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The Minneapolis Convention Center is committed to sustainability and assisting our customers in achieving their sustainability goals for meetings and conventions as well as recognizing the importance for our facility, customers, employees, and community. The Minneapolis Convention Center strives to be the best facility possible for its clients, its staff, and its community. Part of that mission includes integrating a no-waste mentality. This mindset has become the cornerstone of our sustainability program.
We have announced three sustainability goals related to waste, energy, and water. These initiatives are in the planning and design phase. With all three goals, we have developed oversight, design, and implementation teams consisting of staff from all levels and departments in the organization. Below are the highlights of the goals and their initiatives:
In 2012 we increased our annual recycling rate to 41 percent, which adds up to a total of 386 tons recycled. Our initiative in 2013 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 2013, 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 Waste Initiatives results, view the PDF below:
Our energy goal is to further reduce our energy usage by 10% by 2015. This goal is in addition to a usage reduction of almost 21%, which occurred just before our ‘benchmark’ period. 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 lighting upgrades. For example, we are in the process of retrofitting the lighting in our Exhibition Hall A to LEDs. This project is expected to reduce the energy needed for lighting that area by over 72%. The installation of high speed roll-up doors in our exhibition halls will reduce heating and cooling costs. Both these projects were primarily funded by federal stimulus grants. As a result of retro-commissioning and eliminating our overnight staff shift we reduced our energy use from 143,913,907 kBTUs in 2009 to 136,624,506 kBTUs in 2011.
Our goal is to reduce water use by 50% by 2015. We are reducing our usage in three major areas: landscaping, restrooms, and kitchens. All renovations made will meet the criteria of using less than 50% of the pre-retrofit system. We are currently in the bid process to renovate 32 restrooms with low flow toilets, faucets and urinals. In the kitchen, we are purchasing new dishwashers and spray nozzles which use less water. Further, we are currently exploring the feasibility of a water-reuse system that would collect as much as 21 million gallons of storm-water from our 27 acre roof to be reused for landscaping, event water features, and cleaning loading dock areas. Funding for this feasibility study is being funded from a grant through the Mississippi Water Shed organization. In 2011, our water use decreased from our 2009 benchmark of 14,008,544 gallons to 13,108,700. In 2012, our goal is to reduce water usage by 12%.
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 will offset 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 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 addition of this solar array providing about 5 percent of its power, the Minneapolis Convention Center now receives 15 percent of its electrical energy from renewable sources.
The photovoltaic system is owned and operated by the developer and privately financed. The City of Minneapolis has locked into a long-term contract with a fixed energy cost as a hedge against future energy price increases. This will stabilize annual budget fluctuations over the life of the system.
After a request for proposals and a very rigorous selection process, the City chose a local development team led by developer Best Power International and Westwood Professional Services, a renewable energy design and engineering firm that designed and built the 1,820-panel solar array at St. John's Abbey and University. The $2 million Renewable Development Fund grant and federal tax incentives for renewable energy make the project possible without any capital investment by the City. The system is owned by Best Power Int'l, which leases the roof for the system from the City of Minneapolis. All of the equipment was manufactured in the U.S., and local electricians and roofing technicians trained on the installation. Overall, this project generated approximately 30 jobs including development, design and construction.
The solar panels will 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 addition of this 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 2011, almost 140 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
These packages include certified renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by wind farms or other renewable energy projects across the United States and Canada and verified carbon offsets from projects that reduce carbon emissions entering the atmosphere. Green Your Event will be offered by meeting planners and conventions, and purchased by event attendees.
A Green Your Event purchase will offset a percentage of the attendees' electricity use along with travel to and from the event, while supporting the generation of renewable energy and carbon mitigation projects. This option will be offered to all conventions who wish to participate and is completely optional for meeting planners and their attendees. View a fact sheet here.
Renewable Choice Energy is a leading national provider of renewable energy credits (RECs) and verified emission reductions (VERs) (carbon offsets) to hundreds of Fortune 500 Companies and small businesses, thousands of residential customers, and over 850 LEED green building projects in the U.S. For more information or to Green Your Event, visit Renewable Choice Energy online at http://www.renewablechoice.com.