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Archive for July, 2012

Jul 26

Bemidji Sustainable Homes Tour Planned for Saturday, July 28th!

Published in 2012

The Bemidji Sustainability Committee is sponsoring the first annual Bemidji Sustainable Homes tour July 28th.

The tour will feature seven homes in our region that are leading the way in integrating sustainable practices into their home design.

The tour starts at 9 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. Each home will be open to the public for a one-hour period, with tours happening on the half hour.

Click here to be directed to an interactive Google Map of the tour

The addresses and open-house time frames for all homes are provided within brochures located at several city locations including City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, Harmony Co-op, and Lueken’s Village Foods North.  Click here for your own copy of the: 2012 Bemidji Sustainable Homes Tour

Come see how local residents reduced their energy costs, increased their energy independence, reduced their water usage, increased their food independence, used natural and renewable materials in constructing their homes, and reduced solid waste.

At 1 pm and 1:30 pm, Windsong, Bemidji’s only LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified building will be providing tours.  Sanford Health’s Windsong Senior Living was Minnesota’s first LEED certified building for elder-care. Find out how LEED has helped provide a framework for Windsong in identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, and maintenance solutions.

   Milt and Jamie Lee’s straw bale design home will be featured from 10 am to 11 am.  The Lee’s dream was “to build a house that worked gently with the land and not against it.”  Featuring lower-impact earth bag layers for foundation and a pole structure frame, their home is built with straw bale walls that have been covered with a natural plaster made of local sand, clay, straw, and other fiber.  The walls are 22 inches thick with a potential insulation value of R50. The thick walls give the house a special quality—soft, quiet, and comfortable.

The home of Al and Catie Belleveau will be featured from 12 pm to 1 pm. Inspired by Cate’s overseas teaching stint in Kyrgyzstan, the tour will include organic gardens and a traditional Kyrgz folk tale told inside the handmade yurt built by Al when he attended the North House Folk School yurt building class in Grand Marais. This yurt will be used to house the first artists to come on retreat in the soon to be open “Belle Thalia Creative Arts Space” for arts and environmental education in Puposky.

The Village of Hope is being featured as the final home on the tour, with tours at 3 pm and 3:30 pm. According to Executive Director, Sandy Hennum “the Village of Hope pairs social responsibility with environmental stewardship. Therefore we can serve more families.” The tour will highlight features including passive solar heat stored in the home’s cement floors, in-floor hydronic heating on its main floor, timers on faucets and lights, and external solar shade on the south side of the house. Equally exciting is that Village of Hope has begun working on Phase 2, which when completed will include a solar energy system for the home.

The tour is free and open to all members of the Bemidji area, though the coordinators ask that interested attendees pre-register. For registration and questions, contact Brett Cease with your name, contact information, the houses and times you plan on touring at            218.755.3765       or

Local resources on living sustainably from the Sustainability Committee, Beltrami Electric, Otter Tail Power, and other community organizations will be available at each site.

The Bemidji Sustainability Committee promotes sustainable values in the community through, education, policy and planning, and programs, events, building and fostering strategic partnerships and initiatives.  Their meetings are open to all interested public and are held on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 pm at the City Hall.

The tour will be held rain or shine. Set aside the date, wear comfortable clothing and footwear, and join us for the 2012 Sustainable Homes Tour!

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"You are the change you want to see in the world."
~ Ghandi