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Leading by Example: Blue Earth County Goes "Green" in Its New Justice Center and Jail

NCJ Number
Jessica Beyer; Connie Clem
Date Published
13 pages
This paper describes the development of plans to include energy efficient and environmentally friendly ("Green") features in the Blue Earth County Justice Center and jail in Mankato, MN, a new multi-purpose facility created to update county services, increase jail capacity, and streamline criminal justice processes for the county.
The Blue Earth County Justice Center and Jail "green" building initiatives were an important component in the planning process, which took nearly two decades of detailed planning by county leaders, community stakeholders, and many constituents and consultants. The end result has been the building of a safe, operationally efficient, and secure facility that provides a future-oriented solution to the county's need for jail space, court security, and accessibility for the public. The county gave priority to environmental stewardship by designing a facility that saves resources and uses fewer taxpayer dollars to operate. It is the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified facility in south-central Minnesota. It is also the first LEED-certified jail in the State. The county relied on contractors who were experienced and knowledgeable in green technologies, working with a consulting firm that specializes in LEED certification. This report describes green features of the facility in the broad areas of energy and atmosphere, water efficiency, sustainable sites, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. The Justice Center will soon celebrate its third anniversary of being fully operational. It continues to prove its worth as a facility that saves taxpayer dollars by enabling reductions in the use of operational environmental resources. Although the "green" design is the central feature of this report, information is provided on the broad facility-development process, including the management of construction and transition.