The Born Builder: Dal Loiselle, Building Sustainable Green Structures

An architect's rendering of the Sustainable Living Center at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, where Dal Loiselle served as the construction manager.

An architect’s rendering of the Sustainable Living Center at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, where Dal Loiselle served as the construction manager.

“I was born to be a green builder,” declares Dal Loiselle.

That’s not mere hyperbole: Both Loiselle’s parents suffered from chemically sensitive allergies, which he inherited, and led to his growing up in custom-constructed homes whose building materials were carefully selected to avoid provoking further family health problems.

Nor did the family considerations stop there. “When I grew up,” Loiselle says, “I married a girl who had similar allergic sensitivities and her parents were both real estate brokers so I couldn’t escape this business.”

No surprise, then, that for over 25 years, Loiselle has been working in real estate development. He’s now president of Evergreen Homes and Developments, a company based in Fairfield, Iowa, that markets and sells log, timber frame and panelized homes and buildings and develops real estate projects using these materials and methods.

Loiselle got his start in the business buying and renovating single-family homes and selling them. He then moved on to improving apartment buildings, employing the material and protocols that would avert symptoms he knew so well – runny nose, stinging eyes and headaches.

But it took years, he said, to convince investors and other real estate professionals of the promising market for new construction of natural, nontoxic homes.

Loiselle’s first green project built from scratch was a 1989 ocean block condo in Dewey Beach, Delaware. His company is currently building the Sustainable Living Center for the Maharishi University of Management. This building is expected to surpass all Leadership in Energy and Environment Design, (LEED), construction standards.

Initially, he observes, his green building career was a personal necessity, but the need has grown much larger. “I didn’t have a choice, it was a matter of survival,” says Loiselle. “I think we are approaching that point on a global level now, where it is a matter of survival for all of us, and the planet.”

His tone is not one of gloom-and-doom, but of hope: “I think that we are getting it,” he adds, “and I am optimistic that we will all survive and thrive.”

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Part of a special report entitled, Degrees of Green: Exploring the State of Iowa’s Environment.

Published by:  The Daily Iowan | 05-02-08

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