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Home on the Range

This photo shows the building after the water-efficient and native gardens were established.
Photo credit: Northern Plains Resource Council


  • Location: Billings, MT
  • Climate Region: 6B: Cold - Dry
  • Building type(s): Commercial office
  • Renovation of a 1941 building
  • 8,490 ft2 (789 m2)
  • Project scope: a single building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed May 2006
  • Rating: EPA Energy Star --Level: Energy Star Certified
    Rating: U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1--Level: Platinum (57 points)

Home on the Range is an office building shared by two nonprofit organizations: Northern Plains Resource Council and Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC). Formerly an uninsulated concrete block grocery store with few windows, the building was renovated to house energy-efficient, daylit offices. Northern Plains organizes Montana citizens to protect the region's water quality, family farms and ranches, and unique quality of life. Northern Plains is a member of WORC, which is a regional network of seven grassroots community organizations.

Environmental Aspects

Home on the Range uses 79% less energy than a comparable new office building built to ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1999. The building envelope was renovated to include windows and lightshelves for daylighting as well as extra insulation for energy performance. Energy-efficient lighting was used throughout the building. Evaporative cooling and radiant floor heating systems use less energy than conventional systems, and a 9.9-kilowatt photovoltaic array provides more than 45% of the building's electricity. A solar thermal system provides domestic hot water.

Through the use of a waterless urinal and composting toilets, the building uses 60% less water than a comparable building constructed to code. All stormwater is treated on site: permeable paving made of pulverized glass allows stormwater infiltration and bioswales handle any remaining runoff.

The building uses environmentally friendly materials throughout, including salvaged and recycled-content materials as well as lumber certified to Forest Stewardship Council standards. During construction, 92% of all construction and demolition waste was diverted from the landfill through reuse of materials, salvage, recycling, and composting.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by Northern Plains Resource Council, Corporation, nonprofit
  • Typically occupied by 25 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 20 visitors per week, 2 hours per visitor per week

Building Programs

Indoor Spaces:

Office (65%), Lobby/reception (15%), Conference (15%), Restrooms (5%)

Outdoor Spaces:

Interpretive landscape (63%), Parking (34%), Patio/hardscape (4%)


Integrated team, Design charrette, Green framework, Simulation, Green specifications, Commissioning, Performance measurement and verification, Operations and maintenance, Transportation benefits, Open space preservation, Indigenous vegetation, Stormwater management, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Efficient irrigation, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Massing and orientation, Insulation levels, Glazing, Airtightness, Passive solar, HVAC, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, On-site renewable electricity, Durability, Benign materials, Salvaged materials, Recycled materials, Local materials, Certified wood, C&D waste management, Occupant recycling, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Moisture control, Thermal comfort, Noise control, Low-emitting materials, Indoor air quality monitoring

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Case Studies Database provided by the U.S. Department of Energy's
Building Technology Program, High Performance Buildings.


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