Minnesota Muscle: St. Paul Leaders Ask Building Owners to Cut Back Energy Use

(Image Credit: The Poseidon Foundation)

by | May 31, 2018

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St. Paul city leaders are asking building owners to reduce the energy use of their buildings in an effort to reduce climate change pollution across the city.

In an initiative dubbed “Race to Reduce,” city managers will work with property owners to track energy use and make buildings more efficient. One of the stated goals of the program is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that come from commercial and multifamily residential buildings to 31% (from the current 35%).

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, in a statement to the St. Paul Star Tribune, said he hoped the program would eventually “make the city of St. Paul the first place building owners go when they want to lower their utility bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive economic growth.”

The article notes that city officials are working on a “benchmarking ordinance” of their own, according to Molly Janis Smith, the city’s building energy adviser. “Energize St. Paul” and “Race to Reduce” are efforts to encourage building owners to curb energy use before it’s a requirement, she said.

St. Paul has long been a proponent of energy efficiency. In April 2017, St. Paul officials negotiated an agreement with GreenMark Solar to power one-quarter of the state capital’s municipal buildings with electricity derived from community solar gardens.

The agreement, adopted April 19 by the St. Paul City Council, allows the city to buy up to 8-MW of electricity from the Minneapolis-based solar company, or about one-quarter of the electrical energy that St. Paul needs each year to power its government offices, libraries, recreational centers, and fire stations. As a result, energy bills are projected to drop $165,000 in 2018 for the city of 300,000.

And back in 2015, A 3 MW solar photovoltaic installation was completed on the top deck of a parking facility at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, according to SolarServer. The same project included addition of LED lighting and electric vehicle charging stations.

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