Nearly 20 leaders from the Woodbury business community attended ENERGY STAR® Community Partner Challenge Kick-Off event held at City Hall in early April. The group included a mix of business representatives, including retail, multi-family housing, office spaces, realtor groups and more. The event demonstrated growing interest among building owners in pursuing energy efficiency goals.
The ENERGY STAR Challenge is a statewide effort led by a partnership between the Great Plains Institute, the Minnesota Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, and Energy Smart – a program of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. The goal of the program is to increase the number of ENERGY STAR certified buildings in Minnesota.
Buildings that are ENERGY STAR certified use an average of 35% less energy than typical buildings. Studies have shown that buildings that are benchmarked tend to save around 7% in energy use simply because someone is paying attention. In 2007, the Minnesota State Legislature recognized the value in energy efficiency and set a goal to achieve 1,000 certified buildings by 2010. Six years have passed since the end date of that goal and the state has approximately 650 buildings certified. The ENERGY STAR Challenge is an effort to increase that number through direct outreach and technical assistance.
The Community Partner element of the Challenge is intended to go deeper with the selected communities to boost certification by fostering relationships between cities and their businesses. For the community partners, the Challenge offers free energy assessments, identification of energy savings, incentives for certification, and program recognition.
Woodbury was selected as a Community Partner for the Challenge due to previous efforts that have laid the groundwork to help make this a successful project. Woodbury is directed by the principle of “making Woodbury sustainable,” which has guided them to emerge as a model city in Minnesota. The City is one of the leading entities entered in the B3 Benchmarking database, having earned the Best Local Government of the Year award in 2015. As an ENERGY STAR partner since 2009, Woodbury leads by example — the City implemented a sustainability policy for new and rehabbed city buildings, evidenced by their ENERGY STAR certified City Hall.
“We are excited to kick off the Community Partner Challenge with businesses in our city,” said Jennifer McLoughlin, sustainability specialist. “This is as a great opportunity to build on our existing relationships with commercial investors, while leading to a more sustainable Woodbury.”