Eco-Panels in the Caribbean - Again

After our work last year for Brad Pitt's Make it Right Foundation in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans we progressed on to the beautiful island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  After years of competitive product evaluation, Stanley Selengut, known as "the father of Eco-Tourism", has selected Eco-Panels to be the provider of floor, wall and roof panels for his eco-resort Concordia Cottages, a follow-on to his world famous Maho Bay Eco-Resort.  As this is not our first foray into the Caribbean (having previously done work for the US Government/National Parks Service in the Floria Keys as well as Haiti) Eco-Panels is excited to once again be working in this beautiful environment.  Below is a recent press release from the Virgin Island's Department of Tourism noting the development receiving a green building award for the island.  Eco-Panels has already started work on the next phase of this wonderful development - please pay them a visit!

New Award-Winning Concordia Eco-Studios



Glenn Speer, architect; Stanley Selengut, owner; Robert Crane, IGBA


Located on Caribbean island St. John, well known for its protected tropical forests and white-sand beaches, Concordia Eco-Resort has lead the way in environmentally sensitive construction since its inception in the mid-1990s.  In addition to its award-winning 25 Eco-Tents and 9 Studios, the eco-resort now boasts newly constructed Eco-Studios featuring sustainable building materials.

Guests who visit the U.S. Virgin Islands to vacation in the new Eco-Studios are more likely to be aware of the sweeping panoramic ocean views and the beauty of the VI National Park than the technology that has afforded them the cool comfort of their accommodations  The building plans have nevertheless earned owner Stanley Selengut the 4-Star Tropical Green Building Certification awarded by the Island Green Building Association .

IGBA's 4-Star award recognizes Concordia Eco-Studios for setting a new standard of sustainable building in the U.S Virgin Islands, utilizing the Eco-Panels building system, the most advanced  integrated panel building system on the market today  These 6-inch panels, comprised of foam between the inside wall and outside plywood, are wrapped with construction cloth and finished with fiber-cement siding.

Selengut says of the new units, "This is the first project of its kind on the island--and probably anywhere in the world."  He describes the function of the Eco-Panels as "a walk-in refrigerator--they keep the sun's rays out" maximizing the coastal island breezes.  He continues, "When you bond these together, they are strong as concrete, but there is no concrete used in these units except the hand-dug footings and columns.  So you can really build over the ground with very little disturbance to the site and no building material waste.  It really is a big step forward in new ways to approach construction."

In addition to the insulated panels, the cutting edge construction includes TekFoil roof insulation and Energy Star rated metal roofing as well as HardiPlank siding to protect Eco-Studio guests from the hot Caribbean sun.   Energy use is offset with a PhotoVoltaic system tied to the local utility company. Site sensitive planning was required for the ongoing project with minimal site damage and construction waste due to the pre-fabricated panel construction.  In keeping with the natural surroundings of St. John, the buildings were sited to retain maximum number of native plants and the native vegetation greenbelt was retained along the roadway and all sides of the property.

The new Eco-Studios are also a showcase for the use of recycled art created at sister eco-resort Maho Bay’s Art Center. Each unit features glass and concrete countertops, tiles, and lampshades, and clay sconces fired at Maho's pallet-burning kiln.  The crushed recycled glass comes from soda and beer bottles collected at both eco-resorts with an average of 30 bottles per square foot used for the countertops, so the counters in the four new units put to good use about 600 glass bottles that would otherwise have been trash.

Each of the four new Eco-Studios is able to accommodate four people with queen-sized bed plus a queen-sized futon sofa/bed as well as kitchen facilities, bathroom with solar-heated shower and comfortable private deck. Location of the new studios allows guests excellent access to Salt Pond beach trail and Café Concordia.  Currently construction is underway for an additional four units with an expected completion date December 2010.  For further information about Concordia Eco-Resort visit website email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (340) 693-5855.