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U of M Receives Xcel Energy Platinum Award

The University of Minnesota was presented with the Platinum Award for long term commitment to energy efficiency at Xcel Energy's 2013 Energy Efficiency Expo on February 19 at the St. Paul RiverCentre. The awards honored seven commercial, industrial and small business customers in Minnesota for participating in Xcel Energy 2012 energy efficiency programs.

Starting in 2008, U of M operations managers set aggressive efficiency and carbon emission reduction goals, including annual commitments to conserve five percent of the previous year's total energy consumption. To realize these objectives an aggressive building recommissioning program was developed and the University launched the "It All Adds Up" campaign. The campaign challenged students, faculty and staff, as well as departments and academic units, to commit to energy conservation by taking an Energy Conservation Pledge. Since 2009, more than 14,000 people have pledged.

Combined, these efforts have resulted in more than $15 million in total energy savings - with more to come. The building recommissioning program is going strong and "It All Adds Up" continues to be the cornerstone of energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives across campus.

The companies honored at the Energy Efficiency Expo lowered their energy costs and reduced their impact on the environment. Collectively, they saved more than 15 million kilowatt­hours of electricity and more than 1.9 million therms of natural gas in a 12­month period. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 4,200 cars off the road.

Xcel Energy offers incentives, such as rebates and funding for energy efficiency studies, to its business and municipal customers to encourage them to make energy­efficient choices. The seven organizationsrecognized chose more efficient equipment and processes for their facilities.

“Businesses are placing efficiency projects higher on the priority list now that they realize how much money can be saved,” said Karen Rhodes, Xcel Energy efficiency marketing manager. “These awards are a way for businesses to share their accomplishments with employees and customers.”

The seven award recipients for efficiency were:

  • University of Minnesota, Platinum award (35 million kilowatt­hours saved over five years)
  • Mall of America, highest electricity savings by a commercial customer (nearly 7.2 million kwh saved)
  • Southtown Office Park, highest electric savings by a small business customer (1.5 million kwh saved)
  • 3M, highest natural gas savings by a commercial customer (nearly 1.8 million therms saved)
  • WuXi AppTec, highest natural gas savings by a small business customer (43,595 therms saved)
  • Holiday Companies, highest number of projects completed by a commercial customer (150 projects)
  • Bigos Investment, highest number of projects completed by a small/medium sized customer (10 projects)

FM - Image - Energy Management - 2013 Xcel Platinum Award - Energy Efficiency Expo 2013-9307
Energy Management Assistant Director Jim Green, at left, shakes hands with Xcel Energy Key Account Manager R. Scott Getty.