Swaner EcoCenter

Just before we left Park City, we stopped for a tour of the Swaner EcoCenter. This past weekend was supposed to be the center’s grand opening, but construction and other delays have pushed back the gala event until 2009. Nevertheless, we sought out (in advance) and received a private tour of the unfinished building. 

After two beautiful and mostly sunny days, we were greeted by a very rainy and raw Monday morning. The center was a perfect refuge from the storm brewing outside. A pre-tour visit to the center website showed a really cool video of the construction process. I was immediately drawn in and wanted to learn more. The center sits on the 1200 acre Swaner Nature Preserve

The video seemed to imply that the center was in the middle of nowhere, or at least somewhere deep in the wilderness. When we realized that it was a stone’s throw from a hotel, a Best Buy, a Whole Foods Market, a bunch of other gussied up strip mall shops, and the freeway…then we appreciated the center and preserve even more. I guess they could have just paved all that grass land and built more luxury condominiums for well heeled ski bums. I don’t mean to be harsh. Development happens, but smart development rarely does. 

At least this one building is making an effort to do things a little bit better. It was sited properly, powered by a solar PV system, loaded with recycled materials (e.g. beams reclaimed from the Great Salt Lake, denim insulation, sunflower seed counters, coal combustion by-product floors, bamboo floors, nice windows, etc.), and meant to be light on the environment. Even the rain water pouring down on the roof during our tour was being collected in a giant cistern to be used again. The center is well on its way towards achieving USGBC LEED Platinum certification. It seemed as if cost was no object.

We were suitably impressed with the building and the mission of the center, which now includes educating the public about green building techniques and other eco-friendly practices. Apparently, when it is done, it will be the “greenest” building in Utah and one of the greenest in the world. Like great art, our society needs more examples like this so that the rest of us can draw inspiration and apply a little bit of the knowledge gained in our own little world.

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I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
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