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Saint Paul RiverCentre, Xcel Energy Center Score Sustainability Hat Trick

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

The Saint Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center, home of the National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild, have been certified to three international sustainability standards - LEED, Green Globes and APEX/ASTM - making it the first complex in the world to receive those three designations. Together, these certifications signify that the venues have a high-performance operation that actively works to minimize its environmental impact.

Each certification requires a comprehensive auditing of organizational environmental practices and procedures and compliance with a stringent set of preset standards. Xcel Energy Center is the only NHL arena in the U.S. (second in League) that is LEED Certified as an existing building. It's the first in the world to be certified Green Globes and APEX/ASTM. Saint Paul RiverCentre is one of less than 20 convention centers in the nation to be LEED Certified as an existing building; first in the world to be certified Green Globes, and 11th worldwide to receive APEX/ASTM certification.

"To have all of these venues certified by three respected, independent environmental organizations feels truly incredible," said Jim Ibister, Vice President of Administration for the Minnesota Wild and General Manager of Saint Paul RiverCentre. "It's certainly not the finish line; we want to continue making progress and share what we've learned to help others."

Over the past five years, the Wild's facility management company, which operates Xcel Energy Center and Saint Paul RiverCentre (including The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium), transformed its operational procedures in order to reduce overall environmental impact. The changes were comprehensive and involved modifications to processes, purchasing decisions and routine operational practices, in addition to upgrading fixtures and equipment. The initiative began with waste reduction and recycling. Then, energy efficiencies and renewable energy technologies were added. Water conservation and environmentally-friendly purchasing efforts completed the plan.

"Building operations are nearly 40 percent of the solution to the global climate change challenge," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "While climate change is a global problem, innovative companies like the Minnesota Wild are addressing it through local solutions."

The specific certifications are:

LEED Certified as an Existing Building for Operations and Maintenance (US Green Buildings Council)

Green Globes Certified for Continuous Improvement of Existing Buildings (3 out of 4 globes)

APEX/ASTM Certified as a Venue for Sustainable Events (Green Meeting Industry Council)

Roughly one percent of buildings in the U.S. are LEED Certified.* Of those, 85 percent are certified for new construction. Xcel Energy Center opened in 2000; Saint Paul RiverCentre in 1998 and the accompanying Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium was erected in 1932.

"This is an amazing accomplishment for the Saint Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center," said Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. "These changes are not only conserving water and energy and reducing waste - they are setting an example for the millions of visitors that experience this sustainability firsthand."

The achievements are the result of an overall goal originally set in 2009 by Saint Paul RiverCentre to become a regional leader in sustainability. When the program began, the annual recycling rate was 15 percent. Today, the entire complex is recycling 60 percent of the two million pounds of waste generated on average each year.

The organization is now a Top 5 purchaser of wind power in Minnesota through Xcel Energy, who has also provided over $200,000 in rebates for energy efficiency upgrades at the facility. The complex has benefited from a strong, long-term energy efficiency partnership with Xcel Energy. RiverCentre's rooftop solar thermal array installed, owned and operated by District Energy St. Paul was the first in the United States to integrate solar thermal into a district heating system. A dedicated microsite features a comprehensive look at the program and results to date.

* Source: U.S. Green Building Council

About the U.S. Green Building Council

About the Green Meeting Industry Council

About Green Globes

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