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Minneapolis Convention Center prioritizes going green

Recently, the Minneapolis Convention Center unveiled an exhibit that highlights various sustainable projects around the city, including its own.

The interactive two-sided display, which has touch screens, includes a map that features everything from the Nice Ride Minnesota bike-sharing program to the Downtown Improvement District.

The convention center itself has become more eco-focused in recent years, according to convention spokesperson Kristen Montag.

Although it has been working for years to improve its green profile, it’s now amping up its effort, with goals to reduce water consumption by 50 percent; slash energy use by 10 percent, and increase recycling by 75 percent by 2015.  

To do so, bathrooms will be retrofitted with energy-efficient systems to help conserve water, while light fixtures throughout the building will also be upgraded. Lights in rooms that aren’t being used will be kept off.

Further, the center plans to recycle 1.4 million pounds of its 1.8 million pounds of waste every year--which involves more sorting, Montag says. “When you think about how much waste the convention center recycles and what it’ll do, it changes the way it disposes of waste,” she says. “It’s about increasing recycling in a way that it hasn’t done if before.”

The center is also looking into the possibilities for managing stormwater.   

It wants to be a role model in this area throughout the city and nationally, she says.

Already, it’s reduced its energy use by 24 percent since 2008, which has amounted to $1 million in savings to taxpayers, according to Montag.

Right now, “Employees are working to figure out how to do it personally. It’ll be an on-the-ground team effort,” which brings together people from different parts of the workforce. “It’ll change the way they do their jobs and the way the building is run--and it’s something they’ll own.”  

Source: Kristen Montag, spokesperson, Minneapolis Convention Center
Writer: Anna Pratt
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