Your Green Life: "Challenge Center, Making a Difference"

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM CDT

Many businesses around the area are taking full advantage of recent federal grants to make their company run a little greener.

One Northland agency started making sustainable changes back in the 90s, but are attempting to take even further strides to lessen their impact on our surroundings as meteorologist Shannon Murphy explains in, "Your Green Life."

"It really is engrained into the culture of the challenge center to be green," described Gene Chuzles, Director of the Challenge Center

This statement has been taken to heart, although one of the biggest green additions can't be seen by the eye.

It's a geothermal pump that is buried 8 feet under and can pull heat from the ground in the winter, and can cool in the summer.

This put the old boiler into retirement.

The Challenge Center also owns Bay Produce and cut those costs by making their greenhouses... greener.

Henk Bendenbrink, the grower and project manager of Bay Produce was on site to talk about the greenhouses, "On a sunny day like today we probably give the plants about 6 or 7 thousand gallons of water but the plants only using maybe half of that."

The run–off is caught in small gutters running along the base of the plant and reusing this water saves them about 20 grand per year.

"It's a tremendous savings because all of our water also has nutrition in there and all the fertilizer we need to give to plants," added Bendenbrink.

They have also spent a lot of time improving their recycling efforts.

Marathon Shredding is another business that is operated under Challenge Center helping nearly 150 companies and individuals up their recycling efforts.

"Tens of thousands of pounds a month are going through our shredders and being recycled," said Chuzles.

Retrofits to lighting, doors, and windows have also been completed hoping to cut their energy usage and limit their effect on the environment.

In Superior, Meteorologist Shannon Murphy, the Northland's NewsCenter.