Construction guidebook points way to efficient new buildings

Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) recently discussed the New Building Institute’s New Construction Guide in their August Energy Services Bulletin. The guide serves as a reference for building design and construction professionals to define high performance in building envelope, lighting, HVAC power systems and controls. It offers a whole-building approach to achieving deep energy efficiencies in new building projects.

Click HERE for the complete story.

Join the National Green Week celebration

Spearheaded by the Green Education Foundation (GEF), National Green Week is an annual event that empowers schools to engage in sustainability focused lessons, projects or activities. From the first full week in February until the end of Earth Month (April), participating districts, schools, classrooms and youth groups choose a week and select from one of GEF’s sustainability focused programs to be their ‘green theme.’  Continue reading

Waste less with jeans made from recyclables

This spring, municipal recycling programs across the United States can say they had a hand—or bottle, rather—in the creation of a new collection of denim from Levi’s® brand jeans. Levi’s® recently introduced their new Waste<Less™ collection that incorporates a minimum of 20% post-consumer waste, including recycled bottles and food trays, in each pair of jeans. The collection, available in the Spring 2013, will be available for both men and women, and represents the next chapter in the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainable design.

Photo courtesy Levi’s® brand.

“By adding value to waste, we hope to change the way people think about recycling, ultimately incentivizing them to do more of it,” said James Curleigh, global president of the Levi’s® brand. “This collection proves you don’t have to sacrifice quality, comfort or style to give an end a new beginning.”

According to Levi’s®, the Waste<Less™ collection will utilize over 3.5 million recycled bottles or an average of eight 12 to 20-ounce bottles per jean. Along with black food trays,  brown beer bottles, green soda bottles and clear water bottles will be collected from municipal recycling programs across the U.S., sorted according to color and crushed into flakes. It will then be made into a polyester fiber, which will be combined with cotton fiber and finally woven with the traditional cotton yarn used to create Levi’s® denim.

“With this collection, we’re doing our own small part by taking waste and making something new from it,” added Curleigh. “We don’t just want to reduce our impact on the environment, we want to leave it better than we found it.”

The Waste<Less™ collection is only the latest initiative from Levi’s® to do more with less. In 2009, Levi Strauss & Co. introduced “A Care Tag for our Planet, an initiative to educate consumers on how to clean their clothes with less environmental impact as well as encouraging them to donate old jeans to Goodwill rather than throw them out. More recently, Levi’s® developed and implemented a new Water<Less™ technique, which reduces the amount of water used in the finishing process by up to 96% for some styles. Levi’s® reports the Water<Less™ technique saved over 360 million liters of water this year alone.

“We are committed to making products in ways that are good for people and better for our planet,” said Curleigh.

Levi’s® new initiative echoes Heartland’s commitment to environmental stewardship, as embodied in our LEED Platinum headquarters. Our green facility was designed not only to save energy, but also to have a minimal impact on the environment. The building uses one third less water than a similar building and includes unique features such as ceiling panels made from re-used wood bleacher seats and recycled tile and PaperStone countertops. To learn more, view our building brochure (5 MB PDF) or visit

Levi’s® contributed to this article.

Maroney Commons to host a 1920’s murder mystery

Maroney Commons, a one-of-a-kind green facility in Howard, SD featuring a conference center, hotel, bar and restaurant, is hosting a murder mystery party tomorrow, July 13. Set in the 1920’s, the party will include a meal while actors play parts in the Murder Mystery Theatre. Guests can show up dressed with the theme and may also participate in the mystery. Call 605-772-4700 today to reserve seats.

East River dedicates new headquarters in Madison

Congratulations to East River Electric Power Cooperative on the dedication of your new headquarters building in Madison! East River is a power supply cooperative that delivers wholesale power to 25 member electric distribution systems in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota. This afternoon the East River board of directors, management and staff hosted a public open house with a lunch and guided tours as well as a time capsule placement in honor of their new facility.

With the East River board of directors and General Manager Jeff Nelson looking on, President Jim Ryken cuts the ribbon to dedicate the newly-renovated headquarters building. Photo courtesy East River Electric Power Cooperative.

The first phase of the construction project started during the summer of 2009. East River’s original building was 34,900 square feet. The new and remodeled building spans 43,700 square feet and boasts many energy efficient and energy conservation features, including:

  • daylight harvesting, which adjusts light levels according to sunlight
  • light shelves, which bounce sunlight farther back into rooms
  • room occupancy sensors to control lights
  • energy wheel for heat recovery on exhaust air
  • programmable heating and cooling control system
  • ground source geothermal for heating and cooling
  • white reflective membrane roof

The building also reuses large portions of the existing and original building structure and all applicable materials were recycled during its construction. The building is currently pending LEED Silver Certification with the U.S. Green Building Council.

As part of the day’s festivities, a time capsule containing items of historical significance since East River’s formation in 1950 was placed and dedicated. The time capsule will be opened on the cooperative’s 100th anniversary, revealing items ranging from East River annual reports from 1952, 1996 and 2011 to a deck of East River playing cards, a John Green print, photos of East River buildings, a cookbook, and more.

The lobby of East River headquarters, as viewed from the second floor.

Description of the lobby artwork, commissioned by a Madison artist.

The time capsule.

East River board room.

The training room.

Commemorative East River medallions.

Portions of the original structure are exposed in several locations throughout the building.

An office area on the first floor.

An office area on the second floor.

Heartland would like to recognize East River’s facility as another great investment in the Madison community. We believe it will demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and LEED construction for years to come. Congratulations!