Green Living Environment in Whitefish Montana

townbigmountainHats off to Whitefish Montana!

A green town that has an amazing sustainable environment. It has made a large contribution towards drastically reducing their carbon footprint in the world.

With a small population of 6357 (2010 census) it has over 50 businesses that are listed as Montana Business Leaders for Clean Energy. From utilizing wind energy to green homes, Whitefish is definitely in the limelight for sustainability.

Whitefish’s environment is a beautiful northern Montana town that is known as the island of culture. It is surrounded by pristine lakes, bold mountains, ancient forests and an abundance of wildlife. It is one of the friendliest towns you’ll ever experience. Once visited, it is a paradise you will never forget.

Now Montana is abundant in renewable energy resource potential, but the environmental resources remain mostly untapped. It is ranked 5th in the US for potential wind energy production. However, it only ranks 17th for current wind energy production. This is largely due to current obstacles such as media views, political stature and current policies.

In Whitefish, the community and the Montana Business Leaders for Clean Energy are bringing their efforts together to build a healthier sustainable environment. There are numerous businesses and individuals who are contributing to renewing local resources and utilizing environmental green options.

Check out some of the Books about the area!


Green Environment Business Support: Climate Solutions

The Montana Business Leaders for Clean Energy is a program provided by Climate Solutions that engages key business leaders to take action by involvement in federal and state meetings, legislator, attending important press events and writing op-eds that express sustainable environment viewpoints. Climate Solutions also provides business with a variety services:

• Environment friendly resolutions such as attracting Rural Energy for America Program grants from the USDA
• Developing communication and partnerships between labor and businesses to safeguard laws
• Building bridges between the community and legislature for action on sustainable clean energy and climate
• Helping farmers and rural businesses with assessing their opportunities to build renewable energy and help preserve financial support for wind power, sustainability and other renewable sources

Green Builders:

Bridgewater Innovative Builders

4 Pine Ave
Whitefish, MT 59937
(406) 260-1204

The Bridgewater Innovative Builders embrace detailed energy audits, sustainable environment remodeling services and home energy assessments. In 2010 they won the National Energy Value Housing Award for incorporating and promoting energy efficiency practices. In 2009 they were awarded the Greenest House by the Parade of Homes sponsored by the Flathead building Association.
Mark Van Everen, the owner of Bridgewater Innovative Builders has a 2,650 square foot home he recently completed in 2009 that will use 60% less energy than the average house. The home is estimated to spend no more than $350 on heating and cooling costs the whole year. The energy efficiency is accomplished through the use of correct air sealing and insulation, a geothermal heat pump, R-40 SIPS panels in the ceiling, high efficiency windows and various other energy efficient techniques.
Bridgewater is certified and registered with the Flathead Building Association, NAHB National Green Building Program, National Association of Home Builders, Energy Star, U.S. Department of Energy Building America and FBA Green.

Mindful Designs

P.O. Box 4562
Whitefish, Montana 59937
(406) 863-9177
fax: (406) 863-2355

Mindful Designs philosophy is to build and live within a healthy, sustainable, responsible and comfortable home, community and environment. Equally, they are committed to building a better sustainable future and are steadfast in maintaining a long-term commitment with their clientele. Their services include energy and resource efficiency, site and community impact, indoor environment quality and water conservation.

One of the most innovative and sustainable environmental projects is their production and use of biodiesel. Mindful Designs is currently collecting recycled grease from local restaurants and making biodiesel. The waste vegie oil (WVO) is collected and then taken to their facility and pumped into a WVO tank.

The first filtration is done by using recycled blue jeans and then the oil pressed through a 10 micron filter into the straight veggie oil (SVO) tank. Once the filtration is complete, the oil is used to make biodiesel. Today the company is using their recycled biodiesel in their work trucks and plan on using it in their field equipment.
All Mindful Designs builders are certified with the National Association of Home Building’s green building program and Jason Pohlman, a founder and partner is on the of the Flathead Building Association.

Bruce Boody Landscape Architect, Inc.

301 E. 2nd St., Ste. 1B
Whitefish, MT 59937
(406) 862-4755
Fax (406) 862-9755

Bruce Boody Landscape Architect, Inc. is a pillar in the community. Established in 1981, the company has planned and designed award winning services for parks and recreation, innovative  resort projects and private residences. The pioneering design firm includes sustainable projects such as urban renewal and street design, ecological site development, environment assessments and major plans for parks and recreational regions.

One of the biggest and most recognized projects is the three-block span in downtown Whitefish. It was once a stock pile for Burlington Northern Railroad. The renovation includes the Cultural Arts Center and the Public Library with focus on the historic Railroad Depot.

Recognition includes the Landscape Award by Glacier Village Design Review Committee (2003), Citizen of the Year by Citizens for a Better Flathead (2001), Merit Award for Planning and Urban Design by A.S.L.A. Idaho/Montana Chapter (1999), Flathead Valley Arts Council Design Award (1993) and Flathead Valley Arts Council Design Award (1991).

