Twin Cities buildings get kudos for saving energy

Several Minneapolis and St. Paul office buildings are being recognized for cutting down their electricity use through changes such as LED lighting and upgraded ventilation systems.

Xcel Energy and the Minneapolis and St. Paul Building Owners and Managers Associations announced the winners of the so-called Kilowatt Crackdown in a news release today:

• Minneapolis overall winner: Gray Freshwater Center

• St. Paul overall winner: HealthPartners/Gillette Specialty Center

• Highest performing buildings in their size categories: US Bancorp Center in Minneapolis, Northland Plaza in Bloomington and Gray Freshwater Center in Minneapolis

• Most valuable tenant award: Thrivent Financial in Minneapolis

Overall, 74 buildings participated in the contest and saved more than 9 million kilowatt-hours of electricity — enough to power more than 715 homes for a year, Xcel says. Translated to carbon dioxide emissions, it’s about 6,350 metric tons of avoided CO2.

Xcel Energy spokeswoman Erin Mathe sent me a list of examples of how these buildings were able to reduce electricity use:

• Building recommissioning (basically a building tune-up)

• Compressed Air

• Lighting retrofits such as installing LEDs

• Variable speed drive motors

• Building automation systems

• More lighting controls

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