Video | Vendor Spotlight: Uponor

An environmental learning center renovates its campus with a new sustainability program Founded in 1971, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minn. was the first environmental learning center nationally accredited as a K-12 school. More than 15,000 people all over the region stay at the facility for several days to immerse themselves in developing the knowledge, skills, motivation and commitment to create a quality environment. Back in 1996, the team at Wolf Ridge chose an Uponor Ecoflex pre-insulated pipe system to heat and cool their facility. With new renovations taking place, Wolf Ridge once again turned to Uponor for Ecoflex thermal twin PEX pipes to help complete the job. The facility is currently the first organization in Minnesota pursing full certification for Living Building Challenge (LBC), a program, advocacy tool and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability. Therefore, choosing sustainable products was absolutely essential. “We referred to LBC’s Red List chemical guide when choosing our products for the renovation,” explained Pete Smerud, executive director at Wolf Ridge. “The Red List is a list of products that are deemed bad for the environment and human health. PEX pipes are not on that list, but CPVC and PVC pipes are. One of the greatest things about Uponor is they know their products’ ingredients because they manufacture the products themselves.” The project came with a unique challenge because there was a thick layer of bedrock where the Ecoflex was to be installed. This meant there was less soil than desired and Jamar Company, the plumbing contractor, had to be [...]

Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Community Award

More and more communities, organizations, and individuals are trying to figure out how they can get energy efficiency and renewable energy projects done. Wolf Ridge's local community of Finland, which is officially called the "Town of Crystal Bay" recently won the Minnesota Department of Commerce's Clean Energy Community Award! “Our state is a national leader in clean energy initiatives. We want to continue that momentum, and these communities are helping to lead the way,” said Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman. Together, the Department of Commerce and the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) present the CECA Achievement Awards to up to five Minnesota communities each spring. Designed to showcase and support the efforts of Minnesota’s communities, the Achievement Awards also foster a network of communications for sharing best practices among communities from around the state. To quantify Crystal Bay’s efforts, the town identified the total solar photovoltaic installations within the township as 128.866 kW. Wolf Ridge provides a large portion of that capacity, 83.5 kW. With an estimated population of 456, the total calculates out to 282.6 watts per capita - enough for Crystal Bay to claim itself the solar capital of the continental United States! The award also recognizes several renewable and conservation building and lifestyle designs taking root around town. Wolf Ridge's innovative Living Building Challenge design and construction techniques were held up as examples of what can be done, along with Finland's Claire Nelson Community Center. Peter Harris, David Abazs, and MAC Lodge architect Patrick Thibaudeau of HGA represented Wolf Ridge. We are proud to be part of the [...]

Video | Creating a World Class Facility | HGA Architects & Engineers

What does it mean to create a World Class Facility? The Wolf Ridge ELC Living Building Challenge required our design and engineering partners at HGA to overcome many obstacles on the path to full LBC certification. In this video Patrick Thibaudeau, CCS, LEED FELLOW, ILFI and Vice President of Sustainability at HGA Architects and Engineers discusses the renovation of the MAC Lodge. Sustainability is at the core of HGA as a company. For years they have had a strong focus on LEED certified projects. Patrick discusses the difference between LEED and LBC certification and what it takes to succeed in a Living Building Challenge. In Patrick's own words, "It is called a challenge because it's not easy". Watch the video and learn more! Donate to Wolf Ridge Today! Tweet!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs'); Visit Our Social Channels More Stories About The Wolf Ridge Living Building Challenge Video | Vendor Spotlight: Uponor May 4, 2018 By WolfRidgeELC In Featured Partners, Featured Products, Vendor Spotlight No CommentsFounded in 1971, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minn. was the first environmental learning center nationally accredited as a K-12 school. More than 15,000 people all over the region stay at the facility for several days to immerse themsel...Read More Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Community Award April 7, 2018 By WolfRidgeELC In Awards No CommentsMore and more communities, organizations, and individuals are trying to figure out how they can get energy efficiency and renewable energy projects done. Wolf Ridge's local community of Finland, which is officially called the "Town of Crystal Bay" recently won...Read [...]

