DULUTH, MN – Lake Country Power’s new facility, designed by DSGW Architects and built upon an old mining dump site in Mountain Iron originally targeted basic Leadership in
Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification—receipt of Gold certification is a significant achievement for this mixed use facility. Reaching Gold level results from the exceptional effort the team made to find creative and pragmatic solutions that fit the unique circumstances of the site and building.
As a roadmap to sustainability, LEED standards focus on lifecycle efficiencies, return on investment, and minimizing environmental impact. “Because we’re an electric utility cooperative and we encourage members to conserve, it’s important for us to have an efficient building,” said Rick Lemonds, Lake Country Power CEO.
To help Lake Country Power make wise building choices, DSGW created payback modeling to estimate return on investment for major mechanical items, such as a geothermal system. “It’s critical for clients to understand the upfront cost and savings over time,” said Erik Wedge, DSGW partner.
The new 43,000 square foot service center, which opened in February of 2009, has office space, heated warehousing, a maintenance garage with wash bay, an electrical shop, and cold storage. Energy efficient features include a solar wall for pre-heating ventilation air, in-floor heat, and generous window space to provide employees natural light and views to the outside.
When compared to Lake Country Power’s old service center in Virginia, Minn., the new center in Mountain Iron uses approximately 45% less natural gas and electricity, saving the cooperative $50,000 in the new building’s first year of operation.
“DSGW coordinated almost every aspect of our project, and did an excellent job,” said Lemonds. “We didn’t expect to be certified to the LEED-Gold level, but it demonstrates what can be accomplished when you make energy efficiency and savings over time a priority.”
The DSGW design team included: Boldt Construction, Fosters Jacob and Johnson, Benchmark Engineering, and Northland Consulting Engineers.