Hodges kicks off energy challenge for city’s largest buildings

DeLaSalle High School was recently honored for being one of the city's most energy efficient large buidings. Credit: Photo by Sarah McKenzie

Mayor Betsy Hodges has kicked off an energy challenge for the city’s largest commercial buildings and recently honored high performers in energy efficiency.

The challenge encourages buildings to cut greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by 2020 through energy efficiency improvements and increased reliance on renewable energy.

Buildings larger than 50,000 square feet are eligible to participate in the challenge.

Hodges and City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden (Ward 8) also honored several buildings for innovations in energy efficiency at City Hall on Oct. 14.

Winners with the highest Energy Star Score — a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — included DeLaSalle High School, 33 South Sixth and the Double Tree Hotel.

DeLaSalle on Nicollet Island has made significant improvements in energy efficiency by making CFL and LED lighting upgrades and heating and cooling systems, among other things. The school also has a student-led recycling and composting program.

The 33 South Sixth office building is a LEED Gold-certified building. Shorenstein, owner of the office tower, has made several improvements to the building’s lighting control system and HVAC, among other things. It has a goal of reducing the building’s energy use 20 percent by 2020.

The Double Tree Hotel, 1101 LaSalle Ave., has also invested in LED lighting, double pane windows and low-flush toilets, among other improvements.

Buildings honored for having the lowest energy use intensity among the city’s biggest commercial buildings include Minnehaha Academy, Broadway Place and The Residence Inn.

Earlier this year the city released an Energy Benchmarking Report estimating that the city’s largest commercial buildings could collectively save an estimated $11 million in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 62,000 metric tons by cutting energy use 10 percent.

Owners and managers of buildings larger than 50,000 square feet in the city are required to disclose their energy use to the city. 

Commercial and industrial buildings’ energy use accounted for almost half of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2013, according to a city news release. City leaders have a goal of reducing emissions 30 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050. 

For more information, go to www.minneapolisenergybenchmarking.org.