Event on retrofitting programs for cities, counties and businesses attracts engaged crowd


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 Sen. Franken and Deputy Secretary of Energy Poneman speaking at U of M St. Paul

More than 100 Minnesota local government officials and business leaders gathered recently at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus—along with more than 50 on a live webinar—to talk about retrofitting buildings. The event was officially called the Forum on Energy Savings: Retrofitting Programs for Minnesota Cities, Counties, and Businesses.

According to Senator Al Franken, who convened the event, renovating buildings to make them more energy-efficient—called retrofitting—saves money, improves real-estate values, strengthens our infrastructure—and could be the next big thing for Minnesota’s economy. Energy-efficient retrofits will also create badly-needed jobs in both the construction and manufacturing industries.

Senator Al Franken joined with a number of Minnesota partners to hold this forum, including the Clean Energy Resource Teams, University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, MN Chapter of the Energy Services Coalition, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Urban Land Institute, Minnesota Waste Wise, and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Deputy Secretary Daniel B. Poneman with the U.S. Department of Energy was a guest speaker. See photos >>

Below is more information about topics addressed at the event, as well as the full webinar recording from the event and the presentations. You can click here to download the agenda. Thanks for your interest in saving energy!

Programs to help you move forward with building retrofitting projects


  • Minnesota Buildings, Benchmarks & Beyond (B3): B3 Benchmarking is a building energy management system for public buildings in Minnesota including state, local government, and public school buildings. The mission of B3 is to provide you with tools to help manage your buildings, improve your building portfolio efficiently, and monitor the improvements. The system provides sophisticated reporting and graphing, baselines, weather normalization, and other great features to help you manage your buildings. Learn more and get started with B3 >>

  • Minnesota GreenStep Cities: Is your city looking for a way to organize your efforts to become more sustainable? This program can help. Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability goals through implementation of 28 best practices. Each best practice can be implemented by completing one or more specific actions from a list of four to eight actions. These actions are tailored to all Minnesota cities, focus on cost savings and energy use reduction, and encourage innovation. Learn more about the program and see what participating cities are doing >>
  • Public Building Enhanced Energy Efficiency Program (PBEEEP): Local Government PBEEEP is a program offered through the Department Of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. PBEEEP, which stands for Public Buildings Enhanced Energy Efficiency Program, addresses energy efficiency in public buildings across Minnesota through a targeted recommissioning/ retrocommissioning (RCx) and retrofit project focus. Energy affecting and energy consuming equipment, systems, and operations practices are evaluated to identify energy conservation opportunities that result in cost savings for the Local Government Unit (LGU). The majority of projects will follow a 4-phase project process: screening, investigation, implementation, and verification. A key component of PBEEEP is that the program provides LGUs access to project funding through a combination of co-funding and lease-purchase financing without the need to have budgeted for project services in advance. Learn more about the launch of the program and how you can take part >>
  • Minnesota Energy Services Coalition: The mission of the Minnesota State Chapter of the Energy Services Coalition is to increase the implementation in Minnesota of energy efficiency and building upgrades through energy savings performance contracting. The Energy Services Coalition is a national non-profit organization composed of a network of experts from a wide range of organizations working together at the state and local level to increase energy efficiency and building upgrades through energy savings performance contracting. Learn more about the coalition and their work >>
  • Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE): John Farrell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance explains PACE well: “The premise is simple: pay for building energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy with long-term property tax assessments, aligning payback periods and financing terms. The residential program’s rapid expansion came to a screeching halt in mid-2010 when the Federal Housing Finance Agency told lenders that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would not buy mortgages with PACE assessments on them. Commercial PACE was left alive, and programs for business and industry are finally getting scale.” Learn the basics in a great presentation from John Farrell and get updates on the status of commercial PACE and residential PACE. Also, learn more about the commercial PACE program that just began in Edina, MN, the first of it’s kind in the state.
  • Better Buildings Challenge: The Better Buildings Challenge supports commercial and industrial building owners by providing technical assistance and proven solutions to energy efficiency. The program also provides a forum for matching Partners and Allies to enhance collaboration and problem solving in energy efficiency. Both Partners and Allies are publically recognized for their leadership and innovation in energy efficiency. Learn more and take the challenge >>

Webinar & Presentations

Click here to view the webinar with video and slides >>

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You’ll need Adobe Reader to view the webinar. Click here to download it if need be.

If you’d prefer you can simply view the presentations from the event below, or click here to download.

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Minnesota Department of Commerce University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission