Great River Energy HQ LEED Platinum


Great River Energy an energy cooperative, touts its new headquarters building as LEED Platinum, a rating given by the US Green Buildings Council, and has obtained lots of publicity for this. This means the building is really energy efficient. Except it is built in the middle of a sea of parking in Maple Grove Minnesota, as can be seen in this figure:

greatriver_mn.jpg or this google map (showing the site)

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According to Metro Transit's transit planner it would take some 2 hours and 21 minutes to get there from my house (compared with 25 minutes by car)

Something is wrong about touting the energy efficiency of a building that requires a lot of energy to reach. There should be some sort of Green Locations rating that would at least remove hypocrisy from the system.

(I really don't care where they locate, I just want them to pay the full costs they impose on society and not pretend to be green when they aren't).


An anonymous Humphrey Institute student asked similar questions in April here.

If Bottineau LRT is built to Maple Grove and Brooklyn Park then it wouldn't be nearly as bad.

I agree completely. Out of 69 points, LEED-NC awards one point for locating within 1/4 mile of a bus or 1/2 mile of transit and another point for being near other uses. This is really not enough to ensure that buildings that get LEED certification take transportation into account. TRANSFORM in San Francisco is working on a GreenTrip certification program in the Bay Area that rates new developments based on their transportation impacts.

In fairness to Great River Energy, they relocated from Elk River so they probably shortened the commute for many of their employees.

Additionally, since most of Great River Energy's owners (28 electric distribution co-ops) are located north and west of the Metro area, the new location saves them having to drive further into the Metro area.

LEED ND is the system you want. It is the only LEED rating system that deals more specifically with land use planning and development locations.

David Levinson

Network Reliability in Practice

Evolving Transportation Networks

Place and Plexus

The Transportation Experience

Access to Destinations

Assessing the Benefits and Costs of Intelligent Transportation Systems

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on July 19, 2009 3:19 PM.

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