With attention paid to green building operations, older building inefficiencies can be turned around much sooner than new builds. Respecting our 1905 historic building, we are working toward restoring the building to its original charm, encouraging a 'sense of place' for the community. Many people have stories of this building that intertwine with growing up in Buffalo.
Retrofitting allows us to avoid toxic new materials that contribute to indoor pollutions and provides us with the choice opt for health-friendly options. We focus on 0 VOC (volatile organic compound) and 0 formaldehyde products.
And every choice adds up! Here are a few of the choices we made to lessen our environmental impact and support a green building and operations to lessen our carbon and waste footprint.
Not only do these updates support better health and well-being, but they also lead to cost-savings. Now that's a win-win!
Start with LED
Updated 200+ office lights to LED, a 60%+ reduction in light energy usage (and recycled old lights at an approved facility, award-winning Retrofit Companies, inc (best price in town). Read the blog post on upgrading to LED and getting it covered up to 50%)
Programed to Win
We have partnered with Sidewalk Labs, a Google company, to increase operational energy efficiencies by 20%. We are only the second company in MN onboarded (the first is a major real estate developer). We achieve both energy efficiency AND improved tenant comfort through a responsive HVAC software that incorporates real-time individual tenant feedback, outside weather and specific building plans, to create a custom heating and AC program that continually improves based on tenant feedback. Other components of this program include 'smart plugs' which turn off electricity when not in use, and motion sensors to lower temps when building is unoccupied.
Upcycled all interior furnishings to reduce carbon footprint, like the recycled, premium black maple wood desks as just one example.
The building updates are guided by U.S. Green Building Council Accreditation. Founder Amanda is certified as a LEED AP professional (ID +C), with a focus on green design and construction methods. The goal is to be the first LEED certified building in Buffalo.
100% Renewable Energy
Through Buffalo's Clean Energy choice, we have opted in to 100% renewable energy for just $3 a month. Learn more: www.cleanenergychoice.com/buffalo/. We are also currently reviewing feasibility for a roof solar panel installation made possible through the REAP grant application.
Eco-Friendly Wool Insulation for Sound Proofing
Rather than the standard fiberglass insulation (a synthetic fiber made from tiny particles of glass that can harm the eyes, skin, and the lungs) we made the choice to use people-friendly and earth friendly wool, also known for it's great sound proofing qualities.
Earth Friendly Operations: Cleaning
We use people and earth friendly cleaning agent: no harsh chemicals needed to get a deep clean!
- Appropriately diluted chlorine-free bleach solution to sanitize
- Multi-purpose cleaner and window cleaner from Grove, refilled with concentrated solutions in glass containers (did you know glass glass can be recycled an infinite # of times?).
- Compostable sanitizer wipes.
- Bamboo toilet paper &paper towels
Locally Sourced When Possible
We locally source locally-made snacks, and even building materials when possible! This reduced travel time emissions and supports a local economy. Win-win.
Updated 36-year-old AC units to a 96% efficient model from a SEER 7 to a SEER 13.
No Carpet to Waste
Updated carpet with premium hotel overflow that may have other wise been discarded. Square tiles are used in high traffic area to reduce the need for replacement carpet. In addition, new carpet toxins have been allowed to ‘breath’ out, creating a safer product.
Recycle Made Easy
We encourage recycling by placing recycle bins in every room and near every desk. We also provide old technology recycling drop-off disposal.
Created a mini vertical garden on the building’s exterior wall to create a focal point for pedestrians. If we were to add substantially to the garden, energy savings would factor in. This is also an example of biophilic design, trending in green building spaces. (Look for the living version during the Spring and Summer months).
Sharing technology and resources as a service allows for less resource use (and waste) overall.
0 Waste Facility
We are in the process of eliminate single-use waste by moving to:
- Bulk snacks (package free)
- Reusable mugs/cups
- Re-usable K-cups w/ locally roasted coffee
- A soda stream
- 100% recycled or renewable bamboo paper products.
- Compost for food waste
- Trash liners that are washed instead of thrown away
- Hand dryers to replace wasteful towel dryers
- NEXT: e-waste drop off
The goal? Reduce our waste footprint and divert garbage from the landfill while improving the member experience.
Upcoming Project: Rain Garden to Divert Overflow Water from Buffalo Lake
We are currently researching viability for a raingarden (and patio garden) that collects excess roof and lot rain, and pushes it to a onsite garden, diverting it from polluting Buffalo Lake. (Spring 2023)