A 400-acre Biodynamic farm in central Columbia County, NY

Green Building

When we decided to build a new store, we concluded that we would do so only if the building could reflect our commitment to the environment and sustainability. The challenge was to incorporate as many energy-saving measures and recycled products as possible given our budget parameters. We had to make many trade-offs in the process, foregoing certain amenities in favor of the more ecological components. The new structure is one we are proud of, one we think will illustrate that “green building” is a feasible option for smaller-scale initiatives.

Durisol Block Construction

Durisol blocks are made from recycled waste wood (100% natural lumber). The rockwool (mineral fiber) insulation is made with recycled content and is moisture-resistant and non-combustible. Combined, the these two components provide exceptional insulation properties, which mean lower heating and cooling energy use. The triple-pane windows also help in this regard. The blocks are made with inert materials and have no VOC (volatile organic compound) off-gassing. Mold-proof construction helps maintain building integrity and improve indoor air quality. Construction is easy since the blocks are dry-stacked with no mortar between them and then filled with concrete and reinforcing bars. They are pest-resistant, sound-absorbent, and the interior and exterior finishes (drywall, plaster, stucco, etc.) can be applied directly to the blocks and favorite paintings and exterior siding can be hung with regular wood nails, screws, and tacks.

Wind Power

For every kilowatt of electricity used, we buy a kilowatt of wind energy. By doing this, we support investment in renewable energy in New York State. It is estimated that 20% of New York’s energy needs can be met through wind energy. The program was developed through combined efforts of the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Public Service Commission, under the leadership of George Pataki. Anyone on the grid, whether an individual household or a business, can participate in this program.

Heat Recovery

Heat that is generated from the cooler and freezer equipment in the Farm Store is captured and used to heat hot water for use in the store, bakery, and deli.

Interior Finishes

Although the register counters may look like they’re made with a wood product, they are actually made from an innovative material that combines renewable wheat straw fiber with a formaldehyde-free resin.

Design for Community

Throughout the design process, we were also cognizant of the store being a hub for human interaction. We wanted the Farm Store to be a place for good conversation, comfortable relaxation, and education. To this end, we created a village green outside of the Store with picnic tables and benches. We created a Café space (which we hope to soon expand!) inside the Store. Sidewalks and easy-access parking for both cars and bicycles was created. And we created display space for educational materials, artwork by local artists, and crafts by local artisans.

From the Farm Store to the cob bread-baking ovens, we strive to build all structures with the people and planet in mind!

Design for the Future

Although we haven’t been able to afford the actual installation yet, we designed the new building with a large south-facing roof. We look forward to installing a solar array in the future! If you are interested in contributing to or investing in this endeavor, please contact us!