In December 2009, Concordia released a Master Plan for updating the campus to be more sustainable in conjunction with Einhorn Yaffee Prescott (EYP). It allows for renovations to older buildings and simpler updates in newer facilities.
Here are a few things the Master Plan covers:
- Installation of windows with high R-Values (a measure of thermal efficiency)
- Installation of solar panels on roofs
- A new, LEED certified science center
- A new, LEED certified recital hall
The Master Plan also suggests ways to use buildings that are already present but are not currently in use, such as the Grant Center and the Normandy. Along with renovation to buildings, the Master Plan is looking to increase the amount of native plantings on campus. This will reduce the demand for water on campus, because these plants will be better suited for the climate. Rain gardens are another way in which these plants can be used and help clean water before it enters the Red River of the North, only a few blocks from Concordia.
Long Lake Classroom and Lab
Concordia recently constructed an eco-friendly classroom/lab on its Long Lake property near Detroit Lakes, Minn. The property and building is open to all Concordia students and courses for recreation and research.
The classroom building, which opened its doors in October 2009, accommodates 25 students. Designed to be environmentally friendly, it faces the lake for cool breezes, rests in the forest for shade and has high ceilings and large windows for natural light. In addition to hosting retreats, art and writing workshops, and classroom discussions, the building enables science students to bring in samples from the land and water for examination. A pontoon boat and dock make water research even easier.
The college also reshaped and protected the shoreline with natural plants. The newly landscaped area will serve as an example to the community of what can be done naturally to prevent erosion, while maintaining a beautiful shoreline. Long-term projects include developing interpretive trails, managing the invasive plant populations, and a prairie restoration project.
Concordia Language Villages’ Waldsee BioHaus is the first certified Passive House in North America. The BioHaus, located at the German Language Village near Bemidji, Minn., serves as a residence and an environmental living center for language and cultural immersion programs for young people from all 50 states. Aside from educating those who attend the German Language Village, Concordia professors take students to the Biohauss for sustainability fieldtrips and fieldwork.
The BioHaus adheres to the world’s most stringent energy consumption standard for buildings, Germany’s Passivhaus Standard, and is the most air-tight building in the United States. The BioHaus consumes 85 percent less energy than a house of the same size constructed by Minnesota code.
The roof of the Biohaus has 12 solar panels, which power most of the building, and a green roof. The walls of the Passivhaus are made with special insulation and triple paned windows with a very high R-value (a measure of thermal efficiency). These features help keep the Passivehaus at a comfortable temperature year round. Large windows make up the majority of the southern-facing wall in the Biohaus, this increases the amount of natural light in the building.
Air that enters the building is filters through 100% Fresh Air Ventilation System, which uses geothermal technologies. This system warms the air by moving it through the ground, where it is heated by the Earth’s core before entering the building. The use of water (heated by renewable energy sources) is also minimized through the use of low-flow faucets and showerheads along with dual-flush toilets.