Our office demonstrates sustainable design and stormwater management features.
The District office, constructed in 2005 along Gervais Creek in Little Canada, includes green architecture, stormwater management features and Minnesota native plants. It is designed to capture 100 percent of rain and snowmelt from the property, stopping runoff pollution from entering the creek and downstream waters.
Around the office building are several features designed to collect and filter stormwater. Are any of these a good fit for your home or office? Come by to see them in action and talk to staff about funding resources.
Eight rain gardens and multiple upland prairies surround the building, providing rain and snow melt capture as well as vital habitat for insects, birds and small mammals. These Minnesota native plants can survive our normal climate range of cold winters and occasional wet and dry spells in the warmer months. Their long roots help rain soak into the soil to be filtered and slowed before entering Gervais Creek.
Our green roof (also called a garden roof) captures rain and snowmelt while providing habitat for birds and insects on top of the garage. Planted and monitored closely by staff since 2006, it includes short grasses and flowering plants that are native to the area as well as several species of sedum.
This multi-level system is expected to have a longer life-span than traditional roofing because the plants and base layers provide excellent protection from weathering. Overflow from the roof is directed to a nearby rain garden.
Once rare in Minnesota, porous asphalt, cement, and pavers are becoming more commonplace for clean water purposes and pedestrian safety in winter. Roughly half of our parking lot is porous asphalt with a section of large porous pavers connecting the upper and lower parking areas.
Both are engineered to provide storage space underground so water quickly moves off the surface and then infiltrates the soil more slowly. In cold months, this allows snowmelt to move down before it re-freezes into slippery ice sheets. This technology is of interest to developers because it provides stormwater infiltration without requiring additional land for a stormwater detention pond.
In July 2018, we installed a 150-panel rooftop solar array to reduce our carbon footprint and provide renewable energy for the building.
Estimated annual energy savings range from $4,500 to $8,700, depending on how much utility rates increase during the system’s 25-year production warranty. Over this time, we expect to generate more than 1,000,000 kWh of clean energy and offset at least 80 percent of our building’s electrical needs. Check out our online monitoring dashboard to see how much energy the roof produces each day.
In 2014, we purchased a garage and land from the neighboring property. Our parking lot was expanded using traditional asphalt, so to capture stormwater flowing off this impervious area, we installed a trench drain at the lowest point.
Rain and snowmelt entering this trench drain is directed to adjoining rain gardens. Homeowners may be interested in this as an alternative to more expensive porous pavement for their driveways.
Our indoor office space was designed to accommodate daily staff work and also offer a community gathering space. We tried to minimize our environmental impact by:
The building layout includes a secure office section and a public-use section (conference room, kitchen, work room, bathrooms and lobby). The public space is available for use by government, professional, citizen and non-profit organizations. There is no charge to use our facilities, but there are limitations on size of the group and types of use.
Contact us to schedule a tour of our office site or to reserve a room for your next meeting.