Saint Paul RiverCentre And Xcel Energy Center Complex First In The World To Be LEED, Green Globes, APEX/ASTM Certified

Posted by Heidi SchwartzMinnesota's green stadiums.

The Saint Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center, home of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild, have been certified to three international sustainability standards—LEED, Green Globes, and APEX/ASTM—making it the first complex in the world to receive those three designations. Together, these certifications signify that the venues have a high-performance operation that actively works to minimize its environmental impact.

Each certification requires a comprehensive auditing of organizational environmental practices and procedures and compliance with a stringent set of preset standards. Xcel Energy Center is the only National Hockey League (NHL) arena in the U.S. (second in League) that is LEED Certified as an existing building. It’s the first in the world to be certified Green Globes and APEX/ASTM. Saint Paul RiverCentre is one of less than 20 convention centers in the nation to be LEED Certified as an existing building; first in the world to be certified Green Globes, and 11th worldwide to receive APEX/ASTM certification.

“To have all of these venues certified by three respected, independent environmental organizations feels truly incredible,” said Jim Ibister, Vice President of Administration for the Minnesota Wild and General Manager of Saint Paul RiverCentre. “It’s certainly not the finish line; we want to continue making progress and share what we’ve learned to help others.”

Over the past five years, the Minnesota Wild’s facility management company, which operates Xcel Energy Center and Saint Paul RiverCentre, transformed its operational procedures in order to reduce overall environmental impact. The changes were comprehensive and involved modifications to processes, purchasing decisions, and routine operational practices, in addition to upgrading fixtures and equipment.

The initiative began with waste reduction and recycling. Then, energy efficiencies and renewable energy technologies were added. Water conservation and environmentally friendly purchasing efforts completed the plan.

The specific certifications are:

  • LEED Certified as an Existing Building for Operations and Maintenance (U.S. Green Building Council)
  • Green Globes Certified for Continuous Improvement of Existing Buildings (three out of four globes)
  • APEX/ASTM Certified as a Venue for Sustainable Events (Green Meeting Industry Council)

Roughly 1% of buildings in the U.S. are LEED Certified.* Of those, 85% are certified for new construction. Xcel Energy Center opened in 2000; Saint Paul RiverCentre in 1998 (the accompanying Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium was erected in 1932).

“This is an amazing accomplishment for the Saint Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center,” said Saint PaulMayor Chris Coleman. “These changes are not only conserving water and energy and reducing waste—they are setting an example for the millions of visitors that experience this sustainability firsthand.”

The achievements are the result of an overall goal originally set in 2009 by Saint Paul RiverCentre to become a regional leader in sustainability. When the program began, the annual recycling rate was 15%. Today, the entire complex is recycling 60% of the two million pounds of waste generated on average each year.

The organization is now a top five purchaser of wind power in Minnesota through Xcel Energy, who has also provided over $200,000 in rebates for energy efficiency upgrades at the facility. The complex has benefited from a strong, long-term energy efficiency partnership with Xcel Energy. RiverCentre’s rooftop solar thermal array installed and operated by District Energy was the first in the United States to integrate solar thermal into a district heating system. A dedicated microsite features a comprehensive look at the program and results to date.

* Source: U.S. Green Building Council