The Energy Management team at the University of Minnesota works hard to preserve the environment, and their efforts have finally paid off! The Donhowe Building on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus has been rated as an Energy Star Building by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The building is home to University offices for capital planning, facilities management and human resources.
To earn the rating, the Donhowe Building's energy consumption data were compared to hundreds of similar buildings. The EPA looked at the Donhowe Building's hours, size, number of occupants and types of lighting system and compared the data to similar buildings. Buildings ranking in the top 25 percent qualify for the Energy Star label. Donhowe's was listed in the top 12 percent of all office buildings.
The Donhowe Building's high energy efficiency came about as the result of the U Energy Management group's recommissioning project in 2009. This is the first building on campus to receive such a prestigious rating; however, the Energy Management team is still working to create an energy-efficient environment on campus.
The many research facilities at the U of M that use a great deal of energy, which makes it difficult to continue in our efficiency progress. Nonetheless, a University sustainability committee plan is scheduled to be published this summer highlighting lab strategies. Energy Management intends to continue to use the EPA's Energy Star rating system and the state of Minnesota's "B3" (Buildings, Benchmarks and Beyond) database to benchmark and compare University buildings' energy performance against similar buildings. Collectively, these tools will facilitate the recognition of the U's achievements in energy efficiency and help direct future efforts and resources to buildings where significant efficiency improvements are possible. I'm lucky to be a part of such an environmentally friendly campus!
For more information, see Donhowe. Pictured below is the Energy Star Donhowe itself!