University Communications

Energy Efficiency Gains

St. Cloud State makes dramatic gains in campus energy efficiency

Through strategic efficiency efforts, St. Cloud State University was able to achieve a reduction of Energy Use Intensity of 31% per square foot between 2009 to 2020. St. Cloud State is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and operates 3.2 million square feet of classrooms, labs, offices, residence halls, athletic facilities and more.

“Minnesota State, and its Board of Trustees, are committed to principles of environmental sustainability in the operation of our campuses and their academic and student support programs,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “We are proud of the progress our colleges and universities have made to improve energy use efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to do even more to protect Minnesota’s environment and natural resources.”

The reduction was achieved as a result of strategic efficiency efforts that have been ongoing since 2009. The strategies include the use of efficiency-related facilities planning guidelines, design and construction standards shaped by the Minnesota SB 2030 Energy Standard and B3 Guidelines, and energy conservation and procurement procedures that strive to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and provide long-term stewardship of campus and community resources. At St. Cloud State, some of those efforts have included:

  • Implementation of building automation systems and modern controls to align heating and cooling with building usage patterns
  • Conversion of our central heating plant to use natural gas instead of fuel oil
  • On-going upgrades to LED lighting
  • On-going upgrades to high-efficiency, low-flow plumbing fixtures to conserve water

Part of the sustainability efforts done at St. Cloud State included the renovation of Eastman Hall to serve as the Center for Health and Wellness Innovation with upgrades to the building’s heating and cooling system, electrical and plumbing systems and incorporated high-efficiency glass windows, insulation and durable finishes to help the building live into the future. As a state-funded project, the building was redesigned under Minnesota’s Buildings, Benchmarks and Beyond (B3) program to increase energy efficiency and sustainability.

Overall, the 54 campuses of Minnesota State, with facilities comprising a total of 28.5 million square feet, reduced Energy Use Intensity 19% from 2009 to 2020. Over 80% of Minnesota State campuses saw an overall reduction in Energy Use Intensity per square foot. Minnesota State is now working towards goals set by Executive Order for Minnesota’s cabinet level government agencies to reduce overall Energy Use Intensity 30% by 2027 based on an adjusted 2017 baseline.

Energy Use Intensity is a metric expressed as kBTU/sf/year that is used as an indicator of the energy efficiency of a building. In this analysis, data has been weather normalized to the baseline year to remove variations due to weather.

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