Ordway Prairie Buildings Earn LEED Certification

Design of headquarters and workshop helps save money, energy & water

South Dakota Ordway Prairie Green Buildings

The Nature Conservancy's Samuel H. Ordway Jr. Memorial Prairie Preserve Headquarters and Workshop buildings have earned LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEOLA, S.D. | August 27, 2013

The Nature Conservancy announced today that its Samuel H. Ordway Jr. Memorial Prairie Preserve Headquarters and Workshop buildings have earned LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Designed by architect Jim Widder, principal of GreenWave Energy Architecture, which is based in Madison, Wisconsin, the buildings include a number of features that use less energy and water.

South Dakota Ordway Prairie Green BuildingsIn addition to the environmental benefits, the buildings are helping the Conservancy save money. They also serve as a model for incorporating energy-efficient systems and technologies in rural and urban development in the area.

“I’m proud of what we accomplished,” said Widder, who plans to deliver a plaque acknowledging the LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, certification to Ordway Prairie in September. 

“We’ve demonstrated that post-frame structures widely used on ranches in the region can also be energy efficient and conserve water even on a limited budget,” Widder said. “We worked closely with Cleary Building Corp. and started with their Energy Star building specifications. They were instrumental in helping us achieve this energy performance and recognition.” 

The buildings utilize energy-efficient appliances and low-flow fixtures. And the buildings face south to let in natural light year-round as well as passive solar radiation for heat in the winter. Overhanging roofs provide shade and their light color helps keep the interiors cool in the summer. All the windows are operable to promote natural ventilation. 

Peggy Ladner, who oversees The Nature Conservancy’s work in Minnesota and the Dakotas, said she was pleased that Widder’s work in designing and managing the construction of Ordway’s new buildings has been recognized. 

“Jim Widder and GreenWave did a great job,” Ladner said. “We couldn’t be happier with the results. Earning LEED certification is very challenging so this is a real tribute.” 

Mary Miller, manager of Ordway Prairie, said the new buildings have provided staff, volunteers, researchers and partners a wonderful place to work and learn. “We are very grateful to the generous donors that made this project possible.” 

“We established Ordway Prairie not only to conserve native plants and wildlife, but also as a site to research and demonstrate the best ways to manage land for the benefit of native prairie wildlife and livestock,” she said. 

“Management and research requires teamwork and cooperation,” Miller added. “The Headquarters and Workshop buildings provide an efficient work space and housing as well as a great place for landowners and conservationists to meet and collaborate.” 

At 7,800 acres, Ordway Prairie Preserve is the Conservancy’s largest preserve in South Dakota. It is located in the Prairie Pothole Region, near Leola, SD. With numerous wetlands and large intact grasslands, the Prairie Pothole Region supports an incredible diversity of native plants and wildlife. It is considered one of the most important areas in the Western Hemisphere for migratory birds and it produces half of North America’s duck population annually.

The Nature Conservancy has helped conserve more than 104,000 acres in South Dakota. 

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Chris Anderson
(612) 331-0747 (office)
(612) 845-2744 (mobile)


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