Chartreuse Blog

Were you at August Green Drinks?
August 27, 2009, 2:39 pm
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IMG_4411_smallWe were!

August Green Drinks was held at Wild Sage Grille in Cherapa Place, the first LEED Gold building in South Dakota.

The Talk @ Green Drinks this month was a discussion about building sustainably: Stacey McMahan of Koch Hazard Architects and Anne Haber of Howalt-McDowell Insurance spoke about the excitement and the struggles of designing a LEED Gold Certified building.

Cherapa Place is located on the former site of the Zip Feed Mill on the Big Sioux River in Downtown Sioux Falls.  For those of you who don’t remember the Zip Feed Mill Tower, it was the stubborn grain elevator that refused to implode.  It fell into its own basement but continued to stand for two weeks, leaning to one side, before a crane and wrecking ball completed the demolition.  Cherapa Place earned its certification with a number of green features including optimized energy performance, the reduction of used water with high efficiency fixtures, native landscape that controls stormwater runoff, regional materials, and preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.  To learn more or visit Cherapa Place visit

Green Drinks is a monthly mixer organized by Astronaut and the Sioux Falls Green Project for anyone interested in conversation about all aspects of sustainability. Sioux Falls is just one of 594 cities world wide making green conversation over drinks. For more information about Green Drinks check out the website at

Barn Recycling?
August 20, 2009, 7:28 pm
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Another piece of history gone?  Yes and no.  All across the land old farm sites are abandoned, falling into unsafe disrepair.  These were the dreams, lives, livelihood, and memories of the families that lived, loved, worked, and even sometimes died at these sites.   As you travel past these forlorn sentinels of days gone by do you ever think of those brave souls who selected a piece of land to create a life?  They built shelter for themselves and shelters for the livestock that helped to provide sustenance, while fields were prepared for planting. These people not only raised crops and livestock but also families.  Many of these families have left the land for one reason or another and now these once vibrant bustling farm sites are rapidly disappearing from our landscape.

The old farm buildings can not all be saved as many are falling down, past being saved.  However, a few have been given a new purpose.  The Spirit of the West Festival volunteers have salvaged re-useable lumber from several of these old farm buildings that were scheduled to be burned or un-ceremonially buried in a large hole.  It takes a lot of lumber to get enough to be re-sawn into the needed sizes.  The saved pieces have been given a new purpose.  The Spirit of the West Festival has over two hundred feet of building fronts that make up the appearance of an old west town.  The town includes a general store, telegraph office, train depot, jail, and saloon.  The town continues grow with a livery stable & blacksmith and a hotel in the works.  Thus far over 6,000 board feet of lumber has been used to enhance the ambience of the entertainment area where re-enactments of the old west are played out.    The old building fronts are a focal point at one of the several entertainment areas of the Festival.  The Festival also has a chuck wagon cook-off, Dutch oven cook off, other Festival foods, cowboy camp, singers, Wild West show, cowboy shooting competitions, kid’s games, and pony rides for the little ones.

When the Festival ends for the season the old barn board fronts are stored away to wait the next season as we continue the stewardship of our resources.  Prior to being stored they are given a protective coat of Cabot wood preservative so that they may continue this new useful purpose for many years to come.

Actors Robert Fuller, Peter Brown, and James Drury will be in attendance this year to sign autographs and answer questions about their movie and television careers.

Text Submitted by Bill Pattison
President, Spirit of the West Festival

To see barn recycling in action visit the festival September 18 – 20, 2009 located at 6200 N Kiwanis Avenue in Sioux Falls. More information may be seen at or by calling (605) 334-9202.

August Green Drinks
August 19, 2009, 10:00 pm
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August Green Drinks is almost here!

Where: Wild Sage Grille (300 Cherapa Place)
When: August 26, 2009 5:00 until whenever!

Stacey McMahan and Anne Haber will be discussing “Getting to Gold: the journey of Cherapa Place to LEED Gold certification.”

Green Drinks is a monthly mixer organized by Astronaut and the Sioux Falls Green Project for anyone interested in conversation about all aspects of sustainability. Sioux Falls is just one of 586 cities world wide making green conversation over drinks. For more information about Green Drinks check out the website at

Cordwood House
August 11, 2009, 2:57 pm
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cordwood7Type of Construction: Post and Beam
Built By: Donald Gerdes, Home Owner
Completed: April 2006
Length of Construction: 2.5 Years
Foundation: Slab on Grade
Size: 2100 sq. ft. Ground, 720 sq. ft. Loft
Wood: White Pine
Mortar: Cement
Wall Type: 5” Mortar, 6” Cellulose Insulation, 5” Mortar
Total Wall Thickness: 16”

Donald Gerdes began drawing plans for his home in the spring of 2003 and moved into his Cedar House, located in Reedsburg, WI, in the spring of 2006.  The great room and dining room are housed in an octagon shaped plan with a large fireplace at its center, and the kitchen, bathrooms, bedroom, utility room, workshop and two car garage extend north from the semi-circle.  A loft overlooks the great room.  The house is heated in the winter by the fireplace and under-floor radiant heat.

