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 [...]

That’s a Wrap! Prosoco Products: Doing it Differently

Doing it differently: Prosoco products as an example of contractors using products and techniques they've never used before Working to LBC standards has raised the bar for the Margaret A. Cargill Lodge builder teams. They have stepped up and jumped over that bar every time. The use of new, unfamiliar products is one example. The envelope of a building is absolutely critical to its energy performance. A commonplace technique is to use adhesive-backed rubber tapes and foams to seal the gaps between the window and the exterior wall, yet adhesive, tape, and foam products often contain toxic chemicals, as well as result in cut off waste. At the MAC Lodge all window and exterior doors were sealed with LBC Declare labeled Prosoco products. This thick, liquid-applied product is painted on, filling even the tiniest gaps. It dries to become the flashing, the seal to the window, and the seal to the house wrap combined. Another benefit is that Prosoco's R-Guard is breathable, helping to reduce moisture related problems in the future. Donate to Wolf Ridge Today! This was brand new technology for the contractors. They have found it a great product for accomplishing a very tight envelope - one that they will likely promote the use of on future jobs. Once again, the Living Building process has challenged us to explore alternatives to the norm in our construction plans. Openness to change is helping us choose less toxic, better performing products for the Margaret A. Cargill Lodge, and growing the scope of alternatives for the building trades in our region. 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.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, [...]

Duxton Windows and Heritage Window and Doors Step Up to Rethink Packaging and Shipping Methods for the Wolf Ridge Living Building Challenge

How can the packaging from a semi-truck full of new windows fit in a small car? Duxton Windows is ``Looking Out`` for the environment We 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. Wolf Ridge's team of Gardner Builders, Heritage Window and Door, and Duxton Windows got their heads together to see what could be done. Donate to Wolf Ridge Today! Typically, new windows arrive encased in packaging for understandable reasons - a broken new window is a huge waste. The team looked at several options. One was to replace the typical foam and plastic wrap with recyclable cardboard. A second was to use only re-usable packing straps to secure the windows to the truck. Out-of-the-box thinking also brought up another option. What if the windows could take a short cut from Duxton's manufacturing plant directly to Wolf Ridge? This would reduce the number of times the windows were handled and moved between trucks, storage buildings, and more, greatly reducing the need for all that padding. The solution worked great! The resulting "waste" was a compact pile of cardboard that could fit in a small car on the way to the recycling plant. Not bad for a semi-truck load full of new windows! 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.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs'); Visit Our Social Channels More Stories About The Wolf Ridge Living Building Challenge VIDEO | Gardner [...]

Wolf Ridge and Benjamin Moore Shake Up the Paint Industry

Because of the efforts of Benjamin Moore, the Wolf Ridge Staff can now proudly say ``Kids, this isn't just paint on the walls, it's global change.`` Wolf Ridge with design partner HGA Architects and Engineers of Mpls, MN had a specified a brand of paint for our set of projects for the past couple years.  A representative from Benjamin Moore along with Andrens Paint of Duluth, MN visited Wolf Ridge more than a year ago.  Andrens had a long history with Wolf Ridge, heard of our project and very much wanted to be a part of it.  But, Benjamin Moore did not have a product compliant with LBC.  The meeting concluded with a gracious "we'll see what we can do" from the Andrens and Ben Moore rep.  Little did we know what they were embarking upon. Donate to Wolf Ridge Today! In August of 2017 we began construction of our 8000' Staff Housing building, also the practice run at building to LBC standards.  We kept asking for documentation of LBC compliance from our specified paint supplier, an internationally known and distributed paint manufacturer, but none was supplied.  It was a great quality paint but they simply never produced the documentation. Meanwhile, little did we know that Benjamin Moore was hustling behind the scenes to step up and lead within their industry.  In June of 2017 as we began our registered LBC project of the West Dorm, we learned that Benjamin Moore had not only done the work to get their paint documented as LBC compliant, but they actually got it [...]