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SENS House Honored with 2004 Build Kentucky Award

Berea College's Sustainability and Environmental Studies (SENS) House and Ecological Machine have been designated by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Kentucky as two of the top construction projects in Kentucky for 2004.

A 1500-watt photovoltaic array tracks the sun as it converts sunlight into electricity.

Messer Construction of Lexington was selected by the AGC for a 2004 Build Kentucky Award for their work as the main contractor for the SENS House and Ecological Machine. Projects are selected for the award based on their exceptional quality, craftsmanship, excellence in partnering and teamwork, project management, and innovation and uniqueness in construction techniques and materials.

The SENS House and Ecological Machine are part of Berea College’s Ecovillage, a residential and learning complex designed for efficient use of energy and materials. The SENS House incorporates passive solar design, solar hot water, photovoltaic panels, a greywater treatment system, roof-top capture of rainwater for household use, and a composting toilet. Emphasizing the use of local materials, the post-and-beam construction of the main wing of the house uses wood from the College forest, and one wall is constructed of straw bales and earthen plasters. The Ecological Machine is a biological wastewater treatment system that converts the Ecovillage’s sewage into swimmable quality water, which is then returned to the Ecovillage apartments for flushing toilets.
“The SENS House and Ecological Machine are key parts of Berea College’s efforts to become a sustainable campus,” said Dr. Richard Olson, director of the SENS Program. “The Berea students who helped to design and build these structures will be particularly pleased at the recognition by the AGC of Kentucky of the importance of this application of ecological design.”

The award for the SENS House and Ecological Machine will be presented to Messer Construction at the 15th annual 2004 Build Kentucky Awards, to be held on February 18 at the Lexington Center.

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