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Kane holds open house to celebrate new energy efficient "passive house" building

six&kane sign
Joel Morrison
The signage for the new Six&Kane building. The finished interior and exterior of the building will be unveiled on October 8.

Friday and Saturday, grand opening events will introduce the public to Six&Kane, a historic building in Kane, PA renovated to be a “passive house.” It’s part of a sustainable energy movement to make buildings airtight to reduce their energy needs for heating and cooling.

The Six&Kane project is the first commercial passive house retrofit of a building over 15,000 square feet in the United States. The project was executed and funded by the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund. The fund’s director, Joel Morrison, said the small town of Kane is a great fit because of the large impact the project can have in the community.

“We get a tremendous amount of visibility at this building in a small community. So, if you were building this in a large, metropolitan area with a lot of activity going on, it would kind of be lost in noise,” Morrison said.

Morrison said with the building’s energy efficiency and solar panels, it produces an average of 60-70% of its own power.

six and kane building
Joel Morrison
Six&Kane still under construction in 2021. The building is at 63 North Fraley Street in Kane.

A law firm, a cafe and the Kane Area Chamber of Commerce have already moved into the building. Kate Kennedy is a Kane resident and executive director of the chamber of commerce. She said a project like Six&Kane shows a community like Kane can be innovative.

“What we really want to embrace is this idea that can redefine or reimagine what rural is and projects like the passive house are a huge part of showcasing that we can be forward thinking too,” Kennedy said.

Kane mayor Brandy Schimp is thrilled that after three years, the project is complete. She also appreciates West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund’s emphasis on working with the community.

“We value the energy efficiency that it promotes and also the energy efficiency principles that they’re now teaching us. And they’re teaching our tradespeople and our contractors and our locals are able to understand these practices and use best practices,” Schimp said.

Grand opening events will be both virtual and in-person.

Saturday's events will include tours at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. and a community celebration at 2 p.m.