ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

COMMENTARY: Building in Bemidji? Here are the top 3 considerations

We all have an important responsibility to be environmental stewards for our communities — and Bemidji’s unique landscape requires a special level of care. From home building to commercial construction, here are three crucial considerations to discuss and plan for when building in Bemidji.

102622.OP.BP.CONSTRUCTIONCOMM.png
We are part of The Trust Project.

Are you planning on breaking ground on a construction project in the Bemidji community soon? Are you keeping an eye on local ongoing projects?

We all have an important responsibility to be environmental stewards for our communities — and Bemidji’s unique landscape requires a special level of care. From home building to commercial construction, here are three crucial considerations to discuss and plan for when building in Bemidji.

Preserving and supporting the community

Bemidji — nestled along the Mississippi River — offers a variety of culture, history and diversity in the community.

Preserving what makes Bemidji special is important when considering new commercial and non-commercial building projects. Every project should begin with listening to the community to identify and fill an unmet need for the residents.

ADVERTISEMENT

Information sessions, meet and greet events, and other local events are a great way for general contractors to understand the community and its needs and in turn secure local and state support and funding.

The Bemidji Veterans Home for example, which is set to open in the summer of 2023, took a decade to review, approve and build because the team was dedicated to listening to the community building a groundswell of support, and designing a location unique to their needs.

Contractors can also give back to the local community during construction. Adolfson and Peterson Construction, the general contractor of the Veterans Home, specifically employed locals on the project — approximately 70% of the subcontractors on the project are from northern Minnesota.

Protecting the Mississippi Headwaters

Bemidji is the headwaters of the Mississippi and as a result, has a responsibility to protect one of the world’s major river systems. Contractors, architects, engineers and owners must partner early to survey a building location and draft a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.

The contractor and civil engineers will then work with the state to ensure the plan meets stormwater guidance and stormwater pollution prevention to protect our natural resources, including cleaning and discharging runoff.

The SWPPP is implemented through best management practices to prevent or reduce source pollution and help achieve water quality goals. Don’t worry — this isn’t a one-and-done effort. The plan is consistently evaluated throughout the project, evolving to ensure BMPs are in place, especially after significant rainfall or weather.

Prioritizing sustainable practices

ADVERTISEMENT

Sustainable materials and building practices are crucial to reducing the carbon impact by producing less waste and prefabricating projects during and after projects.

Contractors should prioritize eco-friendly and regenerative materials, such as brick, bamboo and reclaimed or recycled materials. Examples of sustainable building include producing less waste, leveraging prefabricated projects or improving building practices.

The Bemidji Veterans Home leverages geothermal heating and cooling systems, a sustainable practice with the potential to reduce the energy footprint and environmental impact of buildings.

Geothermal systems eliminate on-site fossil fuel combustion and offer the highest efficiency among other HVAC options. Geothermal systems are reliable and efficient year-round since underground temperatures are more stable than outdoor temperatures — even in Minnesota.

An easier sustainability practice for homebuilding is to incorporate reclaimed materials into your building and design. This not only provides character but also decreases the demand for newly sourced lumber and helps curb deforestation.

If you are interested in leveraging reclaimed wood or materials, find a local expert comfortable working with salvaged materials to provide sources and recommendations.

Bemidji, the first city on the Mississippi, is uniquely surrounded by lakes, forests and everything in between. It is our responsibility as residents and contractors to maintain Bemidji’s beauty and build it up for a strong, healthy future.

The construction industry can leverage alternatives to positively impact and protect the environment today, tomorrow and into the future. Partnering with the local community and the right experts early and often can educate and empower everyone to prioritize the needs of the community and the environment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ben Bowman is a senior project manager with Adolfson and Peterson Construction. He can be reached at bbowman@a-p.com.

What to read next
Some household batteries may contain toxic metals like mercury, lead, cadmium and silver, which can contaminate our air and water when the batteries are incinerated or disposed of in a landfill. Eventually, these metals can accumulate in living tissue and cause adverse health effects.