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CHEYENNE — Construction has started on a new, “greener” home for the University of Wyoming’s Haub School and Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources.

Over the next several months, construction workers will renovate and expand a 1950s prairie-style house near campus into classrooms, offices and common space for ENR students, faculty and staff. The new Bim Kendall House, named after one of the expansion project’s main benefactors, will be one of the first UW buildings to seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, according to a UW media release.

The house will be renovated using rapidly renewable materials, such as cork and natural linoleum, said Nicole Korfanta, associate director of the Haub School and coordinator for the project, in the release. The building’s flooring will be made from recycled rubber and carpet, she said. Photovoltaic panels will help power the building.

During construction, workers will seek to minimize waste through recycling and reusing materials; old concrete, for example, will be used in the landscaping around the building. The paints and finishes used were chosen specifically to not release hazardous gases into the air. Water use will be kept to a minimum thanks to low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets and a low-irrigation garden that will feature drought-resistant and native plants.

“Ultimately, we hope the Kendall House will be a model for affordable green design at UW,” Korfanta said in the release. “We think the relatively simple green elements we’re incorporating into the building are also within reach for private residences.”

The project was made possible by a gift from Donald and Bim Kendall, longtime supporters of the Haub School and Ruckelshaus Institute. Don Kendall is a former member of the Ruckelshaus Institute Board.

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The Kresge Foundation’s Green Building Initiative and Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program also provided grants toward the new building. Both grants were matched by funds from the Wyoming Legislature.

The house is expected to be completed next spring. Until then, a live webcam has been set up for the public to check in on the building’s process at www.uwyo.edu/enr/kendallhouse.

Contact Jeremy Pelzer at jeremy.pelzer@trib.com or 307-632-1244.

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