The Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership has helped the City win milestones of national recognition even when it existed only on paper. At that time in late 2014, The White House and U.S. Department of Energy gave the City of Minneapolis a competitive “Climate Action Champion” award largely because the Partnership it established with its energy utilities was the first of its kind in the nation.
Now the Clean Energy Partnership itself is winning awards of national recognition after a full year of formally convening. On Wednesday March 9th, the Partnership won the EPA’s 2016 Climate Leadership Award in the Innovative Partnerships category for working collaboratively on leading-edge climate initiatives. The award page identified ambitious energy goals, the Partnership’s early accomplishments and the Energy Vision Advisory Committee (EVAC) providing input on the Partnership’s work plan.
Particularly successful is Minneapolis' Energy Benchmarking program as it has earned a dynamic duo of honorary acknowledgement this year.
In January of 2016, The Department of Energy gave a Better Buildings Recognition award to the City for a new energy-saving software program that helps building owners better understand their energy use. The DOE gave recognition to Mayor Hodges’ Policy aide Stephanie Zawistowski and to Xcel’s policy and outreach manager Bridget McLaughlin Dockter as they were both doing a presentation at the White House on how the “2-year data accelerator” software tool makes whole-building energy data more accessible to building managers. It was originally developed to help building owners with multiple tenants comply with the city’s energy benchmarking ordinance and is now part of the DOE’s Better Buildings Energy Data Accelerator platform.
On March 23rd 2016, Environmental Initiative nominated Minneapolis’ commercial & public energy benchmarking program as a finalist for its 2016 awards in the Climate and Energy categories. The City’s benchmarking program extends beyond the scope of the Clean Energy Partnership as it involves the Center for Energy and Environment, Minnesota Retired Technical Assistance Program, McKnight Foundation, Energy Foundation, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as well as Xcel and Centerpoint. We will know whether Minneapolis is the final winner of the award in a May 26th ceremony at the Nicollet Island Pavilion starting at 5:30 PM.
Minneapolis adopted its Building Energy Benchmarking Ordinance as a way to stimulate energy efficiency improvements in the commercial building sector. The city mandate requires disclosure of energy use for structures of 50,000 square feet or more. As a result, the energy efficiency of Minneapolis large commercial building stock has improved since the program began in 2013 and now ranks above the national average. In February 2016, Minneapolis released its third annual Energy Benchmarking Report which analyzed 2014 energy use data from 429 buildings which participated.