Earth Day 2022: Environmental Stewardship at LifeSource
Compost, solar panels and a rooftop garden are just a few of the elements that make up LifeSource’s environmental stewardship and lived values.
In sharing the actions we’ve taken to limit the carbon footprint of the LifeSource Headquarters, we must also acknowledge the history of the land this building sits on. We acknowledge that the land the LifeSource Headquarters sits on is the ancestral land of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (o-CHET-e shock-A-we) (or Seven Council Fires) Dakota People, specifically the Wahpekute (wah-HE-coot) Nation.
Even before moving to our Minneapolis Headquarters in 2014, the stewardship of land and the environment was an important part of our organizational culture. This was one of the opportunities we saw in building our facility at its current location – cleaning up a brownfield.
The US EPA had determined that the land needed improvements and had “the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” Replacing contaminated soil with healthy soil before building would not only benefit us, but countless others because of our proximity to the Mississippi River.
In the end, we removed 22,000 tons of contaminated soil, returning the land to a greenfield.
Our Minneapolis Headquarters was built with sustainability in mind. Thoughtful environmental practices were incorporated from the ground up, and even on the roof.
This peaceful space was created to celebrate tissue, eye, and organ donors and their families. The native plants here are continuously blooming in spring, summer and fall. The pollinator-friendly greenery supports native insects, birds, and other wildlife, as well as stabilizing the ground around the building.
Our rain gardens improve water quality by filtering out pollutants. The native vegetation attracts bees, insects and birds that are valuable and essential to our local ecosystem.
Motion Lighting and Lighting Schedules
Our interior and exterior lighting is programmed to a schedule, automatically turning on/off based on the time of day. Additionally, conference rooms and offices have motion activated lighting to turn off after a certain amount of time if motion is not detected. These are small but important ways energy efficiency was built into our facility.
Another way we’ve incorporated energy efficiency is with our vapor barrier exterior wrapping. The Vapor barrier creates a seal to prohibit exposure to outside elements such as moisture and extreme high and low temps.
Another garden? You bet. This one is on the rooftop of our building. The rooftop garden decreases rainwater runoff, improves air quality and helps regulate the temperature of the building. This unassuming garden surrounds a small patio where team members can work outside or just take a moment to enjoy the outdoors.
Working in a way that makes it easy to do what’s right is one of the ways we live our values as an organization. The additions we’ve incorporated into our building reduce our energy use and the amount of waste we create.
We compost an average of 2 tons of food waste annually, diverting 36% of our waste from landfill.
By diverting our organic waste from landfills we reduce methane gasses in the air. Actively participating in composting organics means we’re being good stewards for our environment and becoming part of the solution.
Water Bottle Fill Stations
We have 3 filtered water bottle fill stations at LifeSource. We encourage reuse of containers, reducing the amount of plastic water bottles entering landfills.
LifeSource has one of the largest solar arrays in the Twin Cities.
The 165,000 kWh of electricity generated annually by our solar panels saves 134,350 pounds of coal from being burned each year. Preventing this much CO2 from being released into the atmosphere is equivalent to adding 82 acres of trees to our forests! Over a 30-year span, this system will offset about 7,425,000 pounds or 3,712 tons of carbon dioxide.
Electric Car Changing Station
We support the reduction of carbon emissions by providing an electric vehicle charging station in our parking lot.