VIDEO | Gardner Builders, Doing it Differently

The Wolf Ridge ELC Living Building Challenge Renovation on the M.A.C. Lodge required our construction partners at Gardner Builders to look at the project much differently than a traditional build. In this video Bob Gardner and Jonathan Ballmer discuss some of the challenges of this project and the lengths their teams went to while trying to achieve full LBC certification. Donate to Wolf Ridge Today! Tweet!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs'); Visit Our Social Channels More Stories About The Wolf Ridge Living Building Challenge VIDEO | Gardner Builders, Doing it Differently March 13, 2018 By WolfRidgeELC In Featured Partners, Stories of The Living Building Challenge, Video No CommentsThe Wolf Ridge ELC Living Building Challenge Renovation on the M.A.C. Lodge required our construction partners at Gardner Builders to look at the project much differently than a traditional build. In this video Bob Gardner and Jonathan Ballmer discuss some of...Read More Vendor Spotlight: Lloyd’s Construction Services February 5, 2018 By WolfRidgeELC In Construction, Stories of The Living Building Challenge, Vendor Spotlight, West Dorm No CommentsWhen most people hear the word “demolition”, images of sledgehammers and front loaders are usually what come to mind. The abundance and popularity of home renovation television shows has made this phase of remodeling appear almost fun and fairly straightfo...Read More Duxton Windows and Heritage Window and Doors Step Up to Rethink Packaging and Shipping Methods for the Wolf Ridge Living Building Challenge September 8, 2017 By WolfRidgeELC In Featured Partners, Featured Products, Stories of The Living Building Challenge No CommentsWe all know that landfills are piling up all over the world. [...]

Meet The Funder: LBC/Margaret A. Cargill Lodge Website Funding Story

This article was written by Gene Champeau, Wolf Ridge ELC Donor and Board Member As one of the newest members of the Wolf Ridge Board of Trustees, from the beginning, I began to immerse myself in the “Making Waves” Capital Campaign to fund new student and naturalist facilities on Wolf Ridge’s expansive 2000 acre campus. Through the forward thinking of the Wolf Ridge Trustees, a decision was made to embark on a highly ambitious program of using advanced sustainable architechural designs/systems as defined by the “Living Building Challenge” to create the crown jewel of this project, the Margaret A. Cargill Lodge. I began to educate myself on the tenants of the “Living Building Challenge” and came to realize how resource optimization is woven into every aspect of this unique design and construction philosophy. And also, ultimately, into the day to day existence of those residing in this unique dwelling. As I learned more about the construction of the Lodge, I began to realize that there was a valuable story unfolding as to how an LBC project is executed and the many special requirements placed on stakeholders and partners to make an LBC building a reality. Not only was Wolf Ridge taking on a special challenge, it was doing so as the first LBC facility in Minnesota and in one of Minnesota’s harshest climates. Capturing this story in the form of the Wolf Ridge Living Building Challenge website began to take form and I agreed to support the effort to tell this story through a series of vignettes as shared by [...]

Lloyd’s Won the Excellence in Demolition Award for the Wolf Ridge ELC MAC Lodge Project!

This article is being posted as a followup to a previous post on the Wolf Ridge ELC Demolition team at Lloyd's Construction Services. In the previous article it was mentioned that the family would be flying to Texas for the National Demolition Association meeting where they were 1 of 3 contractors nominated for the "Excellence in Demolition" award for their work on the Wolf Ridge ELC MAC Lodge. We are all very happy to report that they WON! Below is the article that will be appearing in Demolition Magazine about the project. John and Stephanie Lloyd accepting the Excellence in Demolition award Pete Smerud, the executive director of Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, was told by three contractors that it couldn’t be done. The challenge: Revamp Wolf Ridge’s land, facilities and curriculum, while also satisfying the rigorous requirements of Living Building Challenge (LBC). To do so, every phase of the project — including demolition of the standing facilities — had to be as environmentally sustainable as possible. Each year, Wolf Ridge engages over 13,000 students, teachers and parents from more than 185 schools in the upper Midwest in environmental awareness and education. The first environmental learning center to be accredited as a K-12 school, Wolf Ridge long ago established itself as an environmental education leader. The center is currently fundraising a $9.4-million campaign to improve and update its land and facilities. With the goals of innovation and continued leadership in mind, Smerud and the board of trustees decided it was not enough to simply meet LEED certification requirements for this project; [...]

In The News! A Superior Site to Learn in the Wild

The below article first appeared in the StarTribune online March 2nd and in print March 3rd 2018. We have shared it below for all of our supporters. The article was written by: Jennifer Bjorhus Photo Credit: Aaron Lavinsky, StarTribune An Eden Prairie couple helped give students access to the Great Lake, but the North Woods center is $2.3 million short of its fundraising goal to make it happen. Buying land right on Lake Superior was always a dream for leaders of the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. The nonprofit north of Silver Bay specializes in hands-on learning, getting K-12 students up close to nature and dirty, whether it’s snowshoeing, taking water samples from streams or growing carrots. Lizzy Wegner, 11, a 6th grader from Watertown-Mayer, beat her classmates in a snowshoe race Tuesday morning at the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. Wolf Ridge naturalist and snowshoe instructor Sam Anderson used the race as an opportunity to see if his students’ show shoes were properly fastened. The Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center was looking to expand and eyeing a gorgeous plot of land on Lake Superior the DNR was selling. An Edina couple outbid them and then turned around gave the wolf center a long-term lease. The new land is 5 miles from the main campus. We photograph a typical day at the learning center as students from around the state visit for outdoor learning activities on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 in Finland, Minn. - Photo By Aaron Lavinsky, StarTribune For decades, children have climbed Marshall Mountain on the organization’s 2,000 acre campus in [...]

