Hennepin County is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050 as part of the Cool County Initiative.
In 2007, Hennepin County became a founding member of a coalition of counties across the United States that are taking action to eliminate the causes of global climate change. The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners adopted goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 15 percent by 2015, 25 percent by 2025, and 80 percent by 2050.
The initiative relies on reducing energy use and using cleaner energy by increasing energy efficiency and the generating renewable energy. The effort also includes green building design, more efficient vehicle fleet management and transportation practices and other targeted greenhouse gas emission reduction programs.
Progress toward 2015 goal
Hennepin County achieved the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from county sources by 15 percent by 2015.
Many factors contributed to the county's success. One important factor was efforts by Xcel Energy to provide cleaner electricity by increasing the use of renewable energy provided. The county also implemented numerous energy conservation and efficiency measures to reduce the total amount of energy consumed. For example, although the county manages more square feet of building space today than it did ten years ago, total energy consumed in county-owned facilities has decreased.
It's important to note that although weather influences the total number of heating and cooling degree days in a year, this metric has fluctuated over the past decade and generally did not contribute to achieving the 2015 goal. Efforts by Xcel Energy to reduce fossil fuel use and conservation measures implemented by the county had a more significant impact on achieving the emission-reduction goal.
See carbon dioxide emissions from Hennepin County emissions from 2005 - 2015 (JPG).