Cities across the United States are taking the #EnergyEfficient initiative to reduce costs and make their homes healthier
While giant cities (San Francisco, NYC, Phoenix) are often among these prestigious places, Minneapolis was just recognized for reducing green house gases and energy costs. The city hosted an energy challenge that included 15 individual buildings across the area. To participate, buildings had to comply with the city's benchmarking ordinance and take up 50,000 square feet or more. The goal behind this challenge/program was for buildings to limit their greenhouse gas percentage by 15% before 2020. Six buildings, including The Ackerberg Group's Calhoun Square, The Hennepin County Government Center, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Butler Square, Basilica of St. Mary's and Stinson ramp, completed the program and were recognized.
The structures made significant changes, like installing LED lights in parking ramps and parking areas, to achieve the goal. The challenge was a big success after greenhouse gases declined 55% and the costs of electricity were reduced by half!
Calhoun Square focused on reducing energy costs by replacing heating, air conditioning units and ventilation. High tech programmable thermostats were installed as well as new HVAC units.
Finance Commerce reported a detailed look at the 6 buildings efforts:
- Stinson Ramp, at 601 Stinson Blvd. NE, received the Building Energy Performance Award in the “business” category for reducing energy use by replacing old lights with LEDs. Lighting makes up most of the ramp’s energy bill.
- The Basilica of Saint Mary earned the energy performance award in the “community” category for decreasing energy use by 21 percent since 2014. The church, 88 17th St N., added central air conditioning after removing 35 AC window units, replaced vintage 1913 boilers and continued an effort to convert lighting to LEDs. The Basilica plans to have all lighting replaced by 2021.
- The Hennepin County Government Center, at 300 S. Sixth St., was honored for “Outstanding ENERGY STAR Score Increase.” The government center lowered electricity consumption by 17 percent by replacing old appliances, computers and monitors while adding lighting controls and LEDs. The county tinted atrium glass to reduce solar gain, improved data center efficiency and renovated doors. The government center’s ENERGY STAR score jumped by six points to 84.
- Butler Square, at 100 N. Sixth St., has the lowest energy use of any building in the challenge despite being more than 100 years old. The building has a new digital-control management system and a new chiller system composed of five units rather than one. Moreover, the owner spent $1 million on infrastructure equipment. It was recognized for “Outstanding Building Performance.”
- Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, at 2701 Wells Fargo Way, is a collection of four buildings. Since 2014 it has reduced greenhouse gases by 12 percent, earning it the “Outstanding Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction” citation. The company achieved the reduction by switching the parking ramp lighting to LEDs and restructuring a central heating and cooling plant to improve service to the three office buildings. Employees with similar schedules were grouped together so that the lighting and HVAC could be better managed and unoccupied areas powered down when not in use. The company has committed to purchasing enough renewable energy by the end of this year to power all its operations.
Efficiency is the way of the future!
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