Marabou Ranch certified as a Carbon Negative Development
Marabou also hired Environmental Solutions, Unltd. to serve as a sustainability consultant throughout the development process. The organization regularly monitors the construction and operations of Marabou, offering suggestions to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and employ preservation practices. Environmental Solutions recently performed extensive research to evaluate the project’s carbon footprint. Based on methodology and guidelines provided by the EPA, World Resources Institute and the United Nations, Halliday’s research showed Marabou’s net carbon emissions to be approximately negative one million pounds of carbon per year - meaning the project actually reduces more carbon emissions than it creates.
Marabou does emit some carbon. The study compared the amount of carbon generated by Marabou’s amenity buildings, on-site activities, and routine maintenance, to the amounts of carbon reduction resulting from voluntary investments on the part of the Marabou development and management teams. The evaluation was based on the entire 1,717-acre ranch, including Marabou’s 12 amenity buildings, as well as four additional structures used by maintenance and on-site management staff. It did not include private residences, as none have yet been constructed.
Marabou’s agricultural practices and soil sequestration practices were the largest contribution to carbon reduction. According to the new Farmers Union Carbon Credit Program, carbon can be stored in soil through no-till crop production, long-term grass seeding practices, native rangeland enhancement, and methane capture projects. Marabou’s grass-fed beef program, as well as its riparian, grassland and wildlife preservation efforts, results in the reduction of more than 2.5 million pounds of carbon each year.
Marabou is a model for green agricultural ranch operations by incorporating rotational grazing, which is better for the land and yields healthier cattle. Riparian zones have been carefully mapped to avoid cattle intrusion. A wildlife management plan provides for the protection of an elk calving area and a Columbian sharp tail grouse lek, as well as the creation of bio-islands and habitat improvement for the ranch’s abundant wildlife.
Some key management practices that reduce Marabou’s carbon emissions include the use of on-site solar panels and wind-generated power purchased from Colorado-based wind farms. Marabou also employs an extensive recycling program to reduce waste transported to landfills each year. These energy conservation practices more than offset the fuel used for Marabou’s agricultural activity, landscaping, and other maintenance-related practices.
Marabou’s amenity buildings are designed for the common use of homestead owners and their guests. They include the River House Lodge and Dead Horse Saloon; the Downstream Spa; the Casting Room Theater; the River’s Edge Fitness Center; the Outfitter’s Cabin; an equestrian center; and six well-appointed Owners’ Cabins, which can be reserved by homestead owners for four weeks per year.
The buildings are clustered together to reduce the impact the buildings have on the native wildlife. Marabou requires all contractors and subcontractors to be Built Green® certified, and all Marabou amenity buildings have achieved a Built Green® average of 140 points. The minimum requirement is 70 points.
The structures feature insulated foundations; low-E windows; zoned thermostats; Energy Star rated appliances, lighting and exhaust fans; structured insulated panels for room insulation; low flow shower heads; and furnaces with a 90 percent or higher efficiency rate.
Construction teams also used engineered lumber - which is made of recycled material and creates far less waste than conventional lumber - throughout 90 percent of the buildings. The siding on Marabou’s horse barn is salvaged wood from Wyoming fencing, and the River House Lodge interior features rescued cherry wood from 100 percent sustainable sources. The Casting Room Theater building has a “living roof”; home to native grasses that provide natural insulation.
All private residences, ultimately 62 at full build-out, will be custom homes, several of which have recently completed a design review process. Construction on the first owners’ residences is slated to begin by spring 2008. Marabou’s design guidelines were crafted using Built Green® principles and provide an appendix of sustainable building criteria for owners.
“All homestead owners are required to incorporate a minimum level of green building practices, and if an owner embraces a high enough level of ‘built green’ in their home, they are eligible for a $10,000 payment from Marabou,” said Temple. “We were encouraged to discover that owners are choosing to go above and beyond that requirement to embrace energy efficiency, indoor air quality, water conservation and wildlife preservation as a way of life.”
Marabou has attracted national attention for its exemplary environmental leadership. The EPA recently awarded Marabou membership in the Green Power Leadership Club. Only businesses that replace significant portions of the electricity they use with green power are invited to be partners in this organization. In October 2007, Marabou received the first annual Sustainable Business of the Year Award at the