Last Wednesday I spent the day in a class dealing with ‘green building’ concepts and radon mitigation. The class gives me education credits for renewing my state contractor’s license. Greg Karow, a former builidng official, taught the class that was held at the Northfield ballroom. We had a good group of contractors in attendance, both local and from at least as far away as Blaine.

Before the class started representatives from the City of Northfield talked to us about erosion control. This is getting to be a bigger and bigger issue on construction sites. When dirt is disturbed for construction activities and it remains disturbed for a period of time, silt can wash off the sites and contaminate storm sewers and drainage areas.  The city had a powerpoint that showed examples of contaminated water overwhelming storm sewers. They gave us examples of how to properly control erosion on construction sites and let us know that a permit is now needed for new homes and buildings and significant additions to structures.  They closed their presentation with a photo taken in Montana of someones idea of how to protect the bank of a river from erosion…..using junk automobiles!

We learned a lot at the class about various green building practices. In Minnesota we incorporate many green practices as part of our code approved construction practices. Things such as window quality, insulation levels, etc are dealt with in green or sustainable building and Minnesota seems to be ahead of the curve for a base line level.  We also learned how to properly deal with installing systems to properly deal with potential radon gas in a home.