Energy-conservation programs see increased participation in 2016

Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy saw increased participation in their conservation programs last year in Minneapolis, according to a report released last month.

About 30,000 participants in CenterPoint’s conservation program combined to save over $2.8 million in natural gas costs, according to the report. About 7,600 participants in Xcel’s program saved more than 78 million kilowatt hours of electricity and $7.8 million in electricity costs.

The report was the second annual by the Clean Energy Partnership, a collaboration between the city and the two utility companies. The aim is to held Minneapolis reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals, which include a 30-percent reduction in emissions by 2025 based on using 2006 numbers as a baseline.

The report noted several highlights of the past year, including Minneapolis’ Building Energy Challenge. The challenge is an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in large commercial buildings by 15 percent by 2020, using 2014 as a baseline. Fifteen buildings signed up for the challenge in 2016, while the city’s Green Business Cost Share program incentivized 12 buildings to invest in energy-efficient projects

Residential electric use increased by 2.6 percent in 2016, according to the report, but natural gas use dropped 7.9 percent from 2015 levels. Both Excel and CenterPoint saw increased energy savings and rebate spending for multi-family participants in their conservation programs.

The report also noted a program that assisted 122 low-income properties with weatherization upgrades and another that provided rebates for insulation and air sealing in 277 homes.

The Clean Energy Partnership received several awards for its work, including awards from the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Visit to learn more.