Lake Country Power’s Mountain Iron Facility Surpasses LEED Target and Brings Home GOLD!

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

Lake Country Power, Mountain Iron, Minnesota - a LEED GOLD facility
Lake Country Power, Mountain Iron, Minnesota – a LEED GOLD facility

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.