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Recent investments in energy efficiency are already paying big dividends on the Minnesota Security Hospital campus in St. Peter. State government is saving $161,500 thanks to a one-time rebate from the city’s public utility for installing high-efficiency equipment in new buildings and replacing inefficient lighting in existing facilities on the St. Peter campus.
The improvements are projected to reduce annual electricity consumption on the campus by more than 1.5 million kilowatt hours. That’s enough to power 211 average-sized homes in St. Peter for a year. Ongoing annual savings are expected to be $150,000 or more.
“We have to heat, cool and light about 1.3 million square feet on the St. Peter campus. When you have that much real estate, even small steps to improve energy efficiency can make a huge difference in reducing our power consumption and operational costs,” said Carol Olson, the hospital’s executive director.
There are environmental benefits as well. The Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, which provides power to the city of St. Peter, estimates that the energy-efficiency improvements on campus will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to about 243 passenger vehicles each year.
Installing high-efficiency heating and cooling units and advanced lighting controls were part of the $56.3 million phase one expansion of the Security Hospital. In addition, thousands of inefficient lights were replaced in existing buildings.
Replacing less efficient fixtures with LED bulbs was the single largest improvement, accounting for about $73,000 in rebates. Compared to incandescent lights, LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy and have a useful life of 25,000 hours or more. To date, the campus has replaced fluorescent tubes with nearly 2,400 LED bulbs and there are plans to swap out another 1,800 soon. In addition, more than 100 outdoor streetlamps on the 500-acre campus will be converted to LED bulbs.
The $70.2 million second phase of the Security Hospital’s expansion and renovation is now underway and includes similar energy-efficient equipment, which is expected to yield even more rebates and long-term savings.