Located in Minneapolis, MN
63,590 sq. ft. building
Annual Savings from energy efficiency upgrades: 45 percent less energy costs than comparable buildings. (This is a new building, specific energy and cost savings are not available at this time.)
“I recommend that businesses look past the most obvious energy saving strategies to some of the less visible, but important strategies.” — Jonathan Sage-Martinson Director of Business and Workforce Development
The Green Institute in Minneapolis, MN, is an entrepreneurial environmental organization creating jobs, improving the quality of life, and enhancing the urban environment in inner city Minneapolis. When it built a new building — the Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center — to use as headquarters and to house other environmentally friendly organizations, it took full advantage of the energy efficiency and conservation technology currently available. For its efforts, the Green Institute received a year 2000 ENERGY STAR for small business Award.
Jonathan Sage-Martinson, the director of business and workforce development at the Institute, says that the organization’s energy saving strategies centered on three objectives: to be resource efficient, to promote energy efficiency, and to create a healthy and productive indoor environment. Achieving these objectives not only helped the Green Institute, but also the 13 other companies that lease space in the Institute’s building for offices and light manufacturing. Because of these strategies, the 63,590 sq. ft. building uses only about 55 percent of the energy of a comparable building built to code.
All of the energy saving systems in the Center were installed when the new six million dollar building was constructed. The Center uses highly efficient fluorescent lighting, including T-8s with electronic ballasts and compact fluorescent lamps. Occupancy sensors prevent waste by turning lights off in sections that are not being used. In addition, it uses an “active daylight system,” which includes a skylight with four mirrors that track the sun and reflects additional light into the building, and cuts down on the amount of electricity needed to power indoor lighting.
The Center uses a ground source heat pump system to heat and cool offices, which demonstrates that clean, “green” power from the Earth can help reduce the pollution caused by the generation of electricity.
In addition, the Center uses a highly efficient energy recovery ventilator to help retain some of the energy used in the building and a sophisticated energy management system to utilize energy-using equipment most efficiently. In addition, the Center has new high efficiency air-conditioning and heating systems using high efficiency fans and pump motors.
The Institute originated from an environmental justice movement against the siting of a solid waste transfer station in a residential area of South Minneapolis’ Phillips Neighborhood. After 12 years of resistance, neighborhood residents succeeded in preventing construction of the large facility.
Residents then directed their passion toward a more sustainable vision of community development. In 1993, neighborhood activist Annie Young and others formed the Green Institute. Program operations began in 1995 with the opening of the ReUse Center, a retail store providing quality salvaged building materials.
Today, the Green Institute employs 40 staff members and has an annual budget of $3.3 million. The Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center opened in Fall 1999, and is now home to many environmental industry firms and several non-profit organizations including the Green Institute.
For more information about the Green Institute, visit its Web site at http://www.greeninstitute.org.