Friday, May 30, 2014

Minneapolis pursues building energy efficiency

Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio

Minnesota's largest city is about to reach a milestone in its effort to help fight climate change.
The largest buildings in Minneapolis must meet a June 1 deadline to report their energy and water use to the city. That data will eventually become public, and city officials hope it will lead those who manage and use those buildings to find ways to use less energy.

Buildings can be major energy hogs. In downtown Minneapolis alone, about 160,000 people work in hundreds of buildings daily. Heat or air conditioning keeps them comfortable as they use computers, servers and overhead lights.

An analysis by the city in 2010 found that commercial and industrial buildings account for 46 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Minneapolis. So last year, the City Council passed an ordinance allowing Minneapolis officials to collect data on buildings' energy use.

Brendon Slotterback, the city's sustainability program coordinator, said many larger commercial buildings have already been comparing themselves to national benchmarks that account for a building's size and use characteristics. But he said others are new to the process.

"There could be a lot of really no-cost, low-cost things that they can do that can reduce their energy costs," Slotterback said. "And part of our work at the city over the next couple of years is to connect more with those building owners and say, 'Look, here's some really simple things you can do to save money.' "

(Continued here.)

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