The Minnesota Departments of Commerce and Labor and Industry are convening an informal short-term workgroup to examine policy ideas that enable cities to voluntarily promote or otherwise ensure greater energy performance measures for commercial and multifamily residential buildings. Workgroup meetings are open to the public.
Minnesota provides a high level of public and private support for energy efficient technologies. Minnesota’s energy efficiency industry is supported by more than 30 years of demand-side management and energy efficiency policies with verifiable results.
Minnesota electric utilities and natural gas utilities are required to invest at least 1.5 percent and 0.5 percent of their gross operating revenues, respectively, on Conservation Improvement Programs (CIP) each year.
A 2015 study on the economic impact of CIP (.pdf) found that every dollar invested in CIP provides $4 to $4.30 in energy savings, environmental benefits, and new economic activity. Investments in energy efficiency improve the economy in two ways: (1) spending on energy efficiency projects supports jobs and business for contractors and suppliers directly involved in the projects, and (2) the money that consumers save from lower utility bills can be spent on other goods and services.
Energy efficiency and conservation are the first options for reducing energy use and minimizing related environmental concerns. Commerce provides resources to homeowners, businesses, schools, local governmental units, and nonprofits on ways to use less energy in public and private buildings.
Information for businesses and public entities include:
Utility incentives for commercial, industrial customers
Utility incentives for commercial, industrial customers
Commerce's Energy Resources Division works collaboratively with utilities to ensure that their energy efficiency programs are accessible to a wide variety of commercial and industrial companies. These programs can include financial incentives for energy efficiency equipment upgrades, system-wide improvements, and process efficiency projects.
Each utility develops its own Conservation Improvement Program (CIP), offering a variety of ways to assist business and residential customers become more energy efficient. Commerce is responsible for ensuring that these services result in verifiable energy savings. Utilities may work directly with commercial and industrial customers to customize an energy efficiency project and determine if they qualify for CIP rebates and other incentives.
Typical CIP programs for commercial and industrial customers include:
Rebates for high efficiency boilers, chillers, and rooftop units
Rebates for high efficiency lighting and lighting control systems
Rebates for high efficiency motors and drives
Building recommissioning studies
Manufacturing process improvements that reduce energy intensity and improve productivity
If your company is considering an energy upgrade, consult your local utility.
Research and development grants
Commerce, through CIP, also provides grant funding to research new energy efficiency technologies and strategies to maximize energy savings, improve the effectiveness of energy conservation programs, and document the carbon dioxide reductions from energy conservation. The Minnesota Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) Grant Program identifies effective approaches to help achieve the annual state energy conservation goal of 1.5 percent of annual retail sales of electricity and natural gas.
You can use our CARD Grant Search tool to see a list of all CARD projects or to find the most relevant CARD projects and results for your specific applications(s).
The Minnesota State Building Code is mandatory, statewide, and applicable to all residential and commercial construction. The Department of Labor and Industry, Construction Codes and Licensing Division holds the authority to adopt and enforce the state's building codes, including a subset of the Minnesota State Building Code, the Minnesota Energy Code. The new Residential Energy Code and the Commercial Energy Code went into effect in 2015.
Benchmarking your buildings - save energy, money, water
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Benchmarking buildings enables you to track your energy and water use as well as energy and water costs to compare building performance. It allows you to see how your building is performing and determine if measures should be taken to better manage your energy, water and associated costs. Benchmarking not only allows you to compare your building’s performance to your peer’s like buildings, but it also enables you to compare a building in your building portfolio with others to enhance strategic decision making within your organization in regards to energy, water, and associated costs solutions.
Public Buildings and MN B3 Benchmarking
The Departments of Commerce and Administration sponsor Minnesota B3 Benchmarking, an energy and water benchmarking tool designed for Minnesota publicly owned buildings that “puts the power of public building energy data in the hands of Minnesota public building owners to manage and reduce energy costs.” B3 stands for Buildings, Benchmarks, and Beyond and is the name for the suite of standards, guidelines, programs, and tools to enhance the sustainability of new and existing buildings in Minnesota. B3 benchmarking is an online tool that summarizes energy consumption, water consumption, costs, and carbon emissions into easily digestible metrics and reports for Minnesota public buildings.
In 2001, legislation in Minnesota was passed to benchmark all public buildings in the state for a period of 12 months, and as a result, B3 Benchmarking was born. Currently, the B3 Benchmarking program contains over 7,500 public buildings with over 300 million square feet in its database representing 22 state agencies, 410 cities, 55 counties, 60 higher education campuses, and 214 school districts. The B3 Benchmarking System has identified over $23 million in potential energy savings in over 1,500 identified buildings representing about 30 million square feet of building floor area.