Mpls Convention Center Ready to Debut Record Setting Rooftop

The Minneapolis Convention Center downtown has recently earned some claim to fame with their rooftop that has installed 2,613 solar panels atop the building over the last few months. At the end of November the project will be wrapping up and it will be the largest solar photovoltaic system in the Upper Midwest, estimated to generate 750,000 killowatt hours of renewable energy per year.

27 thoughts on “Mpls Convention Center Ready to Debut Record Setting Rooftop

  1. Wondering

    That’s cool! Can anyone put “750,000 kilowatt hours” in terms someone like me can understand? Like will that cover all the hot water the center uses? Or will that make 750,000 cups of coffee?

  2. justpbob

    While some critics (you know who you are) may scoff at the modest amount of electricty this multi-million dollar project generates, I see it as a step in the right direction. Factor in Minnesota’s “25 by 25″ law, moving our electric utilities toward 25 percent renewable sources by 2025, and a number of metro-area power plants switching to cleaner-burning fuels, and the solar panels are just another pellet of “silver buckshot” blowing a big hole in our dirty energy staus quo, baby.

  3. justpbob

    If they have not done so yet — and I suspect they have — the Convention Center should revisit their lighting and HVAC systems for possible conservation/energy savings.
    Conservation (or building green from ground up) should be the first step in any commercial or residential energy project.
    I’m trying to seave watts at Stately Moffitt Manor. We are doing same at the Lung. How about you, gentle MNSpeakers? What are you doing at home or work to save energy?

  4. Dougie_D

    I’ve heard that new windows are a terrible investment that would take more than your life time to recoup on the saved energy costs if you just factor in cost versus savings.  There are intangibles but if you spend lets say $5000 on windows and in decreases your energy costs $50 a month for 5 months a year that is only $250 a year.  So you would recoup that $5000 in 20 years.  If you buy Anderson windows and you have a big house it might be more like $20K.

  5. kwatt

    I thought I read somewhere recently this ran a massive cost overrun and would generate less than 5 percent of the convention center’s energy?

  6. Rat

    We’re four windows away from a complete fillout with Renewal windows. The house is cozier. My wife is more diligent calculating those sorts of things and she says we’re saving a little on the gas. But I doubt it makes that much of a difference. 

  7. justpbob

    Dougie_D, Rat: I wonder how much value newer windows adds to a home? In any case, we replaced all of ours some years ago. Expensive? Very, but the Manor is less drafty and the windows much easier to clean. The new windows cut down on outdoor noise, too, an unexpected bonus.

  8. Dougie_D

    And haven’t you heard?  We’re sitting on twice the amount of natural gas in the US than all the crude in Saudi Arabia.  Cheap heating with gas is in the cards for quite a while.  I stopped worrying about the future generations when everyone else did.

  9. jane

    I wondered about the real savings, but I got a massive price reduction (long story, but about 45% off). Not a single one of my old windows worked properly. Now they open! all the way! without being propped! And while not beautiful, they look a lot better than the old ones. Things like this offset the possibility I’m not really saving any $$ or being more energy efficient :)

  10. Rat

    I think newer windows would probably help you sell the house easier. But if you look at stories about the most valuable improvements you can make on a house, windows seem to always be somewhere in the middle. 

  11. Dougie_D

    Bob I don’t think new windows add much to the value of a home.  All houses need windows so if you got’em your set.  Nearly impossible to find unbiased options on this subject it seems.  Go figure window replacement firms say it adds value to your home.  It probably does to some extent but I would bet you add just as much value with inexpensive replacement windows as you would with Anderson or Pella.

  12. Erica M

    Saw the new solar cells while attending a wedding in the rooftop dome of the Millennium Hotel. Wouldn’t have even noticed if I hadn’t just read about the project. I just spent my MAC money reconditioning half the windows in my house. I haven’t lived in it long enough or through a winter to put numbers to the difference, but they’re definitely cozier and it was about one third the cost of new windows. We still put plastic up over the windows. The doorways, on the other hand…

  13. Dougie_D

    I do have to say that new windows are certainly nice to have.  I live in a older home (1920’s) and it had newer double hung insulated windows installed and they are nice.  I think the walls leak more than the windows.  If you are talking comfort and convenience how can you put a price on that?
    I just don’t think they actually add a lot of re-sale value or energy savings versus cost. 

  14. jane

    Dougie_D, totally agree on the inexpensive ones adding almost as much value as Pella or Anderson. I figure all new windows in 2010, packs a punch, and who cares what brand.

  15. justpbob

    Not quite everyone has stopped worrying about future generations, Dougie_D. In fact, I worry about our own generation.

  16. Dougie_D

    I’m all for solar and will likely invest in some panels for the garage once the economies of scale bring the prices down.

  17. Dougie_D

    justpbob, I’m done worrying about other people.  Our economy has collapsed and will never support the number of jobs needed for unemployment at the 6% range ever again.  The companies have found they can do the same amount of work with way fewer people.  I would say the new normal for unemployment is probably somewhere around 8%.  If you want to use that phony number that excludes anyone that can no longer receive benefits.

  18. kc!

    New windows, I have them. And worth every penny for the noise reduction, being able open and close them, and the small energy savings.  The one room that has insulation is much cozier now. The other rooms without insulation are at least quieter.
    Tomorrow I’m getting a home energy audit. It won’t be pretty, but hopefully I’ll come out with some good cheaper cost savings measures. Not just “you need a new furnace.” I know I need a new furnace. I also know I need to insulate my house. Those are cost prohibitive.
    And since CJ moved out, I’ve lowered both my water consumption and electricity consumption drastically.

  19. Dougie_D

    kc!,  I just helped out implementing some of the energy audit recommendations and the report they had was pretty good detailing everything from reventing fireplaces to sealing up around ceiling penetrations.  This house was in pretty good shape to start with being more recent construction and they probably could have saved quite a bit just turning off the heated floors in the bathrooms they rarely go into.

  20. justpbob

    I wish my home’s HVAC system was built so I could take avantage of zoning. If I ever build a new home, it will have it.
    Dougie D is right, KC! There may still be things you can do that don’t break your budget. Are they going to do a blower door test?

  21. Dougie_D

    My house has some dampers to redirect the air flow in the ducting but when you only have 425 SF it doesn’t make a ton of difference.

  22. g rote

    If they can cover the Mpls Convention Center with solar panels, why the hell can’t they fill the goddamned thing with conventions between DEC and APR?

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