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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Comprehensive Energy Savings Plan for State Facilities   

Last DSIRE Review: 11/06/2014
Program Overview:
State: Minnesota
Incentive Type: Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building, Custom/Others pending approval, Building and Systems Commissioning
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Passive Solar Space Heat, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal Heat Pumps, CHP/Cogeneration, Daylighting
Applicable Sectors: State Government
Goal:The goal of the B3 Guidelines is to create carbon free buildings in 2030.
Equipment/Products:Building operators must purchase Energy Star equipment and appliances for state buildings
All multifunctional devices must be Energy Star labeled by June 30, 2013
New buildings and renovations must incorporate cost-effective on-site renewable generation equipment
Requirement:New state construction and major renovations must exceed the energy code in effect in January 2004 by at least 30 percent.
Beginning July 1, 2010, new projects must comply with Sustainable Building 2030 guidelines, which are designed to achieve energy consumption reductions of 60% in 2010 (2003 baseline), increasing 10% every five years towards an ultimate target of 90% in 2025.
Projects beginning the Schematic Design phase on or after May 1, 2013 are required to use Version 2.2 of the B3 Guidelines.
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Minn. Stat. § 16B.32 et seq.
05/29/2001 (subsequently amended)
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Minn. Stat. § 216B.241(9)
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
Executive Order 11-12
Authority 4:
Date Enacted:
Executive Order 11-13
Authority 5:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
H.F. 1752

Minnesota has several energy efficiency policies for state buildings, dating back to 2001. In April 2011, Governor Dayton signed a series of Executive Orders which created a comprehensive energy savings plan for state facilities. In addition to creating several new initiatives, the Orders also incorporated existing energy efficiency and renewable energy statutes and programs.

Energy Reduction Requirements
Executive Order 11-12 set a goal of reducing energy use in state facilities by 20%. The Order does not set a deadline for reaching this goal, but sets deadlines for establishing benchmarks, goals, and implementation plans. Each agency must maintain its consumption data in the B3 Energy Benchmarking web site. By September 1, 2011, each agency was required consult with the Commissioners of Administration and Commerce to develop energy reduction goals through both energy efficiency improvements and on-site renewable energy installations. Executive Order 11-13 requires each agency to report on these goals to the Real Property Executive Committee and Commissioner of Administration in an annual Sustainability Plan. Each state agency must use the Guaranteed Energy Savings Contracts and State Energy Improvement Financing Program to implement cost-effective energy improvements. By December 31, 2011, all state agencies were required to assess their building automation systems and monitoring points in order to identify any necessary improvements or upgrades. Projects beginning the Schematic Design phase on or after May 1, 2013 are required to use Version 2.2 of the B3 Guidelines.

Executive Order 11-13 requires that all multifunctional devices on the state standards program be Energy Star labeled by June 30, 2013.

Sustainable Building Guidelines for New State Construction and Renovations
Construction of new state buildings in Minnesota is governed by a series of state laws enacted and amended at different times. In 2001, Minnesota required the Departments of Administration and Commerce to develop Sustainable Building Design Guidelines (Minn. Stat. 16B.325) for new state buildings. These guidelines are mandatory for new buildings funded fully or in part by state bond money after January 1, 2004, and major renovations funded from bond proceeds after January 1, 2009. Major renovations are defined to at a minimum encompass more than 10,000 square feet or involve the complete replacement of a mechanical, ventilation, or cooling system. The provision applying the law to major renovations was added in April 2008.

The guidelines require that projects exceed the January 2004 state energy code by 30 percent. In 2008, a separate section of the state code (Minn. Stat. 16B.32) law was amended to state that managers must supply 2% of a building's total energy use with on-site wind and solar power or supply a full cost and carbon analysis explaining why renewables would not be cost effective.* Noncompliance results in loss of any further state money for the project. The guidelines developed as a result of this law now contain the on-site generation requirement, as well as a rule requiring building operators to select new equipment and appliances that meet Energy Star criteria. This stipulation is meant to operate in addition to the 30% energy use reduction attributable to the building itself. Other portions of the guidelines address additional aspects of sustainability, such as water management, indoor air quality, and waste reduction. Building construction or renovations funded by state bonds may use up to 5% of the allotted funds for solar PV or solar thermal systems of less than 40 kilowatt (kW) capacity. Systems must be Made in Minnesota.

The Public Buildings Enhanced Energy Efficiency Program (PBEEEP) was launched in 2009 in order to provide assistance to state government buildings for recommissioning and retrofit projects. PBEEEP works with State Agencies to identify opportunities for energy savings, implement cost effective changes, identify funding mechanisms for the changes, and verify the effectiveness of the changes. Annual reports for this program are available on the Minnesota Department of Commerce web site.

Executive Order 11-12 (2011) requires agencies to perform an assessment of the cost-effectiveness of installing renewable energy generation equipment along with any major renovations in state-owned facilities.

Sustainable Building 2030 (SB 2030)
In May 2008 Minnesota enacted S.F. 2706, directing the Commerce Commissioner to contract with the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota and granting $500,000 annually to coordinate and implement the development of new Sustainable Building 2030 performance standards. At least $350,000 of this must be spent for subcontracts to undertake technical projects. These standards were designed to achieve energy consumption reductions of 60% in 2010 (2003 baseline), increasing 10% every five years towards an ultimate target of 90% in 2025. Beginning on July 1, 2010, all Minnesota State bonded projects — new and substantially renovated — that had not already started the Schematic Design Phase on August 1, 2009 were required to meet the Minnesota SB 2030 energy standards. The SB 2030 requirements will be incorporated into the existing Sustainable Building Design Guidelines developed prior to SB 2030.

Executive Order 11-13 (2011) incorporated SB 2030 into the new comprehensive energy savings plan.

* Minn. Stat. 16B.32 also requires that certain state building designs specifically evaluate the possibility of using active and passive solar systems and earth-sheltered construction in addition to the 2% on-site wind and solar provision. A separate section (Minn. Stat. 16B.326) requires the evaluation of geothermal and solar thermal applications for heating and cooling during pre-design review.

  Richard Strong
Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research (CBSR)
1425 University Avenue SE, Suite 115
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: (612) 626-2737
Fax: (612) 626-7424
Web Site:
  Energy Information Center
Minnesota Department of Commerce
Division of Energy Resources
85 7th Place East
Suite 500
St. Paul, MN 55101-2198
Phone: (800) 657-3710
Fax: (651) 539-0109
Web Site:
  General Inquiries
Public Buildings Enhanced Energy Efficiency Program
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

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