Minnesota’s tallest building is launching an effort to reduce energy use.
The IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis was built in 1972, before the energy crisis of the 1970s. It’s made many energy improvements over the years, but the building’s owner, Accesso Partners LLC, wants to do more.
The company plans to recommission the building, during which it will test the heating, cooling and lighting systems to calculate optimal performance.
“Recommissioning is one of the best solutions for buildings to maintain their energy use, because recommissioning it its true definition is make what you have work more efficiently,” said Mark Hancock, who directs engineering services for the Center for Energy and Environment, which will oversee the new project. He said large buildings don’t have to invest in all new systems to reduce energy use.
The project will help offset increased energy demand from all the gadgets office workers have added since the skyscraper was built in 1972, before energy efficiency became a priority.
“The demand in the space has changed,” said Deb Kolar, the IDS Center’s general manager of operations. “For example, everybody has a computer. A lot of people now have two monitors. You have everybody plugging in their personal devices and those types of things.”
Kolar says the building has changed out lighting and upgraded its heating and cooling systems over the years. Still, she says overall energy use has been fairly flat because of increasing plug load.
Many of downtown Minneapolis’ buildings have done similar projects, Hancock said. The IDS Center hopes to reduce its energy use by up to 10 percent.
The IDS Center’s 57-story office tower is already certified by the federal Energy Star program with a score of 87, meaning it performs better than 87 percent of similar facilities nationwide. Both the Capella Tower and Wells Fargo Center were more efficient, with 2014 Energy Star scores of 95 and 91, respectively.
Minneapolis-St. Paul ranks 15th nationally for the number of Energy Star-certified buildings.
The city of Minneapolis in 2013 adopted an ordinance that requires large buildings to report their energy use to the city. A report on the program published in May showed that of the 146 largest properties in the city, 27 were high performers, 51 were above averages and 68 were below average.