yet they believe that anyone can gain energy efficiency in their home just by using every day materials. “There’s a perception out there that to realize energy efficiency, you have to build with highly specialized materials,” said Herrington. “The focus really needs to be more on the plans, the process and how the building is assembled.”
Carlos Newcomb was project manager from Hudson Solar and took on the role of creating the solar energy installation plan. “The system is designed to produce more power than the house would need,” said Newcomb. To achieve this, Hudson Solar installed an array of 130 solar roof panels allowing the house to completely supply its own electrical energy needs and return enough energy back into the grid to power up as many as two additional houses. Currently, Triform has two nearby homes that will receive the cost savings benefits from the new energy efficient residence. Ultimately the system will produce 100% of the needs of the new home and up to 50% of the needs of the other two houses saving the community upward of $5,000 per year. This process of returning the excess energy produced by the net zero house to the homeowner is called “remote net metering,” and is currently available under a new standard created by New York State and National Grid.
“This project was quite complex and was successful because we all worked so closely together. What made this a great project for us was that everyone was very accessible and friendly, and that always makes life a lot easier when you’re dealing with a complicated installation,” said Newcomb.
Triform Camphill Community feels that the 11-month long effort in building this energy-efficient model home was well worth the time and expense. “This is an investment in the Triform community, in the environment and in our future,” commented Bogdanovich.
Keith Bogdanovich, a long term Triform volunteer and CFO, managed the construction project for the 33-year-old special needs community located just outside of Hudson, NY. “More and more families are coming to us for admission into Triform’s residential program, and that inspired us to build a new house,” says Bogdanovich. “In taking this project on it was especially important to us that the new construction reflect the consciousness of the organization and the values of our mission, and so we assembled a team that embraced that concept.”
Triform Camphill Community focuses on the health and well being of each person in its special needs community, knowing that despite a person’s disabilities, they have the potential to make a contribution that will benefit the entire group. “It was essential that the house be built with environmentally-sound practices, save energy on all levels, and be accessible for students with a variety of disabilities including Down’s Syndrome, Autism and other physical and mental challenges,” said Bogdanovich.
In the near future, Triform is considering investing in a large-scale installation of solar panels that will power its current seven houses, recreation center, bakery, classrooms, offices and barns. “There are discussions going on now to see if a solar project of this size can be achieved,” said Bogdanovich. “If it goes through, a project of this scale could possibly be the first of its kind in New York State.”
Triform is a 501 c3 registered non-profit organization and is financed in great measure by individual donations and contributions. Triform would like to thank the contributors who helped, in part, to finance the new house construction. These donors include First Niagara Risk Management, The Camphill Foundation and several individual donors who supported this project with contributions.
For further information about Triform Camphill Community’s programs or to make a donation, please visit www.triform.org or call 518-851-9320.
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For Immediate Release Media Contact: Allison Marchese
Triform Camphill Community Hosts 11h Annual Benefit Student Bell Choir Concert
Featuring Flutist, Paula Robison and Guitarist, Frederic Hand
Sunday, May 5, 2013 ~ 2pm
At Triform Camphill Community Phoenix Center
Hudson, NY, — April 2, 2013 —Triform Camphill Community, a residential and therapeutic community for individuals with developmental disabilities located in Hudson, NY, will host its 11th Annual Benefit Student Bell Choir Concert on Sunday, May 5,2013, at 2:00 pm at the Triform Phoenix Center located at 20 Triform Road, Hudson, NY. The program features world acclaimed flutist, Paula Robison, and Grammy-nominated and Emmy-winning television composer and recording artist Guitarist, Fredric Hand. Robison and Hand will be performing “Amazing Grace” which includes Italian love songs, songs of the spirit and “Amazing Grace” with the Triform Bell Choir. New York Soprano, Adele Wilson, will also make a special appearance singing two arias. Proceeds from this event will provide Triform student scholarships to deserving young adults with developmental disabilities.
Paula Robison burst onto the international music scene in 1966 when she won First Prize at the Geneva Competition, the first American ever to receive this honor. She joined the roster of the newly formed Young Concert Artists and embarked on a groundbreaking, world-traveling career as a flute soloist, a career which continues to be vibrant to this day. Frederic Hand is noted for his unique performances of early music, and is the creator and director of Jazzantiqua, a group The New York Times has described as “scintillating and brilliant.” The Triform Student Bell Choir will perform under the direction of Triform music director, Akiko Suesada.
The musical performances will be followed by a reception with the performers where Triform student art, hand made items and crafts will be available for purchase. “Raising money for financial aid is an important aspect of our fundraising work,” says Anne Bailey, a Triform Trustee and this year’s concert event chair. “We are thrilled that Paula and Frederic will be our featured performers this year,” says Bailey. “They will make this event truly memorable.”
Concert tickets are $75.00 per person and can be purchased by calling the Development office at Triform, 518-851-9320 x 11 or email Allison@triform.org.
