This summer, the Minnesota Environmental Board (EQB) released the Climate Solutions and Economic Opportunities Report (CSEO Report), laying out the need to expand Minnesota’s “zero energy” building code, Sustainable Buildings 2030 (SB 2030).
- SB 2030 is an initiative to make all newly constructed and renovated buildings carbon neutral by 2030.
- It is a voluntary program for private Minnesota buildings as well as a requirement for all buildings receiving general obligation bond funding.
- This energy standard has led to an approximate savings of 534 billion BTUs and $8.3 million per year compared to the minimum energy code requirements.
The CSEO Report examined an array of policy options across sectors to measure how successfully each option would meet the state’s climate goals. Additionally this report estimated how cost effective these policy options and how they would create local jobs. The projected saving from the expanded SB 2030 energy standard is second to only raising the Renewable Energy Standard to 50 percent. Moreover, it was shown to be the most cost effective policy recommendation as well as create the most jobs. In its current state, this program has already produced impressive results.
Background on buildings
Buildings account for 40 percent of overall Minnesota energy consumption. Reflecting the goals of the Architecture 2030, SB 2030 is an initiative to make all newly constructed and renovated state buildings carbon neutral by 2030 by comparing buildings to a 2003 Minnesota building stock baseline.
For all projects built after 2010, buildings meeting the SB 2030 standard would be 60 percent more efficient than an average building – ramping up 10 percent every five years until reaching net zero in 2030.
More on SB 2030
The standard includes a cost-effective test to ensure that energy efficiency is obtained in an economical manner. The cost-effective process allows a project to be considered compliant if it can demonstrate that it has included all available energy efficiency measures with up to a 15-year payback. In 2009, a Center for the Energy and the Environment (CEE) study showed that SB 2030 energy standard is cost effective in essentially every building type.
In addition to the design elements, SB 2030 has a few other features to ensure that buildings are meeting their projected savings and best practices are shared between projects. Educational programs for buildings designers and a case study database enable successes to be easily shared in the architectural design community.
Furthermore, energy use data is also collected as part of the B3 benchmarking process to ensure the buildings are meeting their predicted efficiency. With the current buildings in the program, SB 2030 is forecasted to save an impressive 534 billion BTUs and $8.3 million per year. As more buildings join the program, the annual savings will increase as well. Of the 93 buildings enrolled, 28 have voluntary committed to the program while 65 are state-required buildings. Through 2016, 90 percent of the buildings involved are expected to meet the standard.