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DMCC enters energy initiative with McKnight

The Destination Medical Center Corp. board of directors made it clear that innovative energy and sustainability solutions will be an integral part of the coming Destination Medical Center developments.

At a Thursday meeting, the board agreed to pursue a sustainability and energy initiative laid out by the Center for Energy and Environment, a grantee of The McKnight Foundation .

The Center for Energy and Environment , with the help of consultant Ever-Green Energy , will conduct stakeholder interviews, evaluate available local data and, in September, organize a public workshop to identify energy efficiency opportunities.

The work will focus on two of the DMCC board's priority projects in 2016: Discovery Square and Heart of the City, two key districts identified in the DMC development plan.

Leadership members from the partnering organizations were enthusiastic about the possibilities in making Rochester and its DMC developments leaders in energy efficiency.


"What is so exciting about this project is the opportunity to do that at an amazing scale of impact," said The McKnight Foundation President Kate Wolford.

The Center for Energy and Environment's goals will be to formulate options for advancing energy and climate goals; to coordinate an energy infrastructure strategy and operating principles; and to identify metrics by which benefits can be measured, said Center for Energy and Enironment President Sheldon Strom.

DMCC board member R.T. Rybak challenged the group to go even further, to push its energy influence beyond DMC projects to include the people who work and live in Rochester.

"I want to challenge us to consider whether that is too narrow a focus," Rybak said. "When we have talked about this, we have recognized that this project can not only help make the Destination Medical Center projects … better, but really be transformational for the people who live and work here."

Rybak asked how the two areas of focus — Heart of the City and Discovery Square — could act as catalysts for change throughout the city.

DMCC board member Jim Bier encouraged the board to focus on its priorities and let others follow the example it would set.

"I think we need to lead where we can lead and advocate where we can advocate," Bier said. "I think the best way, in my opinion, is for us to focus on Discovery Square and Heart of the City; people will see how successful that is … so they'll get some good ideas, hopefully, and work with it."

Pieces are in place for the DMC projects to lead a charge of energy efficiency in the city, explained Strom. The city of Rochester is working on its own energy efficiency plan. The city operates a municipal utility, and key partnerships are already in place.


"You've got a great advantage because you've got so many willing partners — Mayo (Clinic), (Rochester Public Utilities), city of Rochester, (city) Energy Commission, environmentalists. I think everybody is moving in the same direction here, and you've got an opportunity to really do something unique," Strom said.

Funding for the initiative to take place is provided through The McKnight Foundation.

Strom and Ever-Green President Ken Smith said a report and summary of interviews, evaluation and workshop feedback would be delivered to the DMCC board at its October meeting.

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