Riverland students go green with home

Published 7:28 am Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Potentially the first ever MN GreenStar house in Southern Minnesota is ready for listing, and it was built by local carpentry and construction students.

Each year, Riverland Community College’s carpentry technology and electrician students construct a home as a course requirement, building and wiring the structure under supervision and in cooperation with local sub-contractors. This year, for the first time, the home located at 1404 29th St. SW has been registered with MN GreenStar, a residential building standards and certification program. It has yet to be certified.

A public open house takes place on the property this weekend, from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday and again from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday.

The home has been listed at $285,000.

Riverland construction instructor Walt Alms said that keeping the build “green” was an interesting challenge for the students.

“It just took a bit more time,” he said, noting that they also followed certain recycling practices throughout the process. “It looks like any other home, but it has got all of these special features.”

MN GreenStar Homes have to meet standards of energy efficiency, resource efficiency, water conservation, indoor environmental quality and site and community impact.

The Austin home has energy efficient insulation throughout the home, which is also cleaner and quieter, according to the open house brochure. It also boasts efficient Energy Star home appliances including a refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, dryer, microwave and oven. The furnace, water heater, air conditioner, light fixtures and motion lights are also all energy efficient.

Examples of resource efficiencies include the kitchen countertops, Alms said, which are crafted of recycled materials.

In addition, fiber cement siding, and scrap or recycled materials including sheet rock, wood, cardboard, plastic and aluminum were used in landscaping.

A rain-water irrigation system is installed and ready to go, too, Alms said, which collects 50 percent of roof rain water, helping future residents live “green” in their GreenStar home.

The new Austin home could be the first certified MN GreenStar Home in southern Minnesota, he said.

To join the ranks of more than 100 registered homes in the state, the new build will first pass a third-party verification process.

Seven second-year carpentry students, about a dozen first year carpentry students and 21 second-year electrician students worked on the project.

Electrical instructor Dan Rayman said that working on the potential GreenStar home carried a “learning curve” for his students.

The wiring was the same as in any home, he said, but the LED lights and new-style fixtures required special attention.

His students also installed a security system and speaker wiring in the living room, on the patio and in the garage.

As in the past few years, Onsia brand concealed flat panel speakers were built into the walls of the living room, he said.

Also, programmable low-voltage lights were installed surrounding the indoor staircase.

“We go through everything in the class setting first,” Rayman said. “Then they get here and go to work.”

The home does undergo an electrical inspection, he added.

Public bids will be accepted on the home beginning May 27.

2010 MN GreenStar Home Project Open House

When: 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday

6 to 8 p.m., Monday

Where: 1404 29th St. SW

Listing price: $285,000

2010 MN GreenStar Home sub-contractors

City Concrete

Lee Hansen Excavating


Greenman Heating & Refrigeration

Kasper Plumbing

Fox Electric

Bright Ideas

Jon Rathke

K.O. Drywall

Slowenski Flooring

Heartland Security Services