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Greening Greenbush, MN Project


An increased demand for housing due to the recent expansion of Central Boiler/Central Fireplace prompted Greenbush, MN to look into build eco-affordable homes. Dovetail Partners, Northwest Community Action Alliance, and the City of Greenbush partnered in bringing together interested community members and other stakeholders to establish the resources needed to build homes in Greenbush that demonstrate development opportunities and green building innovations and meet the housing need.


With input from the community and project partners, Dovetail Partners developed a floor plan to meet the needs established by project partners and the community. The criteria set forth by the partners for the project are to build affordable, energy-efficient, 1,300 square foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom homes with curb appeal. The use of recognized green building standards was also one of the green goals for the project. The Greenbush Floor plan is registered as meeting the green building requirements of the United States Green Building Council's  (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards for new home construction (LEED-H) (click here to download the floorplan). During the design phase and planning process, Dovetail offered educational seminars for local contractors on green building techniques and the LEED process.


Some examples of green techniques that are incorporated into the plan's design are a locally-manufactured fireplace from Central Boiler, an in-floor radiant heating system, a detached garage connected by a breezeway, passive solar design, natural lighting, and advanced framing techniques.


The project is currently seeking a buyer from the local community so that construction can begin. One aspect of the project is to offer training to local contractors during the construction process and demonstrate that green building is really just “good” building.



Project Goals


  • Demonstrate the use of green, affordable housing as an economic development tool.

  • Provide education on green building to the community.

  • Utilize as many local vendors as possible in order to provide education on green building practices for their future use, and also to give them an edge in their rural building market.

  • Use as many local products and materials as possible, to support the community economically, pave new avenues for suppliers to get their products out there, and minimize material transportation costs and impacts.

  • Obtain LEED-H certification or Energy Star certification.

  • Build the project in a way that encourages a sense of community.

  • Manage project so it may be easily replicated locally.



Green Design Elements


  • FSC-certified lumber and materials
  • Locally sourced materials and local vendors
  • In-floor radiant heating system
  • Low-VOC paints and adhesives
  • Prefabricated panels instead of stick frame
  • Passive solar heating/cooling
  • On-site stormwater management
  • Energy-efficient appliances
  • Low-flow water fixtures