Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving energy

Hennepin County is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

The county’s vision is to provide reliable energy for the county’s operations while being environmentally and fiscally responsible. Hennepin County is unique in that it not only consumes energy but also produces it by operating a waste-to-energy facility, an energy center, and a solar array.

Buildings are the county’s primary consumer of energy, comprising 85 percent of the total energy used. The vehicle fleet comes in second, consuming 9 percent of energy.

The county’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rely on both reducing energy use and using cleaner energy by increasing energy efficiency and the generating renewable energy. The effort also includes high performance, more efficient vehicle fleet management and transportation practices and other targeted greenhouse gas emission reduction programs.

See Hennepin County taking action on climate change (PDF) to learn what the county is doing and what you can do.

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Progress toward goals

Greenhouse gas emission reduction goals

In 2007, 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
  • 80 percent by 2050

The county’s facility services department has also set a goal of reducing energy use by 20 percent from 2013 levels by 2020.

2015 goal achieved

Hennepin County achieved the 2015 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from county sources by 15 percent. Many factors contributed to the county's success, including:

  • Xcel Energy made efforts to provide cleaner electricity by increasing the use of renewable energy provided.
  • The county implemented numerous energy conservation and efficiency measures, including high-efficiency building design, recommissioning of buildings, upgrading lighting, installing building controls, and changing operation and maintenance efforts to reduce the total amount of energy consumed.

Learn more

View charts showing the county's progress (PDF) toward our greenhouse gas emissions reduction and energy reduction goals.

See our video about how we’re conserving energy in Hennepin County buildings (YouTube).

County-owned energy facilities

The county owns two facilities that generate energy.

Hennepin Energy Recovery Facility

The Hennepin Energy Recovery Facility (HERC) is a combined heat and power facility that exports approximately 31 megawatts to Xcel Energy’s power grid - enough to power 25,000 homes. HERC also provides steam to downtown district energy and Target Field.

Hennepin County Energy Center

The Hennepin County Energy Center provides steam and chilled water to the HCMC campus, six county buildings, and three private customers totaling over 6 million square feet of space. The Energy Center can produce 310,000 pounds of steam and nearly 16,000 tons of chilled water.

Solar array

Solar array at the Hennepin County Public Works Facility

The solar array on the roof of the Hennepin County Public Works Facility in Medina has more than 500 solar modules with an 80 kilowatts power output.

When it was installed in 2009, it was one of the largest solar photovoltaic solar installations in the upper Midwest.

The array supplies five percent of the building’s electrical needs annually. The system prevents 100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The solar modules are mounted on beams attached directly to the roof support structure, which enables future roof replacements and repairs without having to dismantle the array.

Learn more

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