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Here's to You: WindSong achieves LEED certification

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Here's to You: WindSong achieves LEED certification
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

WindSong, the 80-unit catered living apartment building on the WoodsEdge Campus, is the first senior housing project in Minnesota to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environ-mental Design NC Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

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WindSong opened its doors to its first tenants in November 2009 and has been home to more and more seniors ever since.

Originally built by North Country Health Services and now a part of Sanford Health, the newer sections of WoodsEdge (WindSong and Trillium) were developed by Ecumen, designed by Pope Architects and constructed by Kraus-Anderson. Neilson Place was the existing skilled care center onsite, with WindSong and Trillium added to the north and south side. WindSong earned 33 credits in the quest for LEED certification.

The North Country Health Services Board of Directors was firmly committed to sustainable design since before construction began, and it was a high priority to invest resources to reach the LEED goal.

"LEED certification came about due to the desire of the board of directors to build as environmentally friendly as possible," said Chuck Jensen, owner's representative. "The board made the decision to build for sustainability by incorporating energy efficiency; the use of local materials, the reuse of materials where possible, and the reduction of material sent to landfills. Storm water runoff is managed onsite and not through the city sewer system reducing facility costs as well as reducing the demands on the city utility. A geothermal system (while adding to the construction costs) will pay for itself through the reduction of utility fees and creates less demand for electrical generation."

The LEED Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

Some of WindSong's notable features include:

E 120 geothermal well holes containing heat pumps were dug on site to utilize the earth's relatively constant temperature (around 55 degrees, 200 feet below the surface) to heat and cool the buildings. The heat pumps were installed below the gardens behind the building in order to preserve the landscape and treeline.

E To achieve daylighting percentages and to maximize views for residents, oversized, double-paned windows were selected for the residential units.

E It was a priority of the team to develop the site responsibly and preserve the existing habitat. Some approaches included, featuring native plantings, installing an irrigation system that uses a non-potable water source, relocating removed trees to elsewhere on site and limiting parking and paved surfaces.

E In addition to the geothermal system, the use of energy efficient lighting, occupancy sensors, high quality windows, Energy Star appliances, and efficient building materials has allowed WoodsEdge to perform 31.5% more efficiently than standard facilities.

E Dedicating more than 26 percent of public space to areas of respite to enhance the residents' quality of life. This includes a grand fireside hall, club lounge, dining room, beauty and barber shop, fitness center, movie theater, family lounge, book nook, living room, outdoor courtyard, library, craft and activity room and indoor gazebo. Creative use of signage throughout the building educates residents and visitors of the facility's green features.

"The LEED credits we pursued needed to improve the resident's quality of life and provide payback in energy savings," said Ward Isaacson, principal at Pope Architects. "We are very proud of the outcome."

More than 35,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED system, totaling more than 5.6 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 91 countries.

Hayley McKeon is marketing coordinator at WindSong.

WindSong, the 80-unit catered living apartment building on the WoodsEdge Campus, is the first senior housing project in Minnesota to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environ-mental Design NC Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

WindSong opened its doors to its first tenants in November 2009 and has been home to more and more seniors ever since.

Originally built by North Country Health Services and now a part of Sanford Health, the newer sections of WoodsEdge (WindSong and Trillium) were developed by Ecumen, designed by Pope Architects and constructed by Kraus-Anderson. Neilson Place was the existing skilled care center onsite, with WindSong and Trillium added to the north and south side. WindSong earned 33 credits in the quest for LEED certification.

The North Country Health Services Board of Directors was firmly committed to sustainable design since before construction began, and it was a high priority to invest resources to reach the LEED goal.

"LEED certification came about due to the desire of the board of directors to build as environmentally friendly as possible," said Chuck Jensen, owner's representative. "The board made the decision to build for sustainability by incorporating energy efficiency; the use of local materials, the reuse of materials where possible, and the reduction of material sent to landfills. Storm water runoff is managed onsite and not through the city sewer system reducing facility costs as well as reducing the demands on the city utility. A geothermal system (while adding to the construction costs) will pay for itself through the reduction of utility fees and creates less demand for electrical generation."

The LEED Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

Some of WindSong's notable features include:

- 120 geothermal well holes containing heat pumps were dug on site to utilize the earth's relatively constant temperature (around 55 degrees, 200 feet below the surface) to heat and cool the buildings. The heat pumps were installed below the gardens behind the building in order to preserve the landscape and treeline.

- To achieve daylighting percentages and to maximize views for residents, oversized, double-paned windows were selected for the residential units.

- It was a priority of the team to develop the site responsibly and preserve the existing habitat. Some approaches included, featuring native plantings, installing an irrigation system that uses a non-potable water source, relocating removed trees to elsewhere on site and limiting parking and paved surfaces.

- In addition to the geothermal system, the use of energy efficient lighting, occupancy sensors, high quality windows, Energy Star appliances, and efficient building materials has allowed WoodsEdge to perform 31.5% more efficiently than standard facilities.

- Dedicating more than 26 percent of public space to areas of respite to enhance the residents' quality of life. This includes a grand fireside hall, club lounge, dining room, beauty and barber shop, fitness center, movie theater, family lounge, book nook, living room, outdoor courtyard, library, craft and activity room and indoor gazebo. Creative use of signage throughout the building educates residents and visitors of the facility's green features.

"The LEED credits we pursued needed to improve the resident's quality of life and provide payback in energy savings," said Ward Isaacson, principal at Pope Architects. "We are very proud of the outcome."

More than 35,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED system, totaling more than 5.6 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 91 countries.

--

Hayley McKeon is marketing coordinator at WindSong.

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