The night before the concert on Saturday, May 4, Triform will hold its second annual Benefit Silent Auction and wine reception raising funds for scholarships. The silent auction and wine reception will be held Saturday evening from 6-8pm, at Art Omi International in Ghent, NY. Art Omi is a beautiful gallery and outdoor sculpture park with a large reception area, located on County Route 22 in Ghent. It is only 15 minutes from the Triform campus. Art Omi has graciously donated this unique venue for Triform’s special fundraising event. Auction items will include tickets to a Boston Red Sox game, a weekend stay at the Queechey Resort in Vermont, a $500 gift certificate to Cranwell Resort & Spa, VIP passes to the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Southampton, NY, Steuben glass collectibles, and Broadway seats to “Matilda.” In addition there are two tickets to Steve Martin Live, tickets to the Boston Pops at Tanglewood, NY Giants Football memorabilia, gift certificates for yoga, massage and hair care, a session with an authentic channeler, seats to the NY Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox game, as well overnight stays, dinner gift certificates, art, antiques, gourmet gift baskets, home goods, garden design consultation, jewelry, autographed books, and one-of-a-kind handmade items. Sponsoring the wine reception portion of the event is the Hudson-Chatham Winery. Harvest Spirits is offering a tasting of their vodka and brandy, and the Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. cheese will be featured. Tickets are $40 per person and include wine and food. Advance ticket purchase and auction registration is encouraged.
Triform Camphill Community, founded in 1979, is a residential and therapeutic community for young adults with special needs. Its mission is to build a vital community life that provides each person the possibility for healing, self-development and fulfillment of potential. Triform is a non-profit organization supported by generous donors dedicated to continuing this important work. Each year, Triform offers scholarships to students, who come to Triform from New York and across the country to live, work and learn in Triform’s therapeutic community.
For tickets and information contact: Allison Marchese, Director of Development Allison@triform.org or 518-851-9230 ext. 11. www.triform.org
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Biodynamic farming at Triform Camphill Community in Hudson, NY
Triform is a residential community for young adults with developmental disabilities located in Hudson, NY. For more than 33 years, Triform has operated a self-sustaining biodynamic farm operated by full-time volunteers and Triform’s special needs students. Organic and biodynamic are similar, however, biodynamic farming goes one step further than organic.
Both grow foods without chemicals and GMOS, but there’s much more to the story. In 1924, philosopher Rudolph Steiner introduced the term biodynamic farming. He conceived of agriculture and farming as a holistic practice where all things are considered living, inter-related systems- instilling the ideal of balance between plants, animals and soil. He believed that a “biodynamic farm”— could produce everything it needs, therefore becoming self-sustaining. According to the Demeter system website (demeter-usa.org) where Triform receives its certification, ” In the 1940′s, English Baron Lord Northbourne, agricultural professor at Oxford and Biodynamic farmer at his family’s estate in Kent, coined the term ‘organic’ from Steiner’s view of ‘the farm as organism.’ ” In order for a farm or agriculturally based product to refer to itself as “Biodynamic” it must have obtained certification through Demeter. This certification system has maintained, as its underlying philosophy, Steiner’s view of the farm as a living organism.
In basic terms, the central difference between organic and biodynamic is that biodynamic farming uses principles that add vitality to the plant, soil and livesteock, where traditional farming deteriorates the soil.
In 2002, with the growth of organic labeling in the U.S., there was a need to dfine the base market. The USDA ruled and then launched the National Organic PRogram (NOP) defining organic standards and enforing them by law. Biodynamic food and organic food differ widely and these facts can be obtained by going to www.http://demeter-usa.org/downloads/Organic-vs-Biodynamic.pdf
In this manner, a farm functions as an “ecological community” the way an organ functions in the body. Steiner ultimately believed that the farmer maintains a personal relationship with the farm, becoming an active participant. This relationship is a key ingredient in biodynamics. Biodynamic farming also strictly avoids the use of fertilizers, pesticides and hormones. Instead, farmers use specifically mixed preparations made from minerals and herbs, similar to homeopathic medicine. These combinations of herbs enhance the compost and are applied to soil. Therefore, biodynamic farming creates plants that are more vital and nutrient rich.
Steiner’s philosophical holistic approach is the basis of Triform Camphill Community’s work with developmentally disabled individuals. His concepts are put to practical use in Triform’s unique program incorporating farming and gardening with arts and crafts, music and movement therapy, education and economics. For more information about Triform, please call 518-851-9320 or visit www.triform.org.
Triform Camphill Community is non profit organization relying on generous donors from individuals to support the community’s work. All gifts are fully tax-deductible. Triform is currently raising funds purchase a hoop barn. Triform’s hayloft recently collapsed damaging the farm’s milking parlor and hay storage areas. Please see related press release “Farm Fundraising” in this section.
Hayloft Collapses ~ Milking Parlor Damaged
On Saturday, June 16, Triform was busy haying the fields and storing it in the barn’s hayloft when the floor of the loft collapsed. Thankfully, no students or animals were in the barn when the collapse occurred, and no one was hurt.
What does this mean for the Triform Farm?
Farmers have created an emergency plan which includes shutting down milk production and relocating the newly cut hay.
Please Donate Today!
Triform Needs to Raise
$50,000 for a Hoop Barn
While the barn and milking parlor rebuilding costs are being compiled, Triform needs immediate assistance.
Triform Farm needs a hoop barn to house the cows and store newly cut hay. The hoop house is an immediate need to help animals and the community.
Go to: www.triform.org to make an online donation or
Please mail a check to:
Triform Camphill Community
20 Triform Rd.
Hudson, NY 12524
Please Give…“We are unable to provide milk used each day by the community, and it’s difficult for our young people who are not able to do the important work of hand milking the cows every day.”
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Allison Marchese
518-851-9320 ext. 11
Triform Camphill Community–Hudson, NY
Offers Free Educational Biodynamic & Organic Farm & Garden Tour
Saturday, June 16, 2012, at 2 pm
Inside look at Biodynamic and Organic Farming and Gardening Practices
Details to Follow Soon!