Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Just a quick note, I will be on vacation from August 9-23! If you need to, please contact Don Heise at Thanks, and see you soon!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Credit SS 2.2, Basic Landscaping Design

This credit is worth 2 points, essentially 1 point for the backyard and 1 point for the front yard. If only the front yard will be landscaped, only 1 point will be awarded for this credit.*

The Greenbush project is going for 2 points. I have included this verbiage into the architectural specs:

Turf (grass) will be drought-resistant turf only and will not be planted in shaded areas or areas with a slope of greater than 25%. Mulch and soil will be added when needed to help reduce erosion and maintain soil temperature. The landscaping itself should minimize water use and synthetic chemicals.

It is the duty of the landscape architect to sign off on this credit; this project so far does not have a landscape architect as we are trying to replicate what a typical person in a rural community would do. I imagine an architect or the builder would be sufficient to sign off.

The main idea for the landscaping so far is to clear as little trees and damage the site minimally during construction as possible. Hopefully this will keep the need for additional planting to a minimum. Not only will this help with stormwater management, but it will cut down on costs as well. The planting we will do will probably include native spreading plants such as wild ginger.

*It is important to note that if only one yard is landscaped that a plan must be in place for the rest of the site to be landscaped in the future. The soil must be stable enough to handle erosion runoff until it is landscaped.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

How to source local materials

For me, the most important thing to do when being sustainable, is to take advantage of local products and vendors. Using local materials not only reduces your ecologic footprint by minimizing transportation, it also stimulates the local economy.

Wood from Todd County, Minnesota

Here are some strategies for finding local building materials:

· Start by talking to people in the area, and ask a lot of questions. "Joe" from down the street might actually have a passion for making his own countertops from rocks in his cornfield, for example. Chances are that Joe probably knows someone too. Get the word out, and let people know what you're looking for.

· Talk to the local county economic developer to hone in on what local businesses and materials are available.

· Contact your local DNR and see what foresters are in the area (they might have wood on their own land to sell or can hook you up with local foresters).

· What were the old buildings made out of? Chances are whatever it is, it was probably local. Also, are there any buildings that need to come down that materials could be salvaged from? Does the local junkyard have any items that could be reused?

· Open the local phone book and look at the businesses. Are there local artisans that would be interest making something out of local materials? Buy something from a locally-manufactured plant instead of from a big box store. For example, there is a solar panel plant in Starbuck, MN, a high-efficiency boiler plant in Greenbush, MN, and Marvin Windows is also made in Minnesota. Also remember that just because a distributor is local it doesn’t mean the product is made locally.

· Check out sustainable materials, such as wood from sustainable forests. Minnesota has a lot of sustainably-managed forests. You can see if there is anyone local to your area by going here: