Stories: landscaping

LANDBRIDGE ECOLOGICAL

Landbridge Ecological is a woman-owned company located along University Avenue whose mission is to restore and support landscapes and ecological systems that foster healthy habitats and resilient communities. Their commitment to sustainability is matched closely with a focus on social justice.

Take the building itself: this was a building in disrepair, likely a tear-down, but Landbridge adopted it and has spent years stabilizing it, adding insulation to the roof, replacing the roof, fixing up the bricks, replaced lights with LEDs, replaced the H Track, insulated the boiler and pipes, and added a solar array on the roof-top. Most of this goes unseen by customers, but they wanted to do what was right in their minds.

How did they know what to do? Right away, Xcel Energy came in and did a building assessment, and Landbridge has used that as a map to technical improvements. Most things had a 3-year payback or less. 

What's next? Now that they've dug in and done a lot of the unattractive maintenance, they get to work on some flashier things: one cool thing about working with Greenway Solar is an installation of an energy use display that shows tenants, employees and customers how much energy they're using on a daily basis through digital graphs and charts.

The Capitol Region Watershed District has been working with Landbridge on a front entry design to capture stormwater from the rooftop and divert run-off into their landscaping. They will be breaking ground this summer on a prairie restoration project in front of their building.

As you might have guessed, the work culture around Landbridge is rooted in sustainability. They have 8 simple rules of business, mostly around energy efficiency and good quality work.

As the building was bigger than Landbridge Ecological needed, they invited other tenants into the building and intentionally looked for socially conscious businesses. They call it "Universe buildings", and includes businesses such as Monarch Joint Venture, which researches butterfly habitats and other pollinators, a hip hop dance studio, Elpis Enterprises, an organization that teaches homeless youth job skills, and have hosted free spaces for artists to work. Landbridge enjoys the collaboration aspects of being a business hub. One example is using wood from their forest projects for teaching kids from Elpis how to build birdhouses. 

One day, Landbridge hopes to have a fleet of electric company cars. They recently installed two electric car stations. They also hope to expand their solar array.

Learn more about Landbridge Ecological at landbridge.eco/.

ZVAGO

SAINT ANTHONY PARK

Zvago Saint Anthony Park is a housing cooperative in St. Paul with a focus on sustainability. Members are active participants of committees, which either focus on or incorporate environmental values. As part of the original design, a subsurface stormwater infiltration gallery was installed under the parking lot. New developments are required to adequately control stormwater that falls on their property. This system captures all the runoff from typical storms and allows it to infiltrate into the soil. Runoff water that exceeds the storage capacity of these pipes enters the stormwater drains without further treatment. The system is managed by the Capitol Region Watershed District.

The Landscape Committee recently arranged for a rain garden to be installed on an area where roof runoff was causing ice buildup on the public sidewalk. It also was an opportunity to diversify the plant species growing on the property. They are currently discussing whether or not to establish areas of native plants.

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