Eco-friendly BigHorn center gains international attention |

Eco-friendly BigHorn center gains international attention

SILVERTHORNE – Silverthorne’s BigHorn Center continues to gain accolades for its energy conservation design, most recently garnering recognition on an international scale.

Last week, the BigHorn Center was one of five buildings that represented the United States at the Sustainable Buildings 2002 Conference in Oslo, Norway.

Center owners Don and Betsy Sather went to the conference, joining 1,100 delegates from 63 countries. Their trip came compliments of the U.S. Department of Energy.

BigHorn moved from Frisco to Silverthorne in 2000. The $5.2 million center, which includes a Sears store and other home-improvement related businesses, features radiant floor heating, daylighting and high-efficiency electric lighting and solar electricity.

The Sathers are accustomed to accepting kudos for their Silverthorne buildings. The BigHorn Center previously has been recognized by the Colorado Renewable Energy Society, the American Institute of Architects and the Wirth Chair. But last week rated on a far grander scale.

“We sure appreciate the local and national attention we’ve gotten, but that was certainly unexpected,” said Don Sather.

The U.S. team entered the Green Building Challenge. The the Department of Energy chose the five buildings to represent the nation as examples of the best in energy conservation and regenerating natural resources. Other U.S. buildings included Clearview Elementary School in Pennsylvania, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Building in Maryland, The NOAA Laboratory in Hawaii and the Battery Park City apartment building in New York.

Spain was recognized as the nation most advanced in its designs and energy conservation initiatives.

The U.S. didn’t receive any formal awards, but Sather said the competition was stiff.

“All of the U.S. buildings are spectacular buildings, but the international competition was amazing,” he said. “Energy costs are much higher in other parts of the world. There is a much higher motivation in these countries to save energy costs. Their return on investment is accelerated. In our case, our return was 13 years. They have, in some cases, a three- to five-year return on investment based on their energy savings.”

Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

National Tour of Solar Buildings Day

? What: National Tour of Solar Buildings Day hosted locally by BigHorn Ace Hardware

? Tour features product displays of Toyota Prius electric hybrid car, nontoxic home products,

photovoltaic system and wind generator, solar design and energy saving measures for the home

? When: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. today

? Where: 1241 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne

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