Ok, my-own-horn tooting time. Or, my employers horn I guess. Dakota County had some cool firsts recently that I thought I should briefly mention.
In April the Lebanon Hills Visitor Center became the state’s first LEED-certified County building. Dakota County also completed a greenhouse gas inventory for their operations, a first for any Minnesota County (take that Hennepin County). Click through for more details.
First County building in Minnesota to be LEED certified
Lebanon Hills Visitor Center was certified LEED NC Silver in April. The Visitor Center is part of the Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan. Some key features include a green roof, use of recycled and readily renewable materials, low VOC materials, underfloor heating, rain gardens, a soapstone woodstove and lots of daylighting.
According to County sources, energy efficiency improvements save 30 percent annually on energy (I assume over an “average” building), however, the kbtu/sf/yr based on energy bills is in the 90’s, which seemed rather high to me for a LEED-certified building. Anecdotes suggest that many visitors do not understand how to efficiently operate the woodstove (a roaring fire isn’t required) and that leads to a lot of cracked windows in the winter which could explain the less-than-expected performance. This is an education issue, and hopefully over time the problem is fixed.
Dakota County also completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory in April. While others talk, we do! Our total emissions equaled 26,570 short tons in 2005. Why 2005? Because that is the year many other governments are using as a baseline. The County has not yet adopted any targets (a la Hennepin), but hopefully that is the next step. We’re also using this opportunity to identify potential energy savings projects that might be eligible for stimulus funds.
You can find the full report as part of the Physical Development Committee’s agenda packet from April (page 80 or so).