Welcome to Energy-Smart at DNR!

campsite in Burtside State Forest in the fall.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) focuses on safely accomplishing our critical mission. Within the context of how we do that work, we also continuously improve our own environmental performance. The DNR’s natural resource mission makes sustainable operations a natural fit in the way we do business.

The Office of Enterprise Sustainability was created in 2017 to guide and coordinate all state Government sustainability work.  There are six areas of focus, along with targets and reporting systems established for all state agencies.

  • Waste (waste reduction and recycling)
  • Water (efficiency and conservation)
  • Facility Energy Use (energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy)
  • Fleet Energy Use (fuel efficiency, conservation and non-petroleum fuels)
  • Greenhouse Gases (measurement and reduction)
  • Procurement (targeted green product purchasing)

We are actively engaged with all other state agencies in addressing our energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, water use, waste management and the indirect impacts of our purchasing.

The DNR has 28 sites with renewable energy installations. Most of those are photovoltaic installations that use sunlight to generate electrical power and multiple sites use roof-mounted solar hot water heaters to heat campground shower water, saving the cost and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

All Renewable Energy Activity at DNR

Consumption vs. Production

This graph shows all renewable energy activity at the DNR.


Chart data tables: day, week, month, year.

Here is an explanation of the different bars in the Consumption vs. Production graph:

Generated & Consumed
This is the amount of electrical energy that was generated by the renewable energy installation (photovoltaic or wind) and used to operate the facility.

Generated & Sold
This is the amount of electrical energy that was generated but not used, and was sold to the local electric utility grid.

Note: Technically, the excess energy is not actually sold. The dollar value of the excess energy is credited to the DNR facility's account. When the monthly electric bill is calculated, the amount due is reduced by the credited amount.

This is the energy that is purchased by the facility from the local electric grid when not enough energy is generated on-site. There may be days or weeks when there is no need to purchase energy, but over time most facilities do not generate all the energy they need.


solar thermal: A process for collecting solar energy and using it for thermal (heat) energy. Solar thermal collectors are generally simpler than solar electric panels, and make more efficient use of solar energy.
photovoltaic: A process for generating electricity from sunlight, commonly used in solar panels.