October 1, 2008

Great River Energy Headquarters Awarded Platinum LEED(R) Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council announced today that it has awarded the Great River Energy headquarters building Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The award is the highest designation available to buildings that demonstrate energy efficiency and sustainability. The building is the first in Minnesota to achieve the distinction and one of fewer than 100 buildings worldwide to receive the designation.

"The cheapest kilowatt of energy is the one we don't have to produce," said David Saggau, president and CEO, Great River Energy. "The additional five percent spent to construct the building will be recovered in seven years, in part because of the $90,000 in annual energy savings we expect to realize through the use of innovative energy efficiency technologies."

The 166,000-square-foot building uses 50 percent less energy than a comparable facility built to state code requirements and 90 percent less water than a similarly sized corporate campus. It features an in-lake geothermal HVAC system, in-floor displacement ventilation, daylight harvesting, 72 kilowatts of on-site solar panels and a 200-kilowatt wind turbine.

"Nearly half of the country's buildings that will exist 30 years from now have not yet been built. If they are constructed using the same high-performance, energy-efficient technology that we used, the need to build expensive new power plants will be reduced," Saggau added.

The Great River Energy building received 56 LEED points, four more than required to achieve Platinum certification. The building earned all possible points for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Points were also awarded for innovation in design for green power and the use of fly ash in the building's concrete structure and other materials. The fly ash, a byproduct left over after coal is burned to generate electricity, came from Coal Creek Station, a Great River Energy power plant. Additional points were awarded for water efficiency, daylighting and views, green education center, using local and recycled products, utilizing certified wood and many other sustainable attributes.

"The Great River Energy headquarters' Platinum certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chairperson, U.S. Green Building Council. "The urgency of USGBC's mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach farther than ever before, and Great River Energy serves as a prime example of just how much we can accomplish."

Architectural firm Perkins+Will led the design team, and McGough Construction was the general contractor on the project. Both firms have extensive experience developing LEED buildings. That experience, and the firms' participation in the up-front design process, is largely credited with the achievement of Platinum certification.

The building is noted for a 166-foot tall, 200-kilowatt wind turbine located on-site that is visible from nearby Interstate 94. The turbine and a 72-kW solar array on the roof provide up to 15 percent of the building's electricity. Excess electricity from the wind turbine is distributed onto the local electric grid.

A full description of the building's energy efficient technologies and a media kit are available at:


About Great River Energy

Great River Energy is a not-for-profit cooperative which provides wholesale electricity to more than 1.7 million people through 28 member distribution cooperatives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. With more than $2 billion in assets, Great River Energy is the second largest utility in the state, based on generating capacity, and the fifth largest generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative in the United States. Great River Energy's member cooperatives range from those in the outer-ring suburbs of the Twin Cities to the Arrowhead region of Minnesota to the farmland of southwestern Minnesota. Great River Energy's largest distribution cooperative serves more than 120,000 member-consumers; the smallest serves just over 2,400. For more information, visit www.greatriverenergy.com.

About McGough Construction

The history of McGough goes back five generations to the mid-19th century. Over that period, it has established a unique reputation for delivering complex projects in a timely and cost-effective manner, without sacrificing quality or craftsmanship. McGough has a broad range of experience, from corporate headquarters and high tech manufacturing facilities to educational facilities and historic restoration. Incorporated in 1956, McGough offers a comprehensive range of real estate services through its corporate services, development, construction, and facilities management divisions. Visit www.mcgough.com for more information.

About Perkins+Will

Established in 1935, Perkins+Will (www.perkinswill.com) is an integrated design firm serving clients from offices in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Dubai, Hartford, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Research Triangle Park, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai, Vancouver and Washington D.C. With more LEED Accredited Professionals than any firm in North America, Perkins+Will is recognized as the preeminent sustainable design firm in the country. The firm practices architecture, interiors, branded environments, planning + strategies and urban design with clients in aviation, corporate + commercial + civic, healthcare, higher education, K-12 education, and science + technology markets. Perkins+Will routinely ranks among the world's top design firms and has received hundreds of awards, including the prestigious American Institute of Architects "Firm of the Year" Award.

About the U.S. Green Building Council

The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainably built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies and other nonprofit organizations. Since UGSBC's founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 17,000 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED(R) green building rating systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry's popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org), and a network of 78 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.