Last Updated July 21, 2023
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
Minnesota has several energy efficiency policies for state buildings, dating back to 2001. In April 2011, Governor Dayton signed a series of Executive Orders which created a comprehensive energy savings plan for state facilities. In addition to creating several new initiatives, the Orders also incorporated existing energy efficiency and renewable energy statutes and programs.
Energy Reduction Requirements
Executive Order 11-12 set a goal of reducing energy use in state facilities by 20%. The Order does not set a deadline for reaching this goal, but sets deadlines for establishing benchmarks, goals, and implementation plans. Each agency must maintain its consumption data in the B3 Energy Benchmarking web site. By September 1, 2011, each agency was required consult with the Commissioners of Administration and Commerce to develop energy reduction goals through both energy efficiency improvements and on-site renewable energy installations. Executive Order 11-13 requires each agency to report on these goals to the Real Property Executive Committee and Commissioner of Administration in an annual Sustainability Plan. Each state agency must use the Guaranteed Energy Savings Contracts.
Executive Order 11-13 requires that all multifunctional devices on the state standards program be Energy Star labeled by June 30, 2013.
Sustainable Building Guidelines for New State Construction and Renovations
Construction of new state buildings in Minnesota is governed by a series of state laws enacted and amended at different times. In 2001, Minnesota required the Departments of Administration and Commerce to develop Sustainable Building Design Guidelines (Minn. Stat. 16B.325) for new state buildings. These guidelines are mandatory for new buildings funded fully or in part by state bond money after January 1, 2004, and major renovations funded from bond proceeds after January 1, 2009. Major renovations are defined as a substantial addition to an existing building or a significant change to the energy system or interior configuration of an existing building. The provision applying the law to major renovations was added in April 2008.
The guidelines require that projects exceed the January 2004 state energy code by 30 percent. In 2008, a separate section of the state code (Minn. Stat. 16B.32) law was amended to state that managers must supply 2% of a building's total energy use with on-site wind and solar power or supply a full cost and carbon analysis explaining why renewables would not be cost effective.* Noncompliance results in loss of any further state money for the project. The guidelines developed as a result of this law now contain the on-site generation requirement, as well as a rule requiring building operators to select new equipment and appliances that meet ENERGY STAR criteria. This stipulation is meant to operate in addition to the 30% energy use reduction attributable to the building itself. Other portions of the guidelines address additional aspects of sustainability, such as water management, indoor air quality, and waste reduction. Building construction or renovations funded by state bonds may use up to 5% of the allotted funds for solar PV or solar thermal systems of less than 40 kilowatt (kW) capacity. Systems must be Made in Minnesota.
Executive Order 11-12 (2011) requires agencies to perform an assessment of the cost-effectiveness of installing renewable energy generation equipment along with any major renovations in state-owned facilities.
Sustainable Building 2030 (SB 2030)
In May 2008 Minnesota enacted S.F. 2706, directing the Commerce Commissioner to contract with the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota and granting $500,000 annually to coordinate and implement the development of new Sustainable Building 2030 performance standards. At least $350,000 of this must be spent for subcontracts to undertake technical projects. These standards were designed to achieve energy consumption reductions of 60 percent in 2010, 70 percent in 2015, 80 percent in 2020, and 90 percent in 2025 (2003 baseline). Beginning on July 1, 2010, all Minnesota State bonded projects — new and substantially renovated — that had not already started the Schematic Design Phase on August 1, 2009 were required to meet the Minnesota SB 2030 energy standards. The SB 2030 requirements will be incorporated into the existing Sustainable Building Design Guidelines developed prior to SB 2030.
Executive Order 11-13 (2011) incorporated SB 2030 into the new comprehensive energy savings plan.
* Minn. Stat. 16B.32 also requires that certain state building designs specifically evaluate the possibility of using active and passive solar systems and earth-sheltered construction in addition to the 2% on-site wind and solar provision. A separate section (Minn. Stat. 16B.326) requires the evaluation of geothermal and solar thermal applications for heating and cooling during pre-design review.