Eagle Bluff Director's Residence (Northeast perspective)

In 2011, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center completed a Deep Energy Reduction Retrofit of its director’s residence—its oldest most energy inefficient building—with the help of TE Studio.  The residence was originally built in 1973.  It used to be heated with 17 cords of split, dried oak firewood.  It was extremely leaky—during a home audit in 2007, it would not achieve 50 Pascals of pressure during the initial blower door test. It eventually achieved a 0.45 ACH50 reading.

We provided initial consulting and retrofit designs for this project, which was later executed with the help of many volunteers. The home was just recognized by ACI as the 9th in the country to meet the 1000 Home Challenge, and as the first project in Minnesota to do so.

Find the official letter of recognition from ACI below the break.

1000 Home Challenge Logo ACI Logo

June 21, 2012

Dear Joe Deden and Mary Bell,

Congratulations! Your home at 28097 Goodview Drive, Lanesboro, MN, part of the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, Inc. is the 9th project, and the 1st in Minnesota, to officially meet the Thousand Home Challenge, a deep energy reduction initiative of ACI! Your achievement demonstrates that it is possible to drastically lower a home’s energy use , environmental impact, and operating cost, while improving its comfort, sustainability, and indoor air quality. 

The goal of the Thousand Home Challenge is to demonstrate the potential to reduce total annual site energy consumption of existing North American homes by 70 percent or more. These reductions are achieved through a combination of energy efficiency, renewable resources, community-based solutions, and behavioral choices. By participating in the Thousand Home Challenge, you are helping to build the knowledge base, and develop momentum toward the transformation of North America’s housing stock.

You met the Thousand Home Challenge by verifying your household’s 2010 primary energy use of 47,434 (in kWh), and achieving a 78% reduction from that baseline.   Your total energy use for the one-year period starting June 2011 was 10,467 kWh/year – even lower than your THC allowance of 11,858 kWh/year.  You achieved an equally impressive reduction in household energy cost – from $3,789 to $955 in the post-monitoring period.

These reductions were achieved through a substantial deep energy retrofit of your home using the Cold Climate Housing Research Center Remote system as a guide to bring the thermal performance significantly above most newly constructed homes. In addition, new systems for space and water heating integrated solar thermal technology and a 5.6 kW PV array generates 7,000 kWh/yr.  Your project exemplifies a comprehensive approach to substantial reductions including a kitchen workspace designed for food preservation as well as food preparation.

As part of the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, your home showcases  a valuable demonstration with your commitment to monitoring, learning, and educating others.

We look forward to witnessing and sharing your ongoing journey as you continue on the path to even greater reductions in energy use and impact on the environment.


Linda Wigington, for the Thousand Home Challenge

Note: principal funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF), as recommended by the Legislative Citizen’s Commission on Minnesota’s Resources (LCCMR) demonstrating sustainable energy practices at the state’s six residential environmental learning centers and turning them into regional educational sites.


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