Campus and Community challenges on track to surpass energy-savings goals

Hard work to sustain savings begins

Fergus Falls, Minnesota, April 20, 2011 Otter Tail Power Company celebrated with the University of Minnesota, Crookston, and the community of Rothsay, Minnesota, as the company announced preliminary energy savings associated with the Campus and Community Energy Challenges.

In 2010 the University of Minnesota, Crookston, achieved metered kilowatt-hour savings of approximately 7 percent to 8 percent. From early 2009 through early 2011 Rothsay achieved metered kilowatt-hour savings of approximately 3 percent. When all technology improvements and behavioral change initiatives have been in place for a full year, and when results are adjusted for changes in weather and normally occurring growth, the University of Minnesota, Crookston, is on track to save 17 percent of its prior electricity use. Rothsay is on track to save more than 19 percent. The goals of these challenges are based on sustained savings over a five-year period. Pending regulatory review and approval, that means the campus and town are on track to surpass their energy-savings goals.

"We launched these challenges with a call to imagine all of the residents of a small rural community and all the students, faculty, and staff of a college campus working together to reduce the electricity use of their entire town and campus each by 10 to 15 percent," said Kim Pederson, Otter Tail Power Company Manager, Market Planning. "What they've accomplished so far was more than we imagined possible, but the hard work is still in front of them as they strike out on their own to sustain these savings."

The Crookston campus achieved much of its savings from upgrading campus lightingTree Planting 3598.jpg and installing automated controls on variable-frequency drives for some of the ventilation systems. Otter Tail Power Company assisted with the audits to identify high-level savings projects and provided more than $86,000 in grants and rebates to encourage the investments by reducing payback times.

"Significant savings also were noted when the Facilities Management Department implemented a new work order system in August that took deliberate steps to change operational procedures such as shutting off more lights than before, closing shades, and reducing heating levels in certain areas," said Chancellor Charles Casey. "I'm proud but not surprised about just how much the people on this campus have been able to accomplish. And I'm confident that the behavior changes we've been focused on will continue to show real results."

The community of Rothsay achieved more than half of its cumulative savings from behavioral changes on the part of Rothsay Public School, homeowners, and businesses. Otter Tail Power Company also granted almost $117,000 in rebates for energy-efficient lighting and technology improvements. "This program was developed as a three-legged stool," said Pederson. "Education, efficient end-use technologies, and incentivized behavioral changes each play a critical role in the success of these projects. And achieving long-term savings in Rothsay will be possible only with ongoing energy-saving behaviors and a community that won't settle for anything less than achieving its goal."

Rothsay Public School is committed to continuing its leadership role in this challenge. "The Community Energy Challenge has been an excellent program that has brought a new sense of awareness regarding energy use throughout the community," said Ehren Zimmerman, Dean of Students/Principal at Rothsay Public School. "And it has brought a new approach to hands-on learning for our faculty, staff, and students. Now it's our turn to pay it forward and keep the savings going."

Otter Tail Power Company, a subsidiary of Otter Tail Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: OTTR), is headquartered in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. It provides electricity and energy services to more than a quarter million people in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. To learn more about Otter Tail Power Company visit To learn more about Otter Tail Corporation visit

In the photo: To celebrate the success of the Campus Energy Challenge at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, Otter Tail Power Company donated two basswood trees. The shade trees were planted on the west side of the Early Childhood Building to help provide energy savings in the summer. Project leaders and guests marking the event include (left to right): Student Green Team leader Ben Williams, Center for Sustainability Director Dan Svedarsky, Vice Chancellor of Academics and Student Affairs Thomas Baldwin, Chancellor Charles Casey, Otter Tail Power Company Project Manager Jon Fabre, University of Minnesota, Crookston, Facilities Green Team member Brian Christianson; former Student Green Team lead Lisa Gentele, Otter Tail Power Company Crookston Area Energy Management Representative Ken Johnson, Otter Tail Power Company President and CEO Chuck MacFarlane, Minnesota Department of Commerce Deputy Commissioner Bill Grant, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar's Moorhead Office Representative Andrew Martin, U.S. Senator Al Franken's Northwestern Minnesota Field Representative Valerie Graveseth, and U.S. Representative Collin Peterson's Red Lake Falls Office Representative JoAnn Zutz.

Contact: Cris Kling, Otter Tail Power Compnay, 218-739-8297; Andrew Svec, director of communications, U of M, Crookston, 218-281-8432 (