City recognizes high performing commercial buildings

Six awards given for reducing climate change pollution

The City of Minneapolis has awarded large commercial buildings for making great strides in energy efficiency.

Building Energy Performance awards

·         Business category: Shriners Hospital for Children – Twin Cities. To keep costs in check for its patients, the hospital recently converted common area and parking garage lighting to LEDs, resulting in a 19 percent drop in energy use.

·         Community category: Lake Harriet Community School Lower Campus. Early maintenance and recalibrating machinery to run only when the building spaces are occupied led to a steep decline in energy use.

·         Hospitality category: Days Hotel. Days Hotel staff from housekeeping to building maintenance looks out for wasted energy when spaces are unoccupied, resulting in an impressively low energy use intensity of 57 kbtu per square foot.

Challenge leaders

·         Greatest reduction in energy use intensity: Calhoun Square. This urban shopping center managed by The Ackerberg Group has seen a significant reduction in energy use intensity due in large part to lighting retrofits in the parking garage and common areas. Management has seen cost savings on all of the electrical systems, and the public elevator is cooler due to the LED lighting.

·         Greatest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions: Royalston Maintenance Facility. As a City-owned building, Royalston benefits from policies for City buildings that guide building heating, cooling and lighting system operation to turn on when buildings are occupied but turn off or run at lower levels when buildings are unoccupied. The management team at Royalston uses sound operational practices that led to a drop in energy use intensity along with a large reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Individual category

Most valuable building operator: Todd Snyder. A senior engineer at Marquette Plaza with Base Management, Snyder was heavily involved in the building achieving LEED platinum status in 2011 and recertification in 2016. He actively monitors its daily energy use to maintain its Energy Star score of 95.

The Building Energy Challenge

The City recognizes the progress of buildings participating in the Minneapolis Building Energy Challenge, which seeks to get tenants, managers and owners of large commercial buildings to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and renewable energy actions by 15 percent (from the 2014 level) by 2020. All buildings that are subject to the benchmarking ordinance may participate in the challenge and are eligible for milestone awards.

Find out more about the Building Energy Challenge here.

The City of Minneapolis recognizes climate change as a serious problem to which human activities contribute heavily. The commercial-industrial sector contributed almost half of the total citywide emissions in 2014 with commercial building energy use as the main source of the sector's greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to reducing pollution, energy efficient buildings can attract more tenants and increase real estate values. Making buildings more energy efficient can drive jobs in renovation and engineering.

The City adopted its Commercial Building Benchmarking and Transparency ordinance in 2013. This ordinance requires large buildings to track and disclose their energy consumption. By now, more than 94 percent of commercial buildings larger than 50,000 square feet have submitted their energy use to the City.

Published Nov 10, 2016