In addition to using sustainable structures and vehicles, the DNR is working to reduce energy consumption at all its facilities. The new office building at Camden State Park is a great example of the DNR’s strategy to combine renewable energy production and conservation. With a wind-powered turbine to generate electricity, and energy conservation strategies throughout the office’s construction, Camden represents the DNR’s commitment to sustainability and employs numerous techniques for reducing the environmental impact of park structures.
New construction and renovation
New DNR sites are designed with energy conservation in mind, and renovations make existing structures into sustainable facilities, even recycling building materials. The Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines offer a minimum standard for new DNR construction, built to leave the smallest environmental footprint. New park structures such as Camden, built in 2009, use these techniques. Renovated structures use these also, whenever possible.
Heating and Cooling
- Energy-efficient windows let in natural light, but keep cold and heat outside.
- 7-inch thick walls have insulation that exceeds the Minnesota building code standards by 40% and reduces the need to use energy in heating and cooling.
- Geothermal heating and cooling uses energy from the earth, reducing the need for fossil fuels.
- Passive and LED lighting reduce energy consumption.
- Energy-efficient fluorescent light fixtures with light and motion sensors automatically dim on sunny days, and shut off when rooms are not in use.
- Photo sensor controls on outdoor lights make sure they're only on when they're needed.
- Night sky-friendly light fixtures reduce light pollution.
Whether in new construction or old, energy-conscious behaviors, such as turning computers off at the end of shifts and using energy-efficient appliances, have an impact on energy consumption. DNR Energy-Smart strategies encourage staff to consider energy in terms of cost, carbon emissions, and operational efficiency. The DNR publishes an Energy Scorecard each quarter that shows the total facility and fleet energy usage for each site. DNR Site Energy Teams use the scorecard to help identify improvement opportunities and track their progress toward reducing their energy usage 20% by the end of 2015.