Northfield Construction Company Named EnergySmart Partner of the Month

Posted by Chris Ludewig, May 23rd , 2007

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Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks has named Northfield Construction Company (NCC) as its May EnergySmart Partner of the Month. EnergySmart BuildingWorks is an initiative of RENew Northfield, with funding from the Northfield Area Foundation and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. NCC was selected as the May EnergySmart Partner of the Month in recognition of the company’s long-standing commitment to building high-quality, energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings to customers’ specifications.

Founded in 1972, NCC started as a design-build firm focusing on the construction of churches, and quickly branched out to serve the area’s general commercial and residential construction markets. The company is owned and operated by Ray Cox, with the assistance of about 25 talented employees who work for the company on a year round basis.

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Completed area commercial projects and clients include Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges, Dokmo Ford-Chrysler, AmericInn Motel, Bierman’s, Appeldoorn Dental, Subway, Millstream Commons, Laura Baker Services, Cemstone, Northfield Auto Body, and many other area businesses. NCC’s residential and home building work focuses completely on client satisfaction. The majority of the construction work on their homes is performed by employees, allowing them to keep tight control of both costs and completion schedules. They do not build homes for speculation, instead preferring to focus on dealing with customers who select them to build or remodel their homes. This allows them to work cooperatively with clients to build the highest quality product that suits their needs and budget.

NCC has been involved in finding ways to both reduce overall energy consumption in the homes they build, and also to reduce waste and recycle products during the construction process. Over a dozen years ago they implemented a comprehensive recycling plan for their construction sites. This has helped reduce construction costs and has also returned many tons of valuable resources back into the markets. Materials typically recycled include all metals, cardboard, concrete, paper, etc. They also sort pre-sort debris so that it can be safely disposed of with the least environmental impact. NCC is currently working with loggers, lumber suppliers and wood fabricators from all parts of Minnesota to develop a comprehensive utilization system for sustainable wood products. This project, coordinated by the Community Forestry Resource Center, will hopefully lead to an increased use and availability of a variety of sustainable wood products in this area.

NCC recently participated in a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process for a new commercial building. The process encourages a holistic approach to designing buildings that have minimal environmental impact and low long-term operations and maintenance costs.

NCC’s residential construction utilizes a thorough product review that involves the owners at each step. Over the past few years they have focused on including high-end insulation materials in their homes which include Icynene spray foam insulation in cavity walls, rigid urethane insulation under all basement floors, Icynene spray foam as a base for attic insulation, air tight electrical boxes, etc. Insulation remains one of the best investments for return of energy dollars.

NCC includes life cycle and operational evaluations of all their residential construction. Their client review begins with site evaluation and tree protection and extends through all phases of the work, ending with mechanical and electrical system reviews. Whenever possible sustainable wood products are incorporated in homes and building projects. The results of this review typically dictate highly efficient heating and cooling systems, complete ventilation systems, Energy Star appliances, highly rated windows and doors, etc. Their homes typically rate forty to sixty percent more efficient than a home constructed to standard building code provisions.

The EnergySmart BuildingWorks initiative seeks to raise community expectations concerning the energy performance of local buildings, and will provide technical and financial assistance to maximize the energy-efficiency of area affordable housing. EnergySmart BuildingWorks is offering a workshop, Renewable Energy Systems for Your Energy-Efficient Home, this Thursday, May 24th from 7 to 8:30 PM in the Northfield Public Library (210 Washington St.) meeting room. For more information, contact EnergySmart BuildingWorks.

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