University of Minnesota Crookston pleased with Heritage Hall's energy efficiency, sustainability

The University of Minnesota Crookston saw a need for additional on-campus housing and 
started design work on Heritage Hall in 2011. At that point Ken Johnson, Energy Management Representative for Otter Tail Power Company, offered the company's Commercial Design Assistance (CDA) program, which encourages increased efficiency in new commercial buildings. The CDA program provides incentives to eligible building owners and their design teams to exceed Minnesota's energy code requirements in the building design and construction process.

Otter Tail Power Company has issued a $21,599.97 CDA incentive payment to UMC. "This building exceeds Minnesota State Building Code by 13.9 percent in terms of annual energy consumption," said Johnson. "The building envelope, lighting, heating, and cooling systems changes we recommended for this project will pay for themselves in energy cost savings in less than three years. Electricity consumption savings are projected to exceed 327,000 kwh with demand savings of 76 kw."

"Otter Tail Power Company has been an excellent partner with the University of Minnesota Crookston, especially in the areas of energy conservation and sustainability," said Fred Wood, UMC Chancellor. "We greatly appreciate the assistance and incentives they provided through the Commercial Design Assistance Program while we were building our newest residence hall, Heritage Hall. Through that program we can look forward to projected energy savings of more than $11,000 per year. Because of programs like this it's clear Otter Tail Power Company is committed to a sustainable energy future."

Among the energy-efficiency strategies employed in Heritage Hall are increased insulation in walls and ceilings, energy-efficient lighting and controls, high-efficiency heat pumps for heating and cooling in each room, and high-efficiency heating and cooling for the common areas and classroom.

First occupied in January and completed in August, this 47,774-square-foot building has two wings of dorm rooms with a lounge area in the center on both floors, a housing manager apartment, and a classroom on the north end. Heritage Hall is capable of housing 144 students in 35 two-bedroom four-student rooms and 4 one-student staff rooms.
Ruann Deschene was the project manager for Community Contractors Inc. of Grand Forks, North Dakota; the general contractor for the Heritage Hall project. JB Electrical Design of Coon Rapids. Minnesota; was the electrical engineering firm; Obermiller Nelson Engineering (ONE) of Fargo was the mechanical engineering firm, along with Michael J. Burns Architects, Bemidji. Jay Denny and Scott McCord from the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota also provided input.

How Otter Tail Power Company's Commercial Design Assistance Program works

Otter Tail Power Company's free Commercial Design Assistance Program allows qualifying building owners, architectural and engineering firms, and developers to participate in an integrated design process to increase energy efficiency in new commercial buildings.

"We bring in a third-party consultant who reviews the building's design and offers computer modeling of how it will use energy. The consultant then presents various packages of efficiency options, the customer selects one, and we provide an incentive to the customer based on how much the building's efficiency exceeds state code," explained Johnson. "When construction is completed we verify that the building matches construction documents and reflects original design intentions."

CDA incentives help offset the cost of more efficient materials and equipment, and incorporating energy efficiency into building plans may help reduce equipment maintenance and replacement costs for additional long-term savings. The CDA Program also compensates design-team members for their time to explore energy-saving alternatives.

In the photo: The University of Minnesota Crookston received an Otter Tail Power Company's Commercial Design Assistance Program incentive for its new residence hall. Pictured, left to right, at the presentation of the $21,599.97 check representing Otter Tail Power Company are Crookston Area Manager Leon Kremeier and Energy Management Representative Ken Johnson; representing the University are Chancellor Fred Wood and Chief Development Officer Corby Kemmer. 

Contact: Andrew Svec, director of communications, marketing, and public relations, 218-281-8432 (; Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (