Two Twin Cities green landmarks on tour: The Green Institute & District Energy


by Dan Thiede, Metro CERTs • 08/22/2008 • From 1:30-2:30pm our group toured The Green Institute’s Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center. The Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center (PEEC) is The Green Institute’s flagship and a national model of comprehensive sustainable design. The building was a pilot for and helped inform the creation of the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (USGBC’s LEED), which has in the last ten years risen within the green building movement as the preeminent national green building standard.

The Green Institute had five main goals in mind when planning PEEC:
– Goal 1: Ensure Occupant Health
– Goal 2: Reduce Energy Load
– Goal 3: Use High Quality Salvaged and Recycled Materials
– Goal 4: Restore Native Landscape and Conserve Water
– Goal 5: Advanced Design

CERTs Members Enjoy PEEC’s Green Rooftop Features of the Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center include geo-exchange heating and cooling, energy recovery ventilation, solar PV, active daylighting, energy management system, green roof, 100% stormwater retention, low-emission coatings, and salvaged and recycled materials used in construction.

To learn more about the Green Institute and Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center, visit The Green Institute’s brand new Web siteor read a CERTs case study about PEEC’s green a CERTs case study about PEEC’s green rooftop

District Energy

From 3:00–4:00pm we toured District Energy in St. Paul. Launched as a demonstration project in 1983, District Energy was Saint Paul’s response to the energy crises of the mid- and late-1970s. The venture was a public/private partnership among the City of Saint Paul, State of Minnesota, U.S. Department of Energy and the downtown business community, all of whom wanted to prove the viability of a hot water district heating system in a state with cold winters. In 2003, District Energy became a green energy service provider following construction of an affiliated combined heat and power (CHP) plant that is fueled by a renewable resource—clean, urban wood waste. Using renewable energy, the CHP plant simultaneously produces about 65 megawatts of thermal energy for District Energy and 25 megawatts of electricity for Xcel Energy. It is the largest wood-fired CHP plant serving a district energy system in the nation.

District Energy currently heats more than 185 buildings and 300 single-family homes (31.1 million square feet) and cools more than 95 buildings (18.8 million square feet) in downtown Saint Paul and adjacent areas. Its cooling system includes two chilled water storage tanks that hold 6.5 million gallons of water chilled at night, during off-peak electrical hours, for consumer use during the day. Customers enjoy stable rates, unsurpassed reliability and energy efficient heating and cooling service.

To learn more, visit
District Energy’s Web site
or read a read a CERTs case study on the facility.