Minneapolis Green Cost Share

Lighting system upgrades brighten YMCA facilities

Improved safety, reduced energy use & costs

Building Community &
Saving Energy

 

From 2017 to 2019, YMCA of the North invested in lighting upgrades across several facilities, including locations in Minneapolis, supported in part by the City of Minneapolis Green Cost Share program.

Projects included upgrades at the Blaisdell, North Community Harold Mezile, Hiawatha, University, and Emma B. Howe NE facilities, among other locations. With improved safety, reduced energy use, and cost savings from these projects, YMCA had more resources to invest in its programs supporting youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

Fitness and wellbeing centers and community response hubs faced much uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Y’s investments in cost-effective clean energy at its facilities helped reduce operating costs during a challenging time for the nonprofit and communities it serves.

 

By saving money on utilities, this allows for more program dollars to be spent on critical priorities addressing the increased needs of the community especially during the ongoing pandemic.

Jeff Martin, Vice President of Facility Services at YMCA of the North

Making the switch to efficient lighting

We spoke with Jeff Martin, vice president of facility services at YMCA of the North, who led the lighting upgrades and energy efficiency projects, to learn more about these projects, their impact and his experience working with the City of Minneapolis’ Green Cost Share program.

Martin has worked closely with the City of Minneapolis on energy use benchmarking at the YMCA facilities within the city, and it was through that work that he first learned about cost sharing offered through the Green Cost Share program. He applied for the matching funds, contracted the requisite lighting system analysis and audits with Xcel Energy, Center for Energy and Environment and Premier Lighting, which assisted the nonprofit with implementing its energy efficiency upgrades. System upgrades included lighting fixture retrofits with LEDs and other energy saving technologies.

“We changed out all [of] the lighting, making the switch to all LED energy efficient lighting with these projects across multiple sites. Dimmers and occupancy sensors were also installed at the same time,” said Martin.

 

ymca-collage.jpg

Pictured clockwise from top left: New lighting at Hiawatha, Blaisdell, and Emma B. Howe NE YMCA locations.

Coordinated and timely investments

With Minneapolis Green Cost Share program matching funds and Xcel Energy rebates available to help offset total project costs, YMCA prioritized upgrades to several of its Minneapolis locations eligible for funding. Martin noted the organization coordinated a few similar projects at other locations over the same period, which also helped reduce project costs. These facilities included Blaisdell, North Community Harold Mezile, Hiawatha, University, and Emma B. Howe NE YMCAs, among other locations.

 

When the COVID-19 pandemic increased the need for social services, direct programming and financial assistance at these locations, the investments in cost-effective clean energy technology proved timely.

“We provide a vast array of youth and family programs and services at these locations,” Martin explained. “During COVID, these programs and services became even more critical and our community response hubs have been distributing meals and basic necessities, offering distance learning, hosting blood drives, providing access to technology, connecting people to resources for housing, employment, and much more at these sites in Minneapolis.”

“By saving money on utilities, this allows for more program dollars to be spent on critical priorities addressing the increased needs of the community especially during the ongoing pandemic,” Martin said. Martin estimated quick payback periods on these projects with returns on investment ranging from two to three years, depending on the location.

With projects like these, you end up saving energy and costs in a number of different ways.

Jeff Martin, Vice President of Facility Services at YMCA of the North

Benefits beyond energy and cost savings

Martin encourages other facility and property managers to consider the Green Cost Share program if they are eligible and to keep in mind the range of benefits that lighting retrofits or other clean energy projects provide. Such projects provide not just energy and cost savings but other benefits, as well.

“With projects like these, you end up saving energy and costs in a number of different ways. You save on electrical costs. With LEDs, they last longer, so you save having to purchase lamps as frequently. You save on recycling costs of fluorescent or high-intensity discharge lamps. And ultimately, you save on labor too, not having to replace lamps as often,” he explained.

 

In addition to benefits of the technology from a facilities’ perspective, Martin also noted these projects improved visibility and safety for facility users and community members both inside and outside the YMCA buildings, as well as positive environmental and sustainability impacts.

“At the YMCA, we believe environmental sustainability is rooted in our commitment to social responsibility,” Martin said. “LED lighting and photocell replacement reduces our energy footprint and furthers us as a leader in having a positive environmental and social impact.”

While this has been a challenging year for fitness and wellbeing centers and community response hubs like those the YMCA of the North operates, there is greater need for the services and programming that the Ys offer than ever. With support from the Green Cost Share program, YMCA was able to invest in facility upgrades that improved safety and resulted in cost savings that have been reinvested in the organization’s programming and services during this difficult time.

“These projects allowed us to have additional dollars in our budget to increase our impact in our community,” Martin added.

In 2021, the City of Minneapolis Green Cost Share program is offering increased support and matching funds for energy efficiency, solar energy and pollution reduction projects to businesses and organizations in Minneapolis who are interested in following YMCA of the North’s lead.

City of Minneapolis’ Green Cost Share Projects

Blaisdell YMCA 

  • Location: 3335 Blaisdell Ave. S., Minneapolis
  • Project Years: 2017, 2019
  • Technology: LED lighting fixtures, lamps, motion sensors
  • Project Cost: $47,557
  • Minneapolis Green Cost Share Matching Funds: $9,511
  • Estimated Annual Energy Savings (kWh/year): 81,117

North Community Harold Mezile YMCA

  • Location: 1711 West Broadway Ave., Minneapolis
  • Minneapolis Green Zone: Yes
  • Project Years: 2018
  • Technology: LED lighting fixtures, lamps, motion sensors
  • Project Cost: $53,214
  • Minneapolis Green Cost Share Matching Funds: $16,042
  • Estimated Annual Energy Savings (kWh/year): 52,154

Multiple YMCA Locations

  • Project Years: 2017, 2019
  • Technology: LED lighting fixtures, lamps, motion sensors
  • Project Cost: $30,337
  • Minneapolis Green Cost Share Matching Funds: $6,067
  • Estimated Annual Energy Savings (kWh/year): 67,801
     

Additional Projects

In 2019, YMCA of the North completed additional retrofits at several locations in both Minneapolis and Coon Rapids but did not receive matching funds from the City of Minneapolis Green Cost Share program.

Emma B. Howe NE YMCA

  • Location: 2304 NE Jackson St, Minneapolis
  • Project Years: 2019
  • Technology: LED lighting fixtures, lamps, motion sensors 
  • Estimated Annual Energy Savings (kWh/year): 17,343

Hiawatha YMCA 

  • Location: 4100 28th Ave. S., Minneapolis
  • Project Years: 2019
  • Technology: LED lighting fixtures, lamps, motion sensors
  • Estimated Annual Energy Savings (kWh/year): 15,691

University YMCA 

  • Location: 1801 University Ave SE., Minneapolis
  • Project Years: 2019
  • Technology: LED lighting fixtures, lamps, motion sensors
  • Estimated Annual Energy Savings (kWh/year): 34,768
     

Grand Totals

  • Total Costs Across All Projects: $131,108
  • Total Minneapolis Green Cost Share Matching Funds: $31,620
  • Grand Total Estimated Annual Energy Savings (kWh/year): 268,874 
     
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