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Minnesota Establishes New Office of Enterprise Sustainability to Fight Climate Change

7/20/2016 2:59:13 PM

Office will partner with state agencies to reduce state government’s carbon footprint, leverage industry expertise and best practices, and increase accountability in sustainable operations
 
ST. PAUL, MN – Demonstrating the State of Minnesota’s continued commitment to tackling climate change, Lt. Governor Tina Smith announced today the creation of the new Office of Enterprise Sustainability. The new office will provide agencies the assistance needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water usage, increase energy efficiency and recycling, and better coordinate efforts across state government.
 
State government has many opportunities to fight climate change – by ensuring buildings are energy efficient, increasing our reliance on renewable energies, choosing more fuel-efficient fleet vehicles, and making more informed purchasing decisions,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “The Office of Enterprise Sustainability will provide state agencies with additional tools to improve the efficiency of their operations.” 
 
The Office of Enterprise Sustainability, a division of the Department of Administration, will be a central resource to assist state agencies with implementing sustainability initiatives in partnership with subject matter experts from across state government. The office will identify opportunities for the state to reduce carbon emissions, identify and share best practices in environmentally responsible operations, and assist each agency in incorporating them into daily practice. 
 
The new office will help agencies make choices that improve outcomes and will hold agencies accountable for their decisions that impact sustainability. The office also will work with state agencies to track and report their greenhouse gas emissions, assist in directing and managing sustainability initiatives, and leverage the expertise of sustainable practices leaders. 
 
These efforts will ensure the state leads by example in the area of sustainability and coordinates with the Dayton-Smith Administration’s broader approach to addressing climate action, outlined in the recently released Climate Solutions and Economic Opportunities report.
 
The Dayton-Smith Administration has directed state agencies to reduce their carbon footprint and report on key sustainability outcome measurements include purchasing, vehicle fleets, energy use, water use, and solid waste/recycling. While agencies have made progress (the Capitol Complex has reduced its energy consumption by more than 20 percent and increased recycling rates to 70 percent), many opportunities remain. The Office of Enterprise Sustainability will build on that initial work and work with all state facilities to implement and track comprehensive sustainability initiatives.
 
To coordinate efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of state agencies, Administration Commissioner Massman appointed Larry Herke as the Director of the Office of Enterprise Sustainability. Herke has had an extensive career in the United States Army in construction and facilities management. He has most recently led efforts at the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs to improve overall sustainability outcomes including striving toward turning Camp Ripley and Arden Hills Army Training Site into Net Zero installations. Those efforts were recognized by the Pentagon with the Minnesota National Guard receiving the Secretary of Defense’s 2015 Sustainably Award. Herke will begin on August 1.
 
Larry Herke is a proven leader with the skills and abilities to accomplish big goals in challenging circumstances,” said Administration Commissioner Matt Massman. “Whether managing the logistics for more than 5,000 Minnesota soldiers in Iraq or reducing energy and waste consumption in state military facilities, Larry knows how to bring people together to get the job done.
 
The State of Minnesota is among the state’s largest employers with 38,000 employees. The state has a $20 billion annual general fund budget. It purchases approximately $2.2 billion in supplies, services, and construction annually. The state owns more than 29 million square feet of building space and leases $3.6 million square feet.
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