City of Rochester, McKinstry partnership shows power of energy efficiency

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City of Rochester, McKinstry partnership shows power of energy efficiency


ROCHESTER, MINN – As the City of Rochester works to implement its Energy Action Plan and work toward lowering its carbon emissions, they’re sharing how they’re making progress on their goals. While wind and solar projects frequently enjoy the limelight of stories like these, because of restrictions due to the City’s contract with Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA), Rochester is doubling down on energy efficiency projects to make progress on its goals. 

The City has hired McKinstry, a design build and sustainability firm to complete two multi-million-dollar efficiency projects, with a third currently in the works. The projects at the Mayo Civic Center and the Rochester Recreation Center have saved the City $347,000 annually in energy costs, and have eliminated 2,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, which is the equivalent of 340 homes’ electricity use in one year.

Both projects were featured in a just-released video from Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM), a nonprofit working to highlight the economic benefits of energy efficiency and clean energy in Minnesota. 

Watch the video here. 

Energy efficiency projects are absolutely instrumental to the City of Rochester reducing our carbon emissions. We have to have our large buildings and our new construction as energy efficient as possible in order for us to keep incrementally moving forward to reach our goal. Efficiency is really the only tool we have, besides transit,“ says Kim Norton, Mayor of Rochester. “My hope is the city’s efforts to broaden our sustainability team will pay dividends by encouraging builders, developers and others to join us in our energy efficiency efforts. In order to achieve our city goals, we need partnerships.” 

Working closely with a dedicated City team that has clearly defined their Climate Action and Sustainability goals makes the job so much easier, because we are jointly working together to achieve these goals. And as a team, we were able to achieve substantial energy and operational savings in their buildings,” said John Neville, Midwest Regional Director for McKinstry.  

Buildings represent the fourth largest sector responsible for Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions. And unlike the electricity sector which has made huge gains in recent years to reduce its carbon emissions, commercial and residential buildings are increasing their emissions. An increased focus on energy efficiency is absolutely critical to turning that around,” said Amelia Cerling Hennes, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at CEEM. “From small steps everyday consumers can take, to multi-million dollar projects undertaken by local governments – a commitment to sustainability lowers energy bills, creates local jobs and helps us meet the goals outlined in the Next Generation Energy Act in state law.” 

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About Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM): CEEM is an industry-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit representing the business case for clean energy in Minnesota. CEEM provides a unified voice for clean energy business across the state. Our mission is to provide educational leadership, collaboration, and policy analysis that accelerates clean energy market growth and smart energy policies.