USGBC Minnesota advocates for green buildings
USGBC Minnesota had a productive day of advocacy on March 9 at the State Capitol.
On March 9, more than 30 USGBC Minnesota architects, contractors, LEED professionals and community leaders gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol to stress the importance of energy-efficient, cost-effective and healthy buildings with our state legislators.
USGBC Minnesota is supporting key bills this year, including the Schools Energy Efficiency Bill that we helped create (HF1727/SF1510), which is slated to increase the state’s Renewable Energy Standard to 50 percent (HF1772/SF1531), and a Farm to Schools bill providing administrative support to bring local, healthy foods to schools (HF2049/SF1657).
Our big win of the day was learning the Energy Efficient Schools Bill (SF1510) that USGBC Minnesota has been working on was laid over by the Senate E-12 Policy Committee and may be considered for an Education Policy Omnibus bill. This legislation would require that all Minnesota K–12 public schools maintain monthly energy utility data in the state’s B3 Benchmarking system, creating the potential for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost savings for schools.
Highlights of the day included a visit to the rotunda by Sen. Erik Simonson (pictured), (DFL), District 07, who spoke on the value of good energy codes. “If we can invest $10 today in creating efficient buildings, the savings will be so much bigger than $10 down the line,” Simonson stated.
Alison Lindberg, building energy policy manager with the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, shared with our group the potential of significant energy savings that can result from building benchmarking, stressing that “Benchmarking energy use in public buildings makes sure that tax dollars are spent wisely."
Sheri Brezinka, Minnesota’s director of community, and Jeremy Sigmon, director technical policy, both of USGBC, were on hand to share the important work USGBC is doing to advance green building both on the local and national levels.
USGBC prepared volunteers with exciting figures about Minnesota’s bustling green building economy. From 2015–2018, green construction in Minnesota is expected to contribute more than $15 billion to the state’s economy and support 180,000+ jobs that will earn Minnesotans more than $10 billion in labor earnings. LEED project activity in Minnesota is expected to account for about one-third of these economic impacts. (See state stats and project collections).
Before heading out to scheduled meetings with legislators, Rep. Ray Dehn, District 59B, shared tips on how individuals can effectively communicate their message with legislators. Kimberly Sandbulte, project architect with HGA Architects, provided a guided tour of the newly renovated Capitol building.
Thank you to all of our USGBC advocates who attended—the day could not have been more successful.