For more information about cordwood masonry visit the Chartreuse website’s section on cordwood at









Near North Apartments
August 10, 2009, 6:35 pm
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Located near the former site of Cabrini Green, Near North Apartments is a single room occupancy building that has dedicated half of its 96, 250 sq foot units to the homeless and disabled.  Helmut Jahn designed the SRO to have reduced operating costs by taking advantage of solar and wind energy and through the utilization of water runoff. The eight turbines, designed at the University of Illinois, with the city-donated photovoltaics are expected to generate 15% of the total building power.  Furthermore, runoff is collected in an underground cistern and used for flushing toilets and irrigation.  USG, a construction material supplier for the project, will be monitoring energy savings on the structure in the future.  They are expecting a total energy savings of 22% and a 16 to 18 year payback.1





1. Building Design and Construction, “Green Design Makes it to Affordable Housing,”

Chicago Center for Green Technology

CCGT, located west of Chicago’s Loop, acts as a model for green construction, houses green businesses and organizations, and provides a place to learn about sustainability.  It is only the third building in the United States to be designed with the highest standards of green technology, LEED Platinum, though it is the first LEED Platinum building to reuse an existing structure and provide public transportation.

The building that houses CCGT was built in 1952 and was most recently owned by Sacramento Crushing, a collector of construction and demolition waste.  The Chicago Department of Environment became involved when it discovered the company was violating its permit by filling its 17 acre site with illegal debris.  The Campus was filled with 70 foot piles of rubble, some so dense they were sinking as deep as 15 feet into the ground.  The DOE closed down the site and became responsible for cleaning it up.  Local architects, led by Farr Associates, designed the facility.

45% of CCGT’s electrical needs are covered by three solar arrays located on the campus:  a 28.2 kW roof array, a 10.8 kW building integrated window awning array, and a 32.4 kW solar berm.  The center also decreases its need for electricity by incorporating passive solar strategies including natural lighting and a tromme wall used to heat the on-site greenhouse.

CCGT manages its water usage and runoff though its extensive green roof, four 12,000 gallon cisterns, disconnected downspouts, and bioswales and wetland.  They retain over half of their rainwater onsite for watering the landscape.

Other sustainable features include the campus being heated and cooled using a ground source heat pump, use of local materials (over 40% within 300 miles), use of only non-toxic and/or low VOC products, and the use of recycled materials (over 40%).

To learn more about sustainability at Chicago Center for Green Technology, to schedule a tour, or to attend a seminar visit the CCGT website.











McDonald’s Cycle Center
August 6, 2009, 2:14 pm
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The cycle center is located in downtown Chicago’s Millennium Park and “is another step toward Mayor Daley’s goal to make Chicago the most bicycle-friendly city in the country.”

The center provides 300 secure, heated, indoor bike parking spaces, showers and lockers, bike rentals, and a repair shop.  The center is also partially powered by the photovoltaic system on the roof including 80 75-watt modules and 40 37-watt modules.  The system is rated at 7.48 kW, will generate 8,815 kilowatt-hours per year, and meet 6.5% of the center’s electrical requirements.

To learn more about the cycle center visit








Exelon Pavilions

Located in downtown Chicago, IL, the four Exelon Pavilions are an integral part of Millennium Park, with two located on the south side of the park and two on the north.  The south side pavilions, designed by Renzo Piano, provide access to the parking garage below while incorporating solar technology: twenty-four PV modules are located on the roof of the southeast pavilion and 16 PV modules are located on the roof of the southwest pavilion.  Together they generate 3,840 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

The north pavilions, designed by Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge Architects, are the first instance of façade-integrated photovoltaics in Chicago and together are one of the largest PV-integrated projects in the United States.  Each pavilion incorporates 460 photovoltaic modules, and together, they generate 16,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. The northwest pavilion is a 6,100 sq ft park welcome center featuring an interactive display that educates visitor on renewable energy and the northeast pavilion provides access to the parking garage below.  The pavilions have a LEED silver rating.







Millennium Park
August 4, 2009, 9:52 pm
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Located in downtown Chicago, Millennium Park is considered to be the largest intensive green roof in the world.  The 24.5 acre park spans two sub-grade parking garages and an existing rail yard and features Frank Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa, the Lurie Garden, and Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate.

The site was originally owned by the Illinois Central Railroad and was considered to be untouchable for nearly 150 years: the larger Grant Park was designed around the railway.  Though there were many attempts to add a park, plans were never implemented until the late 90’s when Mayor Richard M. Daley proposed a modest park with a budget of $150 million.  Four years past the original deadline and $325 million dollars over budget, the park opened in 2004 and is one of the most popular places in the city.

The structural deck spanning the parking garages and rail yard was designed to support four feet of soil allowing for over 900 trees, shrubs, groundcovers, perennials, and annuals to be planted in the park creating shade, managing storm water, cleaning the air, reducing the urban heat island, and providing residents and visitors of Chicago with a fantastic place to enjoy the outdoor city.







To learn more about Millennium Park visit

Greening Chicago
August 4, 2009, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Green Projects | Tags: ,
Downtown Chicago

Downtown Chicago

When Richard M. Daley became mayor of Chicago in 1989 he was dedicated to making Chicago the greenest city in the country.  His plan has included green roofs, photovoltaic systems, wind energy, green teaching facilities, Brownfield revitalization, public transportation, and biking infrastructure.  Currently, Chicago has more green roofs than any other city in the country and ranks fourth for the number of solar installations.

Chartreuse completed a series of Chicago case studies in July that demonstrate how Chicago is changing its carbon footprint one green project at a time.  We will be presenting one project a day for the next week.

Case studies include Millennium Park, the Exelon Pavilions, the McDonald’s Cycle Center, the Chicago Center for Green Technology, and the Near North Apartments.