Other Green Businesses

Algae Aqua-Culture Technologies

PO Box 1171
Whitefish, MT 59937

Algae Aqua-Culture Technology generates an off-grid organic soil amendment that is free of fossil-fuel and regenerates the soil by utilizing residual wood, agricultural products and nitrogen-fixing algae. Established in 2008, the company has produced an sustainable environment friendly product that greatly reduces economic costs of energy and fertilizer. The organic products are produced in a tropical biodome called the Green Power House (GPH). Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, the dome recycles and reconditions bio-waste into valuable organic, agricultural and industrial products such as soil regenerating garden and potting soil, soil regenerating concentrate and liquid soil fertility conditioners.

The company also utilizes a greenhouse-based algae growth method and an anaerobic bio-digester to convert a combination of algae and wood waste into high-value methane to produce power.

Algae Aqua-Culture Technology has been recognized by several awards:

• Chosen as one of five small to medium U.S. technology businesses to be delegates to the November, 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Event, attendance included 21 heads of state, President Obama, and over 17,000 attendees (U.S. Business Delegate to APEC Conference, November, 2011)
• Awarded a $350,000 grant by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (September, 2010).

Some amazing Books on Algae AquaCulture:


Mother’s Power Inc.

P.O. Box 580
Whitefish, MT 59937

Jeff Arcel of Mother’s Power Inc. has made quite the environmental impact in the Flathead valley. He is best known for installing wind turbines and photovoltaic solar panels. The business was launched in 2003 and has since completed over 100 proposals. Jeff Arcel has a strong passion for environment friendly energy and sustainability.  He created Mother’s Power to assist businesses in sustainable energy solutions. The company was also established so his teenage son could have a business in the future.

A most recent project embraced the use of solar power and wind energy at Midway Mini Mart in Kalispell MT. The development included the installation of 40 solar panels on the roof and a wind turbine that is 59 feet high. The panels can generate up to 9.6 kilowatts of power which also charges the batteries for the gasoline pumps even for prolonged periods of time if the power goes off. Jeff Arcel services include design, installation and ongoing maintenance. Mr. Arcel also helped the store owners Dan Scheffer and Melody Watts receive various grants that will pay approximately 55% of the $155,000 investment.

Past Projects and Proposals

In June 2009, Mother’s Power worked with the city of Whitefish to refurbish a hydro-power plant that had been abandoned for nearly two decades. Jeff Arcel was commissioned by the city to research the plant and write a report. The plant is located above the Whitefish reservoir and was built in 1984. Around 1989 or 1990 a lightning storm caused severe damage to the plant rendering it to economically expensive to repair.
A hydro-power plant is a renewable and sustainable power source that is clean and does not pollute the air like coal or natural gas. If a new hydro-power plant were built today, states Arcel, it would be a $2.5 million project. Arcel further states that repairing the existing system could cost between $16,000 and $165,000.

However, the plant has a good operational infrastructure but needs ample renovation. With a $200,000 stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy rewarded to the city for the hydro-power project, negotiations with Flathead Electric Cooperative for a power-purchase were started. The proposal was approved and outlined power delivery terms for a 20-year period. Additionally, Flathead Electric agreed to pay the city $400,000 in advance for energy to be generated and delivered during the first phase of the agreement.


Naturally Clean

6348 US Highway 93 South
Whitefish, MT 59937
(406) 862-8322

Naturally Clean is an organic dry cleaning service that opened its doors in 2005. They offer dry cleaning that is free of the chemical perchlorethylene (perc). The traditional dry cleaning business generally uses perc which has been listed by the EPA as a potential carcinogen and a hazardous pollutant. The company utilizes an advanced hydrocarbon solution that is environmentat friendly, odorless, non-allergenic and gentle. They also offer free pick-up and delivery if a customer lives along their delivery route. Naturally Clean also has another location in Kalispell, 12 miles away.
Flathead Valley Green Machines

PO Box 2251
Kalispell, MT 59903

Flathead Valley Green Machines is a local company that offers a once a week curbside recycling service that is affordable. They provide a bin for recyclable items such as paper, plastic #1 and #2, tin, copper, glass, plastic bags and old cell phones. They are committed to educating the community on the importance of recycling and to preserving the environment of the Flathead valley. They offer serve to residential homes and business in the Whitefish, Kalispell and Bigfork areas.

The Green Business Program

Glacier Program Manager
National Parks Conservation Association
PO Box 4485
Whitefish, MT 59937
(406) 862–‐6722

Together the National Parks Conservation Association and the Centennial Program formed the Green Business Program. The program is designed to decrease unnecessary waste, to conserve water, reduce energy use, preserve the environment and promote a healthy local economy by supporting local businesses. The Green Business Program assists local businesses by lessening environmental impact which results in a more efficient and sustainable company.

Sustainable Food

3rd Street Market

Third Street Market

244 Spokane Avenue
Whitefish, MT 59937

Third Street Market is a fabulous health food store that has been in business for over 25 years. They provide local organic produce, dairy and GMO free products as well as Montana made goods. Their main objective is to optimize a customer’s health one day at a time by offering top-quality nutrition and organic foods. In fact, this market is one of the friendliest establishments in Whitefish. They go above and beyond customer service while making one feel at home and welcome. Third Street Market is a tried and true green business that support a green environment.

