Freshwater Hops!

Absolute Gruv at Summit Brewery

An evening filled of freshwater hops and live music – benefiting The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – is a tough bill to beat! Summit Brewing Company of St. Paul, Minn., local master of handcrafted micro-brews, donated its Ratskeller Tap Room to host the Conservancy’s first ever Freshwater Hops event. The event was in celebration of the Mississippi River, which flows just below the brewery.

The event highlighted TNC’s freshwater program, where the 47,500 square-mile Mississippi River Headwaters north of the Twin Cities metropolitan area is a priority focus. Efforts to keep “healthy waters healthy” begin by protecting the forestland around the headwaters. Securing these waters not only ensures safe drinking water for local residents, but enhances recreational opportunities, protects jobs and provides refuge for wildlife. Moreover, making the investment now avoids future high costs of water purification if water sources degrade.

Summit Brewery proved to be the perfect venue as it is located along the banks of the river and understands the value of preserving fresh water supplies as well as prairies for hops. The brewery recently implemented a Bottle Line Rinse Water Reclamation system resulting in an 85 percent reduction in water use per case. Learn more about Summit’s water conservation efforts here.

Local restaurants Cossetta’s, Gandhi Mahal, Bulldog and BreadSmith donated food while the local band Absolute Gruv donated musical talent. Freshwater Hops wonderfully celebrated the Mississippi River, fresh hops and The Nature Conservancy.

2nd Annual USGBC MN Chapter IMPACT Conference

The Minnesota Chapter of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) held its 2nd Annual IMPACT Conference this week in Bloomington, MN. Entitled Building a Better Tomorrow, the event offered educational presentations for architects, builders and others working to improve performance and lessen environmental impacts within the building industry. The event was held at the recently opened, impressive Radisson Blu – a destination hotel located steps from the popular Mall of America. It is the first hotel in the state striving for LEED Certification.

The conference began with keynote speaker David Lehrer of The Center for the Built Environment, UC Berkeley, presenting Changing the Rules: Innovative Occupant-Responsive Buildings. Additional break-out sessions offered engaging topics around resilient landscapes and insider tips on the Leadership on Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process. Highly anticipated results from the chapter’s study, Describing Operational Energy Performance for Minnesota’s LEED Certified Buildings, were released as well. Attendees received a hard copy of the results which will be posted on the USGBC MN website in June. Watch this blog for summary details later this summer.

The day ended with a tour of the new hotel. The striking, glacier-like white sculptures hugging the escalators were contrasted by the warmth emitted from reclaimed barn wood blanketing the lounge. Attendees were given some of the first sneak peeks into the luxury suits on the top floor, offering stunning skyline views.

Employees Volunteer for Junior Achievement

It’s that time of year when our employees step out of their regular routine and assume the role of a teacher for a day. Andersen employees from around the Bayport, MN area bring real-life work experience into the classroom as they volunteer for Junior Achievement. Engineers, accountants and customer service representatives are among the employees who put their daily work aside to teach elementary students skills that can prepare them for the future.

The volunteers spend half the day with students following curriculum provided by Junior Achievement. Subjects range from the basics of earning and saving money to global commerce and international trade. Each concept is followed up with a related activity keeping students and volunteers engaged. It’s often hard to determine who’s having more fun, and who’s learning the most: students or volunteers!

The Junior Achievement Bureau officially started in 1920 although supporting efforts date back to 1916. Theodore Vail, president of American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) and co-founder of Junior Achievement said in 1918 that what the country needed was “…to teach the growing generations to realize that thrift and economy, coupled with industry, are as necessary now as they were in past generations.” Andersen Corporation has supported the efforts of Junior Achievement for decades. The format and structure has evolved with businesses; their mission – to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.

My Place in Nature

The Nature Conservancy recently hosted an amazing evening for guests to reconnect with their own place in nature. The Green Tie Affair celebrates the conservation of our amazing natural world. Incredible images reflected just that as featured speaker and internationally renowned photographer Jim Brandenburg wowed the crowd with environmental wonders beautifully captured in time. Brandenburg was accompanied by the evening’s featured host Cathy Wurzer, the endearing host of Minnesota Public Radio’s Morning Edition and co-host of Twin Cities Public Television’s Almanac.

Stream flow

The evening’s dinner program was preceded by a reception luring folks along an urban trek. Interactive activities offered engaging opportunities to learn about The Nature Conservancy’s key biomes of interest – forest, water and prairie. Guests were able to experience the underground world of the prairie, see live forest raptors and get their hands wet in a simulated stream flow! Guests had an opportunity to bid on silent auction items while enjoying tasty appetizers and mingling among friends. 

 However the big ticket items, yielding the greatest fundraising dollars, were offered during the action packed live auction following dinner. Winning bidders walked away with a Bison Experience, Lake Superior Weekend, Caribbean Adventure and more! The competition was high, which is good for fundraising and exciting even for those not bidding.

Interactive underground prairie exhibit

A Special Earth Day at Andersen

We had a very special Earth Day celebration this week. Employees were invited to listen and learn as Jim Weglewski, director of Corporate Quality and Sustainability, touched on some of our unique initiatives around sustainability. Weglewski also unveiled our second annual Corporate Sustainability Report.

However, the topic garnering the most interest and warming the hearts of employees was the introduction of our new feathery neighbors. Nestled high atop a sturdy white pine, located just steps from our manufacturing plant in Bayport, MN, sits the home of a majestic pair of American Bald Eagles – proud new parents of two fuzzy and rapidly growing eaglets.

A live web cam, available internally to employees, was launched at the Earth Day event. Now all employees can monitor daily activity within the nest and watch the eaglets grow!

