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Hudson business volunteers are builders for a day

The Eco Village being constructed in River Falls by St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity will have 18 homes that produce nearly as much energy as they use when the first phase of the project is completed. The super-insulated buildings will have windows placed to maximize solar gain, and solar photovoltaic and solar hot-water arrays on the roofs. Photo by Randy Hanson1 / 3
Sue Tierney, on the ladder, and Stacey Rivard of Knoke's Chocolates, install air vents in a home. The Eco Village homes will have 27 inches of insulation above the ceilings. Photo by Randy Hanson2 / 3
The volunteers from Hudson who spent last Thursday working on Habitat for Humanity homes in River Falls included, front from left, Cheryl Olson, Dana Okerlund, Natasha McCalmont, Kristen Johnson, Sarah Bruch, Angela Bruch; back, J.C. Love, Kathy Newman, Sandee Madigan, Meme Fehr and Art Doyle. Most of the volunteers were from downtown Hudson businesses. Submitted photo3 / 3

Individuals and volunteers from a dozen downtown Hudson businesses spent last Thursday helping build the Habitat for Humanity Eco Village in River Falls.

Sarah Bruch of The Purple Tree organized the "Downtown Build Day."

"The main thing about this project is that as a business community we wanted to give back to River Falls residents," Bruch said. "As businesses, we all have a solid customer base from River Falls and feel strongly that we like to show our appreciation for their on-going support of our business community."

The volunteers hung Sheetrock, installed air vents and laid radon barriers in basements, among other things.

"It's hands across the interstate," Art Doyle of Art Doyle's Spokes & Pedals quipped as he and a group of fellow volunteers worked in a basement putting in the plastic radon barrier.

"We've all learned these great life skills. We were hanging drywall earlier. It's pretty cool," added Angela Bruch, Sarah's sister.

Work on the Eco Village began last July.

The plan for the first phase is to build 18 houses varying in size from two-bedroom to four-bedroom, in a mix of twin- and single-family homes.

Eco Village's sustainable features make it unprecedented. Organizers expect the project to achieve certification in green home building and for its homes to achieve nearly net-zero energy usage.

Some of the homes' earth-friendly features include, or will include, super insulation, window placement to maximize solar gain, large solar photovoltaic and solar hot-water arrays on the roofs, a "solar farm" of ground-mounted panels, rain barrel and cisterns to collect rainwater from roofs and community gardens.

Much more information on the project is available online at

The Hudson businesses represented by volunteers at the build day were Hudson Flower Shop, Elan/Dilly Dally, Knoke's Chocolates, Art Doyle's Spokes & Pedals, Et Cetera, The Purple Tree, Barker's Bar & Grill, Pier 500, Chapter2Books, Sandeen Insurance Agency, Skinner Law Associates and A'la Mode Salonspa.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066