The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 21, 2013

Co-Op going green: Renovated Prospect building environmentally friendly

Dave Sutor

JOHNSTOWN — Once construction is completed, the Greater Prospect Store Co-Op will likely be one of the most environmentally friendly structures in Johnstown.

The building, measuring 4,000 square feet, is being designed to meet voluntary Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards as outlined by the U.S. Green Building Council. There currently are only five other identified LEED-certified locations within the city.

The ratings are determined by analyzing sustainability, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

Co-Op organizers acquired the services of CJL Engineering, a Johnstown-based company with a LEED building of its own, to help make sure the structure meets the guidelines.

“It’s an opportunity to go green,” said Jim Carthew, a CJL representative and Co-Op project manager.

Remodeling an existing dilapidated structure – instead of constructing a new building

– should help the Co-Op score high in sustainability, as should its easy access to public transportation, according to Carthew.

The Co-Op will feature many green aspects, including low-flow water fixtures, energy-efficient furnaces and modern heating and ventilation. The majority of construction material used will be from the local region.

More than half of the waste created will be kept out of landfills. Atmosphere quality will be maintained by using natural light sources, prohibiting smoking and adhering to ventilation standards.

“I think it shows the character of this organization to think long term in a sustainable fashion and to show their customers and clients that they’re taking a holistic approach,” said Michael Sobkowiak, a vice president with the Green Building Alliance, a western Pennsylvania affiliate of the USGBC.

Just last week, members of Pilgrim Fellowship, a service organization from Guilford, Conn., came to Johnstown to help put a new roof on the once-blighted and abandoned property at 110 William Penn Ave. “It’s really helpful because, as opposed to starting over, you take what may have been rundown and you rebuild it, so you’re, in a sense, taking this old washed-out area and then bringing the new life to it,” said Jamie Serio, a PF member.

The store will try to reduce its environmental impact by using solar thermal energy to heat water in its laundromat. The system is expected to pay for itself within four to six years.

“Obviously, it’s a great fit for a small laundromat,” said Co-Op board member Mike Kane.

Along with the laundromat, GPS will offer produce grown in community gardens, fresh-made foods, a coffee shop and an education center. Individuals will be able to join for $60 annually or 12 volunteer hours per month, which will entitle them to a

3-percent discount on items and other special offers.

The Co-Op is expected to open later this spring.

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