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Minnesota State makes dramatic gains in energy efficiency

Through strategic efficiency efforts, including energy efficiency improvements to facilities and improvements in space utilization, the colleges and universities of Minnesota State were able to achieve an average reduction of Energy Use Intensity of more than 19% per square foot between 2009 to 2020, according to a press release issued Wednesday by Minnesota West Community & Technical College.

Minnesota State operates 28.5 million square feet -– the equivalent of 593 football fields –- of classrooms, labs, offices, residence halls, athletic facilities and more.

The reduction was achieved as a result of strategic efficiency efforts that have been ongoing since 2009. The strategies include the use of efficiency-related facilities planning guidelines, design and construction standards shaped by the Minnesota SB 2030 Energy Standard and B3 Guidelines, and energy conservation and procurement procedures that strive to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and provide long-term stewardship of campus and community resources.

One example of a project that applied these strategies includes the Powerline Technician Training Facility at Minnesota West, which achieved significant overall operational savings through a renovation of the existing facility. Minnesota West was recently recognized with the Best of B3 award for year-over-year energy savings at its Jackson campus, realizing a 7% overall energy reduction.

More than 80% of Minnesota State campuses saw an overall reduction in Energy Use Intensity per square foot from 2009 to 2020. Minnesota State is now working towards goals set by Executive Order for Minnesota’s cabinet level government agencies to reduce overall Energy Use Intensity 30% by 2027 based on an adjusted 2017 baseline.

Gordon Heitkamp, Director of College Facilities at Minnesota West, stated, “Minnesota West has made substantial investments in all areas of energy efficiency including geo-thermal heating and cooling systems on two of our campuses, LED lighting retrofits both indoors and outdoors on all campuses, along with ongoing Building Automation Systems maintenance and upgrades to allow us the ability to schedule all components of our systems to be scheduled on and off as classes and events allow for maximum efficiency for HVAC and lighting systems.”

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