The Cascade Meadow building and site demonstrate some of the key practices of sustainability. When you visit, take some time for a self-guided tour of our themed trails described below.
Sustainable Building Trail
This “trail” tells the story of the planning, design, and construction of Cascade Meadow and shows how sustainability guided all of the decisions and processes. Every step of the way, teams made sustainable choices. As visitors follow the signs and icons along the “trail,” they’ll see the wall types (insulated concrete forms and structural insulation panels), rain screen, green roof, solar thermal for domestic water, geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling, on-site electrical generation through wind and solar panels, and other sustainable construction practices and finishing materials choices.
Storm Water Trail
Sustainable care of storm water means slowing it and soaking it in on our site. Follow this trail around our building to see how we do that using pervious pavements, a bio-retention cell system, native plantings, green roofs, and additional landscape designs.
Explore another path to sustainability with this trail about Cascade Meadow’s energy systems. Highlighted systems on the trail include two different wind turbines, three different photovoltaic solar panel arrays, solar hot water panels, and a geothermal system for heating and cooling the building.
Wetlands Trail Coming Soon - 2012 Sees Progress!
Cascade Meadow is in the midst of a three-year process to restore the ninety acres of wetlands and prairies on our site. When finished, this trail will take visitors through seven different types of wetlands (there are eight in all of Minnesota) and three examples of prairies and demonstrate why each one is unique and important.
The summer of 2012 has seen a lot of progress! A controlled burn cleared out the invasive Reed Canary grass, and this was followed by soil preparation for seeding with native wetland and prairie plants. By spring or early summer of 2013, we hope to begin opening trails in the natural areas so that visitors can explore the wetlands and prairie habitats up close!
Please note: Now and in the future, dogs and other pets are not allowed in the wetlands areas. This not only protects the water quality but also makes wildlife sightings much more likely.