The Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont has one of the most sustainable facilities for it's touring Center, as well as a café, fitness room, waxing room, meeting space and more. This structure was built to be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, using energy-saving designs and local materials wherever possible.


The Craftsbury facility has 3,000 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, which will be set up for net metering (selling electric power to the energy company when possible), so that the facility will have net-zero annual electricity usage. There are also 8 tracking solar arrays and the panels produce 39,000-50,000 KWh annually offsetting about 35% of the Outdoor Center electricity.

The building structure incorporated locally-sourced wood for paneling and recycled steel beams for support. The interior siding is source from New Hampshire and the furniture legs were from the Craftsbury Outdoor Center site.

The locker rooms feature composting toilets, as well as low-flow water fixtures, timed showers, and hand-dryers to minimize paper towel waste. The heating system incorporates waste heat from the snowmaking system along with a high-efficiency wood boiler, supplemented with solar thermal and an air-to-water heat pump as needed. An electric charging station will be installed near the building in the future for electric vehicles.

The Green Racing Project ski athletes joined forces with the Highfields Center for Composting to design and build a system with bins for the composting process. The kitchen works with local food as much as possible with 40-50% of the ingredients coming from neighbors in Vermont. The on-site gardens and farm animals raised during the summer contribute to this effort.

Solar panels that are trackers provide as much as 50% of Craftsbury Outdoor Center electricity

Solar panels that are trackers provide as much as 50% of Craftsbury Outdoor Center electricity

The net-zero Activity Center showcases features including 3,000 square feet of solar panels on the roof, while the window sizes and roof overhangs are optimized for the weather.  The facility has Trombe walls and an EarthTube air exchange unit works with the thermal mass of concrete floors and insulated concrete walls to keep the facility comfortable in both winter and summer.

The long term forest management plan combines protection for the water and soil, wildlife habitat maintenance, recreational use, production of commercial forest products such as saw timber and firewood.  The Craftsbury Outdoor Center mission includes the use and teaching of sustainable practices and back in 2004, Craftsbury Outdoor Center joined the Green Hotels program and its Cedar Lodge was designated as green by the organization. The business is exemplary for others in the cross country ski world.