Minneapolis is breaking ground on the most environmentally sound public building ever built by a city in Minnesota. A new Public Works facility at Hiawatha and 26th Street S., a long-time eyesore for local neighbors, has been a public works facility since the 1920’s housing, among other things, an asphalt plant. The new facility will be two buildings (instead of 18) and will consolidate bridge maintenance, paving construction, surface water and sewer maintenance, street maintenance – and no asphalt plant. A Web cam is posting live shots of the site.
Minneapolis’ commitment to building this state-of-the-art clean energy facility shows the interconnection of environmental responsibility and financial responsibility. Work on this project creates up to 100 important construction jobs right now, and further ties our clean energy economy with employment. It won’t be unique; this is our new norm, because projects that meet these environmental standards are going to be business as usual in Minneapolis.
This new city facility will meet LEED gold standards, saving money, streamlining operations and reducing our impact on the environment. LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs in areas including energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
As structures are demolished on the site, workers are preserving and sorting the materials for reuse to build the new facility. Preserving existing materials means conserving resources, and reusing on site means no transportation is needed. No transportation means conserving fuel resources and reducing pollution. Plus, these materials are free because they’re already part of the current facility. Other sustainable features include:
- The geothermal heating and cooling system is energy-efficient and will pay for itself in four years.
- All of the stormwater will be managed on site. The parking lot will be a “gravel pave system” to better manage stormwater. The site will have prairie-type landscaping, swales in the parking lot and trees that tolerate salt, such as birch and dogwood.
- Sustainable materials not available from existing materials at the site are from local companies such as Vast, Wood from the Hood, and Shetka Stone.
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