Garden Wall Inn

504 Spokane Ave.
Whitefish MT 59937

Recognized for excellence and local community support, the Garden Wall Inn has been catering to visitors since 1987. The inn was built in the 1920’s and has been immaculately restored. It offers five elegant guestrooms that have gorgeous antiques, comfortable beds and top-of-the-line linens. Even the bathroom tubs have claw feet.
The owners Rhonda Fitzgerald and Chris Schustrom provide a scrumptious three-course gourmet breakfast made with local produce and sustainable products. They have been buying locally for over two decades. They are dedicated to sustainable living by supporting local farmers, recycling, supporting environment resource conservation, preserving open space and wildlife.


Montana Coffee Traders Inc.

110 Central Ave
Whitefish, MT 59937

5810 Hwy 93 South
Whitefish, MT 59937
FAX 1-406-862-7680


In 1981 Montana Coffee Traders began roasting coffee in an old farmhouse on the outskirts of Whitefish. By 2001 they opened their second location that included an espresso bar, food such as hot soups and grilled paninis and fresh baked goods. Today the walls are lined with the work of local artists and shelves that contain Montana made products. The Whitefish location is now a popular gathering place for locals and tourists.

The company contributes to a green environment by offering a wide array of organic and fair trade coffee. Montana Coffee Traders believes in the value of directly connecting farmers, the coffee plant and coffee customers. The ambiance of the establishment could not be friendlier. It is obvious that they value all customers and are committed to being part of your life for they welcome you with all sincerity and earnest. Other new locations now include Kalispell and Columbia Falls.

List of Organic: Guatemala Maya Kapeel, Bali Kintamani, Bolivian Golondrina and several signature blends like Grizzly, Montana and Glacier Centennial.

• Over 20 years of donations from the sales of their Monteverde coffee to fund environment conservation, social programs and education in and near the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
• Grizzly Blend: Donates $1 from each pound sold directly to Vital Ground for the purchase of land critical to grizzly bear habitat.

Walking Bear Ranch

4674 US Highway 93
West Whitefish, MT 59937

A small 15 acre farm established in 2001, Walking Bear Ranch grows not only organic produce but minimizes waste as much as possible and maximizes the earth’s energy and environment. They started with bare land and in 11 years they have established 50 raised beds, 2 greenhouses, 7 ‘hoop’ houses and a potting shed plus 40 milk goats, 3 milk cows, 250 hens, 15 wool sheep, 4 llamas and 2 hogs for natural fertilizer. All seed is open pollinated, GMO-free and grown in organic soil.
• World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) and also offer a “work exchange” program
• Local Harvest, a company that outsources information nationwide for sustainably grown food
• Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) a non-profit organization that offers certification intended for small-scale, direct-market farmers and beekeepers using natural methods
• Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) for shareholders for that support continued production of healthy, organic food and the healthy environment preservation of the planet

Here are some great resources on dude Ranches in Montana:


Terrapin Farm

6505 Farm to Market Road

Located 7 miles west of Whitefish, Terrapin Farm is a certified organic farm that introduced the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in 1995. It was created for community involvement in sustainable organic farming from seed to harvesting. The farm grows over 500 varieties of vegetables and herbs which they distribute locally.

The owner, Judy Owsowitz helped establish the Montana Organic Association and served as the first Chairperson. She is currently still on the board. Miss Owsowitz is also active with the policy committee of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.

Recognition: Sunset Magazine (September 2010), the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) television show “The Endless Feast” (2009) a film to bring awareness of eating local, environment friendly, sustainable and organic ingredients.

Squash Blossom Farm

346 Bear Trail
Whitefish, MT 59937

This magnificent farm grows heirloom and organic vegetables, flowers and medicinal plants. It is located on an ancient lake bed that has fertile and nutrient-rich soil. The farm utilizes composting, crop rotation, companion planting, environment sustainability and growing certain plants to encourage beneficial insects. Squash Blossom Farm is certified naturally grown.


Downtown Whitefish Farmers Market

1 Central Avenue
Whitefish MT 59937

The Whitefish Farmers Market is every Tuesday from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. from May 29 through September 25. It is a place where local farmers and craftsman showcase and sell their products. Each week there is a live band that is sponsored by a local Whitefish business. At the end of the season there is a special Harvest Market that has live music, prepared food, seasonal fresh produce and local artist wares.


Things to Do in Whitefish Montana

Whitefish Montana, well known as the island of culture, is surrounded by pristine mountains and vast countryside’s filled with an abundance of wildlife. Where western living meets modern arts, the town is sure to inspire the most advantageous and leave one in awe. Not only is it one of the friendliest towns in the US but it is a paradise you will never forget. Check out some of the great places to visit: Things to Do in Whitefish Montana

Featured Picture Credit: Coyote Gulch

Whitefish Montana Local Stories & More



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