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Schneider Electric’s Master EcoXpert Partner UHL Integral to Groundbreaking Renovation at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

Boston, MA, USA


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  • UHL implemented Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Building Operation (EBO) during retrofit project at MAC Lodge at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center
  • EBO helped MAC Lodge earn the distinction of the first renovation project in the world, first building in Minnesota and only the 30th building worldwide to receive coveted full Living Building Challenge (LBC) Global Certification

BOSTON, May 24, 2022Schneider Electric, the global leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, is proud to announce its collaboration with UHL to enable the efficient use of energy at the recently completed, first-of-its-kind renovation project at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. Using EcoStruxure Building Operation (EBO), the work of Schneider Electric and UHL enabled Wolf Ridge to better educate students on the impacts of living a sustainable life, providing a single pane of glass that gives staff and students full visibility of the campus and all rooms in an easy to consume way. 

Founded in 1971, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center is the first environmental learning center in the nation to be accredited as a K-12 school and is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in environmental education. Aided by UHL’s implementation of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Building Operation (EBO) during the major renovation of Wolf Ridge’s MAC Lodge, the Lodge is the first renovation project in the world, the first building in Minnesota and only the 30th building worldwide to receive the coveted Living Building Challenge (LBC) global certification by the International Living Future Institute.

EcoStruxure Building Operation (EBO) Enables Visibility and Increases Staff Efficiency

As a Master EcoXpert, UHL has a proven partnership with Schneider Electric that enables them to deliver innovative and collaborative solutions to create smarter buildings, more reliable infrastructures, and optimized energy efficiency. UHL, through its partnership with architecture and design client HGA, served as an integral team member on the Wolf Ridge project, starting at the onset in 2014 through completion of the complex renovation in 2018.

“The UHL team is honored to have been a partner on this meaningful project,” reflects Tim Ley, President & Co-Owner of UHL. “Our team truly believes in Wolf Ridge’s mission and was blown away by their creativity throughout the process, which is why as donors and investors in the renovation, it has been very rewarding to bring this first-of-its-kind initiative to fruition.”

Wolf Ridge’s mission is to develop a citizenry that has the knowledge, skills, motivation, and commitment to work together for a quality environment. The MAC Lodge is vital to this mission, serving as a dormitory for students to live and learn.

This is Wolf Ridge’s first experience with a full BAS system. EcoStruxure Buildings Operation (EBO) now provides an integrated building management system that delivers actionable insights in a centralized and convenient view for both facility staff and students. Additionally, maintenance for the facility has been completely redone. With access to building data anytime, anywhere on smartphones, tablets or laptops, the facilities team gains visibility across the campus and all rooms, saving time and resources. Instead of having to physically walk the campus and check 25 thermostats, the staff can see all points on their screen to manage operations easily and efficiently.

“The proficiency provided to us by UHL and Schneider Electric through EBO is invaluable,” said Pete Smerud, Executive Director at Wolf Ridge Environmental Center. “In addition to giving our staff the tools to quickly and effortlessly maintain our facilities, most importantly, it has empowered our students with tangible metrics, showing how their daily actions can affect the environment.”

This renovation added additional square footage, yet did not increase the heating demands, allowing the MAC Lodge to generate more energy than it consumes. This helps the building to keep earning net-positive water and net-positive energy ratings, a key component of earning the Living Building Challenge certification.

“Earning the distinction of the Living Building Challenge certification is tremendously exciting and wouldn’t have been possible without the innovation of EBO and expertise of our Master EcoXpert UHL,” said Justin Lavoie, Vice President of Channel Development at Schneider Electric. “EcoXperts possess unmatched knowledge, expertise and skill that allow for the creation of sustainable buildings of the future. With the help of UHL, we’ve been able to make a real and lasting impact not only on the efficiency of the facilities      at Wolf Ridge, but on students’ behaviors and attitudes towards the environment and how they impact it.”

EBO Easily Educates Children at Wolf Ridge on Impacts of Living a Sustainable Life

“Wolf Ridge presented our team at UHL with the challenge of engaging their students in HVAC and water usage tracking,” reflects Greg Koetz, General Manager of Northern Minnesota at UHL. “Powered by EBO, we were able to help break down the disparate information of the Wolf Ridge facility into a view that children in the Wolf Ridge program would absorb and understand.”

Coining it the “Fisher Price Effect,” UHL worked closely with Wolf Ridge to create a unique teaching experience for children with distinct graphics that resembled cartoons and were easy for children to digest. Students can now see in real time their impact on the environment. For example, each student is provided with 6 gallons of water per person, per day along with 100 watts per person, per day. Students can then view the energy and water usage of both the campus and their individual rooms, creating a friendly competition among occupants as they view graphs in real-time of their budgets vs. usage for each day.

The new facilities allow students and staff to learn about the environment and apply those learnings through visible, interactive features that can help modify behaviors towards the environment.

To learn more about how Schneider Electric and its network of EcoXperts are enabling the buildings of the future, visit uhlcompany.com or uhlcompany.com/specialties/building-automation.

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