With eight shovelfuls of dirt, the groundbreaking for an Eco-Village at University of Lynchburg’s Claytor Nature Study Center became official Oct. 18. It was followed by the dedication of a bust of A. Boyd Claytor III given by his wife Sakina Claytor and sculpted by Richard Pumphrey ’74, professor of art.
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The Eco-Village is being designed to develop and test a variety of sustainable practices and building types, as well as provide short-term housing for people studying and working at Claytor Nature Study Center. A total of eight cabins are planned.
“This village will allow more extensive study and exploration of this 470-acre nature study center,” said President Kenneth Garren.
The late Boyd Claytor donated his farm to University of Lynchburg in 1998. The property boasts a variety of habitats from upland forests to wetlands, as well as the 7,700-square-foot A. Boyd Claytor III Education and Research Facility and the Belk Astronomical Observatory. Both facilities have enhanced the College’s educational and outreach programs, offering LC students and regional PreK-12 students and teachers an ideal resource for conducting hands-on, laboratory-based environmental research and astronomical observations.
During an emotional unveiling of the bust of Boyd Claytor, Sakina Claytor said, “I know Boyd is looking down and I know he is very happy right now.”
More than 3,000 people visit Claytor annually, which also features a campground, nature trails, and a Beautiful Gardens experimental plot for testing ornamentals.
The first cabin to be built for the Eco-Village will use a Structured Insulated Panel System by SIPS of America, based in Danville, Va. SIPS houses are 50 percent more energy-efficient than the traditional stick-built home, according to research by the Oak Ridge National Laboratories.
SIPS panels are typically made by sandwiching a core of rigid foam plastic insulation between two structural skins of oriented strand board (OSB). The raw materials for the panels are made regionally, with the foam and OSB made within a 75-mile radius of Danville. Wood used in the construction will all come from Virginia. All materials are free from urea formaldehyde and chloroflurocarbons.
Jimmy Farlow, president of SIPS of America, is partnering with LC to build the first cabin. He brought a small SIPS building for display at the groundbreaking.
“What really attracted me to this project is where it’s located,” Farlow said. “When we can learn to live with mother nature and not cause any havoc then we can reap the bounties.”
The first cabin will be 700 square feet and feature one bedroom, a loft, a small kitchen, and a screened porch.
To minimize environmental impact, the plan is to:
- Construct wetlands for wastewater treatment
- Capture rainwater for water needs
- Use passive solar heat
- Incorporate low-impact building materials and design
- Include thermal solar tubes to heat water.
When complete, the Eco-Village will attempt to provide spaces for up to 60 people for short stays and 16 for longer stays in cabins built from a variety of materials such as rammed earth, straw bales, and cord wood.