With a room full of creative industry experts and Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest (JAUM) leadership, USGBC Minnesota facilitated an ADVANCE workshop to support JAUM’s sustainability goals through understanding Arc.
Currently renovating a new location, JAUM intends the new facility in St. Paul, Minnesota, to serve as a state-of-the-art experiential learning center for Minnesota students, allowing them to experience one of three learning labs: JA BizTown, JA Finance Park, or JA Innovation Incubator. JAUM is preparing to benchmark and track performance using Arc, with the goal of eventually achieving LEED certification. Arc, the first platform of its kind to track sustainability performance using a performance score, provides an opportunity to incorporate those green practices into JAUM’s curriculum as a learning opportunity for students.
The workshop covered three objectives:
- Understanding Arc: USGBC Minnesota walked the group through the five categories measured in Arc, which include Energy, Water, Waste, Human Experience and Transportation.
- Knowing where you’re starting: The team went through the current practices of JAUM’s staff, reviewed LEED requirements and listed aspirations. Staff and volunteers came up with goals, based on those aspirations, the new building design and current practices JAUM is willing to change or expand.
- Goal setting: Volunteer experts used their knowledge and experience to help guide the ideas into incremental, attainable goals. Ideas such as an organics recycling program, carbon footprint analysis, occupancy surveys, waste analysis, low-flow features and new behavioral practices were discussed. Each idea was prefaced with background as to its benefits, cost, challenges and environmental impact, to allow everyone to fully engage with each concept.
JAUM’s ideas focused not only on creating a more sustainable facility, but also on creating a space that benefits the tenants and users. The group made an effort to come up with creative ideas for engaging and educating parents and students—carpooling incentives for parents, providing sustainable transportation options and offering zero waste lunch suggestions made prior to visits to the experiential learning center would allow JAUM’s reach to extend outside its building.
Furthermore, one small group discussion for each category focused specifically on curriculum integration, suggesting roles students can play in achieving the goals, practices that can be mimicked in JA BizTown and environmental education curriculum that can support student learning in the classroom after their day at Junior Achievement.
Although the workshop was only a three-hour session, the engagement with USGBC Minnesota and volunteers will go beyond this window. USGBC staff will continue their support for JAUM’s long-term success, and the industry experts will be accessible to answer questions.