Energy-Smart strategies at DNR

The implementation of the DNR Energy-Smart program is guided by our Five Year Sustainability Plan . This plan takes a comprehensive approach to pursuing energy conservation and has set aggressive goals for securing a more sustainable future through greater use of clean energy and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions throughout our agency.

Energy profile

The Minnesota DNR manages a large portfolio of buildings, equipment, and energy transactions:

  • Over 3.5 million square feet of space in 2,800 buildings ranging in size from 120,000 sq ft to 12 sq ft.
  • Over 2,600 vehicles and thousands of other fuel consuming devices like outboard motors, chainsaws, generators, etc.
  • Hundreds of points of energy consumption not associated with buildings like remote security lights and dike pumps.
  • Over 67,000 fleet fuel card transactions and 12,000 utility energy bills per year. 

Energy charts

These charts show DNR’s energy use since 2005.  Total energy spending in calendar year (CY) 2012 was $7.2 million, with two thirds of that being spent on fleet fuel.  While electricity is 20% of spending it accounts for about 50% of DNR’s carbon emissions due to the coal fired generating plants that supply most of Minnesota’s electricity.  Total carbon emissions have been falling since 2008 and should continue to fall if the DNR can reduce its appetite for energy.  The DNR’s total energy usage has been falling since 2008 and will have to decrease about 4% per year through 2015 to hit our Executive Order 11-12 targets.  This will be the most challenging target to hit and will require moving all the levers available to the DNR:

  • Reductions in fleet fuel consumption from higher mileage/alternative fuel vehicles and technology improvements
  • Energy efficiency improvements in existing buildings
  • Highly energy efficient new buildings that approach net-zero energy consumption
  • Installation of 125 KW of on-site renewable energy generation each year
  • Site Sustainability Teams that provide increased awareness and focus on energy efficient behaviors.

Click to enlarge charts:

CY 2012 Energy by Source


DNR Total Energy Usage


CY 2012 Emissions by Source


DNR Total Carbon Emissions



Energy scorecard

You can't manage what you don't measure.  It’s an old management adage that is still accurate today. Unless you measure something you don't know if it is getting better or worse. You can't manage for improvement if you don't measure to see what is getting better and what isn't. 
The DNR  Energy team has developed an Energy Scorecard  that tracks total energy usage by site use across the agency. This scorecard will enable sites to target and track the best opportunities to reduce energy use in buildings, fleet and equipment. In CY 2012, employees were reimbursed $635,000 for miles driven in their personal vehicles for DNR business purposes.  While the greenhouse gas emissions from personal vehicles is outside the scope of DNR’s carbon footprint, the Energy Scorecard includes this spending to enable additional opportunities to reduce total energy costs.
The scorecard will be published each quarter and employs a simple green/yellow/red evaluation system:

  • Green = energy used in the quarter is at least 1% less than the same quarter of the prior year
  • Yellow = energy use has been reduced less than 1% versus the same quarter of the prior year
  • Red = energy use is greater than the same quarter of the prior year.

The Energy Scorecard reports energy spending but does not evaluate it on a green/yellow/red basis because DNR has very little control of energy prices.

Energy is reported in units of “million BTUs” or MMBTU.  This unit of measure provides the ability to compare the usage of different forms of energy.  For example, one million BTU equates to about:

  • 293 kWh of electricity
  • 10 therms of natural gas
  • 11 gallons of propane
  • 120 pounds of wood pellets
  • 7 gallons of fuel oil or diesel fuel
  • 8 gallons of gasoline.

Each quarter the DNR reviews their scorecard performance and identify success stories and opportunities for improvement.  Twice each year the DNR Senior Management Team conducts a formal Energy Performance Review to discuss progress toward reducing energy usage and costs.

Open the Energy Scorecard to learn more