Hospitality businesses across Minnesota are finding ways to save thousands of dollars on energy costs while at the same time meeting their sustainability goals. That’s a big deal for the bottom line and a great story to tell customers.
Let's take a look at how are they're doing it and explore a couple examples.
What are some common energy projects that businesses are taking on?
Energy Efficiency: HVAC, lighting, motors, equipment, insulation, air sealing, and more
Renewable Energy: Solar energy systems, wind turbines, geothermal, and more
Electric Vehicle Charging: Electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure
How are businesses paying for this energy work?
Hundreds of Minnesota businesses have used Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Energy-saving projects done by the property owners receive PACE financing and are repaid as a separate item on their property tax assessment for a set period. PACE financing helps overcome barriers to doing energy-related projects. It eliminates high up-front costs, reduces dependence on credit, and allows for comprehensive projects. All three of the businesses below used MinnPACE from the Saint Paul Port Authority. The Rural Minnesota Energy Board also offers a PACE program.
Solar powers energy savings at The Cliff Dweller Hotel in Tofte, MN
Solar was always part of the plan for Todd Katzenberger, co-owner of The Cliff Dweller Hotel in Tofte, Minnesota. Before he and his wife bought the hotel in 2017, Todd had been a manager at a plant that had implemented several energy efficiency improvements, which helped spark his interest in clean energy. When the time came to replace the roof at their hotel this past year it felt like the perfect opportunity to install a solar array.
“The way I see it, anything you can do to be green and reduce costs is a great benefit for a business,” said Todd.
Dining in energy energy-efficient comfort at Insula Restaurant in Ely, MN
When you visit Insula restaurant in Ely, you can now enjoy your locally-sourced fusion American dining experience in comfort thanks to energy-efficient building upgrades. Insula leases its space from Alley A Realty who purchased the historic building in 2014. They heard about PACE financing when they decided they needed to make some upgrades. “It was a perfect fit,” said Tanner Ott, co-owner of Alley A Realty.
“The funds allowed us to put on an insulated roof suitable for our northern Minnesota climate, upgrade our mechanical and HVAC systems, and put in large, energy-efficient picture windows.”
Cutting summer energy costs with solar at Cozy Corners Campground in Richmond, MN
When Cozy Corners Campground in Richmond is at maximum capacity during the busy summer months, the facility’s electric bill can top $10,000 a month. Driven by a desire to make a positive environmental impact as well as reduce these astronomical bills, owners George and Kathy Meyers decided to install solar panels at the campground.
"The panels generate approximately 15% of the campground’s electricity and have taken a big bite out of their energy costs," George shared.