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Our three sustainability goals are related to waste, energy and water. With all three goals, we have developed oversight, design and implementation teams consisting of staff from all levels and departments in the organization.
In 2013 we increased our annual recycling rate to 49 percent, which adds up to a total of 467 tons recycled. Our initiative in 2014 is to further increase our recycling rate by removing organics from our waste stream. Our goal is to recycle 75 percent of all our waste by the year 2015. We are doing this by completely rethinking the way waste is handled at the Minneapolis Convention Center. In 2014, new recycling bins in the public areas will educate visitors about recycling and the addition of organics collection. In the back-of-house, we are currently renovating waste centers to recover all resources in the most efficient manner.
To see the 2012 and 2013 waste initiative results, view the PDF below:
We have reduced our annual energy usage by 32% over the last 3 years and our current energy goal is an additional 5% by 2015. We are accomplishing this goal through retro-commissioning, improved scheduling of staff (we eliminated our overnight shift) and energy systems, as well as a series of LED lighting upgrades. We converted all of our exhibit halls to LED and are currently working in the lobbies and meeting rooms to upgrade as well. This project is expected to reduce the energy needed for lighting all areas by over 72%. The installation of high speed roll-up doors in our exhibition halls is reducing heating and cooling costs as well as providing better access control for our clients. These projects were substantially supported by local utility rebates as well as federal stimulus grants. The combination of retro-commissioning, LED lighting and moving all staff to day hours created an energy reduction from 181,368,655 kBTUs in 2009 to 123.699,940 kBTUs in 2012.
Our goal is to reduce our water usage 50% by 2015. We are reducing our usage in three major areas: restrooms, kitchens and landscaping irrigation. All 32 restroom renovations include fixtures that use at least 50% less water than the original fixtures. In the kitchen, we replaced an aging dishwasher and spray nozzles which use 80% less water. On the outside of the building we are installing new irrigation heads and adjusting operating hours to better fit the seasons and rain events that will save over 3 Million gallons of water per year. Our goal for 2014 is to reduce water usage by an additional 10% on our way to the 2015 goal of a 50% reduction.
The solar array on the rooftop is connected directly to the facility's internal electrical system, producing 750,000 kWh of renewable electricity per year - the equivalent of powering 85 homes. It offsets 539 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The 600 kW system is made up of 2,613 panels installed at an angle on the flat portions of the roof and are not visible from the street level. This second largest solar electricity array in the Upper Midwest has been in use since November 2010.
The solar panels give the convention center yet another dimension to the many efforts already serving clients who look more and more for a facility operating sustainably. With the solar array providing about 5 percent of its power, the Minneapolis Convention Center now receives 15 percent of its electrical energy from renewable sources.
Read about the Minneapolis Convention Center Solar Project
Watch a video now about the solar installation!
Our partner, Kelber Catering, provides a variety of sustainable efforts from using environmentally-friendly concession products to the Food for Hogs program. In 2013, almost 120 tons of food refuse was donated to the Food for Hogs program.
- The heating and cooling systems are monitored 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week to ensure event spaces are only conditioned when in use
- The lighting system is computer controlled and event space lighting is adjusted to various levels based on occupancy
- Most escalators are powered on only during event hours
- All air handling equipment operates with high efficiency motors and variable speed drives
- Exterior doors are monitored and staffed during event load-in and load-out to conserve conditioned air
- Restroom fixtures are equipped with low-flow and automatic shut-off devices to conserve water and sewer resources
- Restrooms feature automatic-flush commodes and urinals
- The terrazzo floor throughout the lobby areas has been refinished to allow maintenance free from waxes, sealers and stripping chemicals
- 95 percent of cleaning products are Green Seal certified
- Restroom cleaning and sanitizing performed by a single machine utilizing Green Seal-certified agents to substantially reduce chemical use
- Floor care equipment utilizes FaST (foam scrubbing technology) to reduce chemical application by using 87 percent less chemicals than traditional floor scrubbers
- Terrazzo floor care machines by Tennant utilize ECH2O ionization technology to clean hard surfaces without chemicals
- These machines also use 70 percent less water than traditional floor care equipment - we estimate the riding scrubber used on our concourse floors uses 15,330 gallons less water annually than a non-FaST scrubber