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Red Tail Ridge gets green certification

PENN YAN—Red Tail Ridge Winery’s production facility in Penn Yan is the first entity in the state to earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Mike Schelle, co-owner of Red Tail Ridge with his wife Nancy Irelan, said the winery received the second highest level of certification (gold) in late February.  There are four award levels.  He explained that the certification is a way for a third-party organization to evaluate a business’s claim of being environmentally friendly.
The U.S. Green Building Council is based out of Washington D.C.  Membership is made up of 18,000 companies, organizations, and government agencies.
“It’s not a fast, overnight process,” he added.
The certification process took three years for Red Tail Ridge.  Schelle explained the procedure started with the facility’s design in the summer of 2008.  The building was then finished in the fall of 2009, but the winery only just obtained certification last month.  Schelle said the certification lasts for as long as Red Tail Ridge’s production facility exists as it was designed.
“We try to maintain the vineyards in the most sustainable process as we can,” said Schelle.
He said the facility is designed to decrease energy consumption.  The building utilizes day lighting; windows make up most of the facility’s front side.  Schelle explained the facility uses very little power during the day on lighting because of it.
There is more insulation in the walls and ceiling than normal building code requires.  The building has a steel frame, which Schelle said is 50 percent recycled.  He also said special paneling is used on the exterior to reflect heat in the summer.  He added geothermal energy is used for heating and cooling.  Even the wine wastewater is reused back in the vineyards.
According to the Green Building Council, LEED-certified buildings are designed to:
• Lower operating costs and increase asset value.
• Reduce waste sent to landfills.
• Conserve water and energy.
• Be healthier and safer for occupants.
• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
• Qualify for tax rebates and other incentives.



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