A panel of raptor experts joined the event to introduce us to the new residents and help us learn to be good neighbors. Jennifer Vieth, executive director, Carpenter Nature Center, Andy Weaver, master licensed falconer and field biology teacher at Stillwater Area schools, and Jim Evanoff of Yellowstone National Park answered questions and educated us on what to expect from (and how to respect) our new friends. The experts explained that in choosing the location for their new home, the eagles are confirming the abundant food supply available in the St. Croix River – a few flaps away. Once a new nest is established with the birth of eaglets, chances are good they will return year after year, sometimes for decades. Eagles’ nests can be active for 25 to 30 years.

One parent tends the nest and eaglets as the other continuously searches for food and sticks to add to their already large nest. While finishing this post, the streaming cam showed the returning eagle bearing fish for the young. Two fuzzy heads popped up above the ridge of the nest, eager to gobble the goods.

Andersen Corporation Releases 2012 Corporate Sustainability Report

We’re pleased to announce the publication of our second Corporate Sustainability Report (CSR) in as many years. Available online here, and in print by request, this report provides an update on long-term initiatives at Andersen Corporation and the continued innovation driving the company’s environmental stewardship.

“The CSR is a snapshot of our company’s progress, as well as a measure of accountability to motivate us to continue to do more each year,” said Jim Weglewski, director of corporate quality and sustainability at Andersen. “The programs we launched, as well as ones we were privileged to support, all point to a model of shared success: between Andersen, our employees, and the community at-large.”

Achievements detailed in the report include:

  • Converting trucking fleet to use of compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel
  • Helping Yellowstone National Park go off-grid
  • Supporting Habitat for Humanity’s Eco Village development
  • Hurricane Sandy relief

We’ll be updating this blog with more news of the day’s Earth Day activities. In the meantime, click here for full details on the release of our CSR.

National Window Safety Week!

This week is National Window Safety Week! It’s a perfect time to review tips found in our LookOut for Kids® safety program. In 1992 Andersen created the Look Out For Kids® program to teach both kids and adults the basics of window and patio door safety.

“Windows and doors do more than provide views, sunlight and breezes. They can provide an important path to escaping a fire or emergency, yet left open, they can be a potential fall hazard,” said Mark Mikkelson, director of Corporate Regulatory Affairs at Andersen.

Keep these tips in mind:


  • Close and lock windows and doors
  • Position beds and other furniture away from windows
  • Consider installing window opening control devices or window guards



  • Leave young children unsupervised
  • Depend on insect screens to keep children from falling out of windows
  • Paint, nail or seal windows shut
  • Forget about window and door safety when making repairs to your home


Please read the full safety brochure here.

For more information on safety please visit our website.

ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Awards

A flurry of social media amped up the evening of March 26 as minute by minute details of the ENERGY STAR® awards in Washington D.C. played out real-time via Twitter throughout the evening. Andersen’s own Jim Weglewski, director of corporate quality and sustainability, was quoted on the popular social media site.

Weglewski and other Andersen executives were in attendance to witness the company’s recognition as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence winner for the second year in a row. There was no shortage of excitement and ENERGY throughout the event.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a statement recognizing the efforts of the 2013 ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year. “This year’s ENERGY STAR award winners have gone above and beyond to save energy and cut greenhouse gases,” said EPA acting administrator, Bob Perciasepe.

During his remarks at the event, Perciasepe stated that in 2012 alone Americans, along with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved $24 billion on energy bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 41 million vehicles. Andersen Corporation is proud to be recognized by ENERGY STAR with this distinguished award for continued leadership in helping to protect the environment through superior energy efficiency and performance.

“ENERGY STAR” is a registered trademark of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Andersen wins ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award…again!

This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Andersen Corporation with a 2013 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. This marks the second consecutive year Andersen has received the Sustained Excellence Award.

Andersen is recognized for outstanding contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by educating consumers on ENERGY STAR through product displays, social media, training materials and more. The award honors our ongoing commitment to energy-efficient product performance and reduced environmental impact through state-of-the-art manufacturing processes.

“Andersen’s commitment to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship is a part of our heritage. It’s in our nature, our company culture and every product we create,” said Sal Abbate, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “It’s an honor we all share to be acknowledged for our environmental responsibility by ENERGY STAR with the Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award.”

 Andersen has been part of the ENERGY STAR program since its inception in 1998 and was the first window manufacturer awarded the ENERGY STAR National Window Partner of the Year in 1999.

The Future of Buildings

The U.S. Green Building Council MN Chapter held its quarterly sustainability meeting this past month. Presenter Patrick Thibaudeau, vice president of HGA Architects and Engineers, offered a sneak preview into the potential future landscape around sustainability. Weaving innovation, time and the purpose of buildings into the mix quickly conjured images of how we might live and work differently than today.  

Thibaudeau reminded us that “change will never again be as slow as it is today.” What does this mean for emerging green building technologies and their relationships with people? Some buildings are already producing rather than consuming energy. These buildings incorporate biomimicry, utilize renewable energy over fossil-derived fuels, harvest rain water, produce zero waste and interact with, rather than against, their surroundings. Additionally, the use of natural lighting and ventilation positively affects occupants. It seems these “emerging green building technologies” aren’t so new at all – but enhance what is natural and basic.

How will people and buildings interact in the coming decades? How will buildings affect our productivity and our health, happiness and overall well-being? After taking a short ride into the future it seems we could soon inhabit buildings that look, act and feel completely different than those around us today…exciting!

What future-state building technologies are you most interested in pursuing?