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Rec Center energy project pending approval

Ice arenas and recreation centers are massive users of energy.

The 99,000-square-foot Rochester Recreation center includes two ice arenas, a pool, gym and community meeting rooms. It also uses 3,426,917 kilowatts in energy per year.

As part of the remodel of the center, employees decided it was time for change.

City officials are patiently awaiting the decision from the State of Minnesota's Guaranteed Energy Savings Program on internal funding for a $2.2 million energy project for the recreation center.

The Recreation Center has been working since March 2015 under a joint powers agreement with the GESP.


In August of 2015, the Recreation center selected McInstry Consulting, one of the state's pre-qualified Energy Service Companies to complete an investment grade audit and project proposal.

"This project would save us over $100,000 annually," said Ed Staiert, REC center manager.

Since August of 2015, staff have spent considerable time with McInstry and GESP representatives working through the energy conservation measures.

Improvements can be classified into five different categories: resurfacing and refrigeration; building envelope; lighting; heating, dehumidification and ventilation; and low-cost or no cost efficiency improvements which, even with limited budgets can be implemented to begin saving money and energy.

McInstry has proposed a new ammonia refrigeration plant to maintain ice sheets, new low emissivity ceilings over each rink to reduce and reflect radiant heat load on ice sheets, a new building automation control system, improved dehumidification and heat recovery systems, REALice technology water deaerator to provide a lower temperature ice refinishing strategy and LED lighting.

They're expected to cut energy use by 22.7 percent.

This self-funding energy construction project is based on three parameters: a maximum project price of $2,192,733, a guaranteed annual energy savings of $106,598 and a project term of 15 years.

The funding for this project, if approved, will come from an interfund loan specifically from the Rochester City's Insurance Reserve Fund. The roughly $2.2 million project will pay for itself over a 15-year term using the guaranteed energy savings, realized post-retrofit.


The Rochester City Council and the Rochester Park Board approved the project. It has since been passed on for contract review and approval by the City Attorney and representatives of the State's Guaranteed Energy Savings Program.

"The GESP is trying to finalize the work order contract from McInstry," said Staiert. "It's in the States ballpark now."

The project is still pending that approval.

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