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4-H Girl’s Cabin

Site characteristics or focus during construction or remodel: 

The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program 4-H Camp at Lake Tahoe has been used for group learning activities for over 50 years. An existing one-story cabin was assessed as being in poor condition and requiring demolition. A new two-story cabin was constructed on the same footprint. The focus of the project was to provide increased space designed to meet sustainable, energy efficient guidelines using a photovoltaic system, high insulating values in walls and windows, and a heat exchanger ventilation system. The exterior skin, a recycled log paneling system, provides the material connection with the rustic nature of existing adjacent structures. No students or group learning activities were held during the construction process. 

Construction Type: 

The cabin walls are constructed of insulated concrete forms (ICFs), which are hollow Styrofoam building blocks filled with concrete with a R-50 insulation assembly value. The interior has sheet rock walls and ceiling. The exterior finish is a recycled, simulated “log cabin” siding to consistent with other buildings on the site. The windows are double-pane, argon gas filled with superior seals with R-3.6 insulation value. The roof system has a blown-in insulation product rated at R-38. Below the first level concrete slab floor is a hardboard insulation product (ESP) rated at R-2. 

Passive Solar System: 

The site layout of the existing cabin and the replacement two-story cabin is ideal and can take advantage of the full day exposure to winter sun. When summer sun is high overhead, the roof—extended over the access entryways—allows limited direct exposure. 

Active Solar System: 

In an effort to make an environmentally consciousness statement, they chose to supplement the power purchased from Sierra Pacific Power Co. Photovoltaic (PV) panels convert sunlight into electricity and create a “net zero consumption” condition by generating up to three kilowatts from the panels during daylight hours. 

Main Heating System: 

In each of the four rooms there are small direct vent natural gas wall heaters. An intermittent ignition device eliminates the cost of extra gas required for a standing pilot light system. 

Conservation and Environmental Features: 

A new porous concrete sidewalk entrance allows water to pass through, thereby lowering run-off controls needed to limit flows into the lake and offsite storm drains. High efficiency lighting, fresh air-air heat exchangers, insulation and photovoltaic panels further conserve resources. Even the fire sprinkler system uses a non-toxic antifreeze product (glycerin) to avoid spills. 

Subjective Evaluation/ Design Considerations: 

LEED NC version 2.2 design considerations were implemented. 

PROFILE PROJECT: 4-H Camp Girl’s Cabin, Lake Tahoe, NV 

OWNERS: University of Nevada, Reno 

Size: 1,750 sq. ft. 

DESIGNER: UNR A/E Group Structural Design by Peak Engineering 


BUILDER: Pete Coates Nevada Center for Vocational and Research 

Tags: New Construction
Passive Solar
Solar Photovoltaic

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