New eco-focused display showcases sustainability successes
Minneapolis is one of America’s most eco-focused cities, and now visitors to the Minneapolis Convention Center can learn about some projects that make the city a sustainability standout. A new interactive eco-focused display at the convention center informs convention-goers about ongoing initiatives that are improving Minneapolis’ environment, economy and overall quality of life. The display also helps convey the city’s environmental commitment to meeting planners who are interested in seeking venues that incorporate sustainable practices into operations.
The two-sided display features a large-scale city street design of Minneapolis layered with translucent acrylic domes to call out buildings or initiatives that represent Minneapolis’ eco-focus. Visitors can use interactive touch screens to read about the city’s sustainability successes, ranging from energy innovation to alternative transportation to riverfront restoration.
The Minneapolis Convention Center itself is one of the largest projects on the city’s eco-friendly agenda. Work is under way to significantly reduce the convention center’s water and energy use, and increase the amount of waste it recycles. Jeff Johnson, executive director of the Minneapolis Convention Center noted that, “The planned improvements in use of energy, water and reduction of waste at the Minneapolis Convention Center will position the city to attract even more national and international convention business, bringing tremendous economic impact to Minneapolis and the region, while also lowering our impact in the local environment.”
By 2015, the convention center will recycle 75 percent of the 1.8 million pounds of waste annually created there. New bathroom fixtures and other retrofits will help cut water consumption by half. By upgrading thousands of light fixtures to more efficient models and shutting off unnecessary lights at night and when not in use, the convention center will reduce energy use by 10 percent. That’s on top of the 24 percent reduction achieved since 2008, saving taxpayers $1 million each year.
The eco-focused display showcases 15 projects and partnerships that make Minneapolis one of America’s most sustainable cities. Those include:
- The downtown energy district, which provides energy-efficient and environmentally sound heating and/or cooling services to more than 100 buildings. Known as the NRG Energy Center Minneapolis and operated by NRG Thermal LLC, the district produces and distributes steam and hot water for heating, and chilled water for air conditioning. It’s among America’s 10 largest such districts.
- Nice Ride Minnesota, which offers 1,200 bikes for rent at 116 solar-powered kiosks in public places, making it the second-largest bike-share system in the country.
- Homegrown Minneapolis, a citywide initiative to help our community grow, process, distribute, eat and compost more healthy, sustainable, locally grown foods. One program featured on the display is Emerge Youth Community Garden, a city-funded summer program that uses a community garden to teach kids about local food production and sustainability.
- The Downtown Improvement District, which provides services – such as pedestrian “ambassadors” and graffiti removal – to make a 120-block area of downtown cleaner, safer and greener. Since 2009, the DID’s mission has been to support, preserve, create and enhance a thriving downtown community that attracts and retains businesses and people.
Published Feb. 29, 2012