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Hartley Nature Center
Natural History. Stewardship. Sustainability.
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Green Building

It ain't easy being Green, but it sure is interesting. Hartley's building was designed to not only be a place to teach, but to be a teacher as well. Learn more by paying us a visit!

Renewable Energy Systems

Solar Panels*

  • Roof-mounted system will produce up to 11.8 kilowatts electrical power (DC)
  • 1.3 kW tracker-pole system maintains maximum generation angle by following sun
  • Connected to Minnesota Power's grid; when we generate more electricity than needed, MP buys the surplus
  • Panels supplied by RWE-Schott Solar Inc.

Natural Lighting

  • Windows and clerestory were strategically placed to maximize natural lighting
  • A scale model of the building built for laboratory testing of window placement

Ground Source Heat Pump*

  • Transports solar heat from the ground into building via circulation of a liquid through underground coils
  • Coils are buried 8-10 feet underground in front of the building
  • Heat pump heats water which circulates in building's in-floor radiant heat system
  • Supplied by Econar Energy Systems

Solar Wall (south side of building, just east of entrance)

  • Preheats air with sunlight; air is taken in by building ventilation system
  • Manufactured by Solar Wall Inc.

Passive Solar Heating

  • East-west building orientation brings in sunlight
  • Concrete slab absorbs heat and re-radiates it inside building
  • Roof-overhangs shade windows during summer months

* Made possible by a grant from Minnesota Power

Energy Conservation

Insulated Concrete Forms

  • Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF's) are foam-insulated blocks that are stacked and
  •     interlocked to make the building's foundation
  • R-22 insulation efficiency; ECO-Block is the product (see <chandlerconcrete.com/ecoblock.htm >

Heat-recovery Ventilation

  • Three RenewAire energy recovery systems recover heat from air exhausted during building ventilation

How Much Energy Will We Need?

  • Energy system sensors will track the building's energy use and production from solar panels.

Building Materials

100% Recycled-content Roof Shingles

Recycled-content Ceiling Tiles

  • 77% recycled content (post-consumer paper, iron ore slag and gypsum)
  • Mars Climaplus, made by USG; supplied by Sorlie Acoustics

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified Wood

  • Redwood siding grown in FSC-certified forests (California)
  • White Ash interior trim, cabinets, wainscot from FSC-certified forests in Pennsyvania; processed by Aitkin Hardwoods, Minnesota
  • Other FSC-certified wood: plywood, framing lumber (Douglas Fir), particle board, ceiling decking (Ponderosa Pine)
  • Most wood supplied by Certified Wood Products of Minnetonka or Timberweld of MT
  • Forest Stewardship Council

Recycled-content Carpet Tiles

Recycled Latex Paint

  • 50% minimum recycled content
  • Unused paints are recycled, reprocessed and sold by Amazon Environmental

Natural-based Wood Glaze

  • Made from Citrus Peel Oil and other natural oils and resins
  • Supplied by Aglaia Paints

Non-PVC materials

  • A highly toxic carcinogen - dioxin - is produced during PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic manufacturing
  • HNC used alternatives to PVC in plumbing (polyethlene plastic and ductile iron), conduit (aluminum) and carpet (recyclable nylon)

Minimizing Site Impacts

Run-off Prevention Walkway and Parking*

  • Pervious paving systems allow stormwater to percolate into ground
  • Grasspave 2 plastic grid system (additional parking; emergency vehicle access)
  •    <www.netlon.co.uk >
  • EnviroPave paver spacer system - entrance walkway

    * This project was funded under the Coastal Zone Management Act, by NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, in conjunction with Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program and MN DNR Waters.

Site Selection

  • Site was old pasture lands, heavily invaded by non-native tansy
  • On a south-facing slope, providing good exposure to sunlight
  • Outside of delineated wetland areas
  • Potential for landscape restoration with native plants following construction
  • Required cutting of few trees; some trees were replanted on site

additional resources

Hartley Nature Center

3001 Woodland Ave
Duluth, MN 55803


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Nature Center Hours
Monday-Friday: 9-5
Saturday: 10-5

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2016 Presenting Sponsors

Miller Hill Subaru, Duluth, MN Subaru