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  T&D > T&D Pubs > Sustainability Solutions No. 7: New Idaho Ranger Station Gets the Gold T&D Web Header
New Idaho Ranger Station Gets the Gold

Photo of the Sandpoint Ranger Station.
Figure 1—Native grasses surround the perimeter of the new Sandpoint Ranger Station. The specially coated roof reflects heat, helping to keep the building cool in the summer.
The Idaho Panhandle's National Forest's new ranger station (figure 1) in Sandpoint, ID, has been awarded "gold"—the second-highest rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The 13,325-square foot building incorporates advances in water conservation, energy conservation, products that promote indoor air quality, recycled materials, and was built on a site selected to minimize the harm to native plants.

Water conservation techniques that include adjustable-flow toilets (figure 2), waterless urinals, and low flow plumbing fixtures reduce the station's water consumption by an estimated 42 percent.

Twenty percent of the products used during the ranger station's construction have recycled content. Recycled products included rebar, gravel subbase, partitions, ceiling grid, metal roof, carpet, drywall, window blinds, bike racks, cellulose insulation, ceramic tile, and cabinets. In addition, the contractor recycled or reused 85 percent of the construction waste.

Environmental quality within the building was also addressed. Products low in volatile organic compounds and other materials were chosen carefully to reduce toxins and odors. Highly efficient (minimum efficiency reporting value 13) air filters in the heating and cooling system remove airborne allergens and other particles from the air. Carbon dioxide sensors instruct the ventilation system to increase fresh air flow when needed, such as when a large group of people congregate in one room. The cleaning contract specifies the use of green cleaning products to eliminate unnecessary toxins.

Photo of the plaque in bathroom explaining the different settings on the toilet.
Figure 2—Toilets adjust the amount of water in each flush.

The area surrounding the building is a park-like setting with native plants, including groves of mature aspen, pine, and native grasses. The building site was chosen to preserve as much of the native plants as possible. A pollinator garden with native plants suitable for bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators is being developed.

The new building, which saves an estimated 38 percent of the energy ordinarily used by a building of its size, was awarded all 10 possible points for energy efficiency in the LEED program. Many aspects of the building contribute to energy savings, including high-performance windows and high thermal-rating (R) ceilings (R-42) and walls (R-19). Nearly 90 percent of the work spaces are lit by daylight, reducing the need for additional lighting. All rooms have motion sensors that turn off the lights (figure 3) when the room is unoccupied. A specially coated metal roof helps reflect unwanted heat in the summer.

Photo of a utility room with motion sensor lights.
Figure 3—Motion sensors turn lights on only when someone is in the room.

A ground source heat pump uses the earth as a heat sink or heat source. The ground source installation has a series of six horizontal loops underground divided into seven additional loops. Each of the building's 13 heating and cooling zones uses its own heat pump, which allows better temperature control, comfort, and efficiency.

The Sandpoint Ranger Station is open to visitors who are interested in their green design. For more information on the Sandpoint Ranger Station, please contact:

    Greg Hetzler
    1602 Ontario St.
    Sandpoint, ID 83864
    (208) 265–6603

We're interested in what is happening on your unit. Contact Bob Beckley ( at 406–329–3996 to share your sustainability solutions with others in the Forest Service.