Have you seen the news today?

Read all about it in the StarTribune "Inspired" section! Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center builds on a dream of Lake Superior Donate to Wolf Ridge Today! Tweet!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs'); Visit Our Social Channels More Stories About The Wolf Ridge Living Building Challenge VIDEO | Gardner Builders, Doing it Differently March 13, 2018 By WolfRidgeELC In Featured Partners, Stories of The Living Building Challenge, Video No CommentsThe Wolf Ridge ELC Living Building Challenge Renovation on the M.A.C. Lodge required our construction partners at Gardner Builders to look at the project much differently than a traditional build. In this video Bob Gardner and Jonathan Ballmer discuss some of...Read More Vendor Spotlight: Lloyd’s Construction Services February 5, 2018 By WolfRidgeELC In Construction, Stories of The Living Building Challenge, Vendor Spotlight, West Dorm No CommentsWhen most people hear the word “demolition”, images of sledgehammers and front loaders are usually what come to mind. The abundance and popularity of home renovation television shows has made this phase of remodeling appear almost fun and fairly straightfo...Read More Duxton Windows and Heritage Window and Doors Step Up to Rethink Packaging and Shipping Methods for the Wolf Ridge Living Building Challenge September 8, 2017 By WolfRidgeELC In Featured Partners, Featured Products, Stories of The Living Building Challenge No CommentsWe all know that landfills are piling up all over the world. The Living Building Challenge asks us to consider how we can keep construction waste out of the waste stream. This becomes a special problem when it comes to transporting new windows to the site....Read More Wolf Ridge and [...]

Soaking Up Solar

This week we fired up the new solar panels for the first time. Under the clear February sun, electrons jumped right into action, creating almost 40 kW of electricity for the new Margaret A. Cargill Lodge. This is a big step toward our goal to make the MAC Lodge net-positive for energy, and towards meeting the Living Building Challenge requirement that all electricity in the dorm be made from renewable energy. Flipping a switch to turn on the solar was a simple move; behind that action is a trail of decisions and lots of planning. Each new solar installation presents unique challenges to consider. How much power is needed? Where will the panels be located so they can gather the most energy? What path will the created electricity follow as it travels from the panels to, for example, the light in the dining room? What system design and components are most efficient? Which will have the smallest impact on ecosystems? Here in northern Minnesota, studies show that reliable renewable power systems incorporate a variety of strategies. The best plans begin by examining ways to reduce the demand for electricity. A smaller system will cost less right off the bat. In the case of MAC Lodge, architects incorporated daylighting through window locations with the strategic placement of solar light tubes to bring sunlight into the interior hallways and larger group spaces. When purchasing appliances like washers, driers, and refrigerators, we chose those with the best energy ratings. Next, we made the decision to enlist the help of every student living in [...]

Vendor Spotlight: Lloyd’s Construction Services

Taking a Ship Out of the Bottle When most people hear the word “demolition”, images of sledgehammers and front loaders are usually what come to mind. The abundance and popularity of home renovation television shows has made this phase of remodeling appear almost fun and fairly straightforward. However, in the case of a Living Building Challenge (LBC) where recycling and reusing existing materials is as important as the building materials selected, demolition quickly becomes thoughtful, meticulous deconstruction. In the case of Lloyd’s Construction Services, a third generation Minnesota company, this challenge is exactly what they had been preparing for over their 35-year history. John Lloyd founded the business with his father when he was only 17 years old and with nothing but $500 in savings and a 1952 GMC truck. Lloyd has described the demolition side of his business as “taking a ship out of the bottle”. Much of their business has always focused on salvage, reuse and recycling, but never have these words been more applicable than during the careful deconstruction of the old West Dorm for the renovation into the new Margaret A. Cargill (MAC) Lodge at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. An ambitious 17 year old and his 52 GMC truck Before approaching Lloyd’s Construction Services, Pete Smerud (executive director of Wolf Ridge ELC) had already been told by three contractors that the LBC requirements of his renovation plans couldn’t be met. In a Living Building Challenge when demolition and renovation of an existing structure is a part of the project, the burden placed on the demolition [...]