Energy efficiency improvements across 36 facilities in Minnesota will generate more than $3 million in permanent, ongoing energy savings every year for the foreseeable future, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
The efficiency upgrades were the product of a $4.1 million energy upgrade program administered through the department’s Division of Energy Resources and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The improvements targeted commercial, industrial, and nonprofit facilities across the state. Such facilities account for half of the state’s energy use, and retrofitting offered the Commerce Department what it calls the “biggest bang for our buck.”
The Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company plant in Benson has estimated it will save about $700,000 a year in natural gas costs as a result of the improvements. St. Johns Hospital in Maplewood will reduce its energy use by 30 percent and save about $200,000 every year in energy cost reductions, and Gerdau Ameristeel U.S. Inc. in Duluth will save $50,000 a year, according to Commerce Department figures.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has contributed funding for a number of green initiatives nationwide including electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Chicago, a fleet of more than 100 hybrid trucks in 16 different cities and a carbon-capture project at an ethanol plant in Decatur, Ill.