Pillars of Sustainability
The Mill at Vicksburg project began with the goal of continuing The Mill’s legacy as an economic and cultural engine that drives a thriving Vicksburg. Chris Moore, owner and creative force behind the project, wanted to ensure that this project would not only help his hometown community thrive but would do so for generations to come. In order for that to happen, Chris knew sustainability needed to be at the forefront of every endeavor. This led to the definition of The Mill’s Pillars of Sustainability. Our ongoing mission is to have a people- and planet-first approach to everything we do to be sustainable for hundreds of years and generations to come.
THE PILLARS OF SUSTAINABILITY
Pillar 1: Save the Mill
It may have been simpler to demolish the old Lee Paper Mill and build from the ground up, but in doing that we would have disposed millions of pounds of rubble into the landfill. That was not an option of us. What is also so fascinating about this piece of property is its historic and cultural significance to the Village of Vicksburg. There are generations of residents whose families have ties to the paper mill—and saving this historic structure ensures we continue to support its legacy within the community. The Mill has been here for 100 years and through this work, we are ensuring that it will be here for at least 100 more.
“The first, most critical [pillar]: Save the mill. That has always been a part of Chris’ dream for this project and rarely do we go through a meeting without Chris saying ‘remember this has to be here for 200 years.’”
- Peter Skornia, President of Bazzani Building Company
Pillar 2: Capture the Earth’s Power
The Mill has plans to be as energy-efficient as possible, and this will be especially evident in the lodging area. A boutique hotel is being designed to utilize geothermal heating and cooling, which will reduce energy use and provide an all-electric system that eliminates the need to rely on fossil fuels.
Pillar 3: Capture the Sun’s Power
Renewable energy has a tiny fraction of the carbon footprint than fossil fuels do. The Mill is evaluating options for solar power including generating power on-site for direct use at the Mill, generating power offsite to put renewable energy in the Grid, or using the scale of the overall Mill to influence the decisions of utility companies to make more renewable energy available in the grid at or below the cost of normal grid power.
Pillar 4: Conserve our Water
With the beautiful waters of Lake Michigan being so close to Vicksburg, as well as nearby creeks, lakes and The Mill’s own Portage Creek, it is important for us as a community to keep our water safe and clean. We intend to be very mindful of conserving this precious resource with our selection of fixtures, production equipment, native landscaping including planting 16 acres of pollinator habitat, building operations, cleanup and stormwater management to capture and re-use water while eliminating offsite discharge.
Pillar 5: Reduce Construction Waste
As we’ve already learned, this is a massive project that involves years of construction to restore. Through our renovations so far, we’ve preserved The Mill by salvaging bricks, repurposing concrete on the property and refreshing as much of the interior as possible to maintain structural significance. This includes removing lead and asbestos. Additionally, rather than scrap unneeded materials or exert energy-intensive processes to recycle them, our team continues to find creative ways to salvage or reuse them.
Some examples include:
- Sourced 80,000 bricks from the Chicagoland area and saved them from landfill
- Saved 2 buildings for reuse vs going into a landfill
- Meticulous lead abatement to a higher standard than what was required
- Reusing 10,000 tons of concrete from demolition for parking lot base
Pillar 6: Become Carbon Neutral
Greenhouse gas emissions are a fundamental cause of warming air temperatures and climate change. Our goal is to measure and reduce our carbon footprint in any way we can at The Mill. Doing so will have a tremendous impact on the betterment of our environment.
LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE
As we continue to move forward with our people- and planet-first approach, we are excited to share our sustainability efforts and progress at The Mill. Not only will we create a thriving, eco-friendly space, but we will also help drive business and tourism to the village we know and love. We share this with you in celebration of Earth Day and encourage you to focus on sustainability in your everyday life, too!
Follow along on our Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on all progress at The Mill, and make sure to check back on the blog for more updates!