Building green in Roseville

By: Bridget Jones Special to The Press-Tribune
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A “green” building is bringing new possibilities to the business community of Roseville. Kevin Kemper, former owner of Kemper Tree Care in Roseville, is combining comfort and energy efficiency into a new commercial building on Derek Place. Kemper said he wanted to create a building that was earth-friendly, because he is thankful for everything the environment has given him. “I’m very grateful for the world we have … and all the resources that are available to us to help our worldly experience,” Kemper said. “Building green is just one way of caring for those resources.” In the late 1990s Kemper had the idea to construct an energy efficient building in Roseville. In 1999 Kemper bought the plot of land at 501 Derek Place. In July 2008 Kemper received building permits from the city, and construction began. The project is scheduled to be finished in May. The building will be a combination of warehouse and offices. Its original and ongoing purpose is to provide a space for Kemper Tree Care. Kemper’s manufacturing company, Kemper Industries, as well as his organic furniture business will also be housed in a warehouse portion of the building. The building has 10,000 additional square feet that will be rented to various companies. Each office space will be about 2,500 square feet. Kemper said he wants his tenants to fit certain parameters. “We’re looking for companies who are not notoriously dirty,” Kemper said. “Grease stains in the parking lots … those kinds of things would detract from the overall attractiveness of the site.” Kemper also said this building would be ideal for companies who are green-minded, because they could use their offices to demonstrate “working green.” Several materials and aspects of the building combine to make it energy efficient. There will be skylights, which line the roof, arge windows which will let in sunlight during the day, and make it possible to use less electrical power in the offices. Insulated concrete forms are being used for walls instead of wood. These concrete walls contain steel reinforced polystyrene (usually known as Styrofoam) insulation to help regulate the temperature of the building. Solar panels on the roof are being used to heat water, which then heats the building’s floors. Kemper said this type of heating is not only more energy efficient, but, unlike traditional duct heating systems, the floor’s heat does not go away when cold air is momentarily brought into a room through an open door or window. Kemper said using solar energy for heating and other needs is the core of building green. “The more we think green, the more we realize that the sun is the engine that drives our solar system, and when we come down to the earth we have to realize everything we see is a manifestation of the power of the sun,” Kemper said. “We would be so much better off to find more ways to harness that energy.” Kemper said the heated floors are a huge attraction of the building, and he will use this system in all future projects. “I won’t build another building without heated floors,” he said. “They make so much sense and they’re so comfortable.” Other things that make the building energy efficient include six-foot overhangs to provide as much shade as possible, fiberglass instead of metal-framed windows for further insulation, a layer of material in the roof that reflects rather than attracts light, and roll-up insulated warehouse doors. Kemper will also be using solar energy to create any electricity needed for outside lighting and in the warehouse spaces. Only lights, machinery and computers in the offices will be powered by non-solar electricity. Mike Frasinetti, director of construction for Commercial Building Specialists, the general contractor on the project, said some people believe building green means unattractive architecture. He said Kemper’s building will show this is not the case. “You can build a very beautiful building utilizing green technologies,” Frasinetti said. “Your architectural design features do not have to be compromised by implementing green technology.” Allan Barclay, the electrical foreman on the project, said he enjoyed seeing some of the unique materials being used in construction. “With normal concrete walls there is no insulation,” Barclay said. “That was the most impressive thing. The (polystyrene) did stay together when they poured the concrete. (Now), they just put the sheet rock right on top of it.” Frasinetti said this building will really stand out in the Roseville business community. “There is nothing prototypical about that building whatsoever,” he said. “Every facet of the design has green considerations, recycled materials, everything. I think it will serve as an example of how an efficient building can be constructed.” – Bridget Jones can be reached at or comment at