Campus and Community Challenges on Track to Surpass Energy-Savings Goals
Thanks to accepting a challenge from their electric utility, Otter Tail Power Company, the Crookston campus of the University of Minnesota and the rural community of Rothsay in northwestern Minnesota are both on track to cutting their electricity use by more than 15 percent by 2015.
The Fergus Falls, Minnesota-based electric utility, which provides electricity and energy services to more than a quarter million people in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, put out the challenge in 2009. Otter Tail Power Company believed that the students, faculty, and staff of the Crookston campus, and the residents, school, and businesses of Rothsay, could cut overall electricity use by 10 percent to 15 percent by 2015. And to help, Otter Tail Power Company was prepared to offer education, access to more energy-efficient technologies, and the inspiration needed for both groups to modify the way they used energy.
The campus has achieved much of its savings from upgrading campus lighting and installing automated controls on variable-frequency drives for some of the ventilation systems. Otter Tail Power Company provided energy audits to identify high-level savings projects. The utility also gave the school more than $86,000 in grants and rebates to encourage the investments.
The school also took a number of proactive steps on their own to save energy, such as shutting off more lights that were not needed, closing shades during hot afternoons, and reducing heating levels in certain areas.
The Rothsay Public School, along with the town’s residents and businesses, has achieved more than half of their cumulative savings from behavioral changes. Otter Tail Power Company supplied almost $117,000 in rebates for energy-efficient lighting and technology improvements.
The Dean of Students/Principal at the school believes that Otter Tail Power Company’s Community Energy Challenge has been an excellent program—both in creating a new sense of awareness regarding energy use throughout the community, and in developing a new approach to hands-on learning for their faculty, staff, and students.
Otter Tail Power Company is a subsidiary of Otter Tail Corporation. To learn more about Otter Tail Power Company, please visit www.otpco.com. To learn more about the Energy Challenges, visit www.EnergyChallengeIsOn.com.
Otter Tail Power Company Pays It Forward
As part of its year-long 100th anniversary celebration, Otter Tail Power Company is coordinating a pay-it-forward project in each of the three states it serves—Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Otter Tail Power Company is headquartered in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and provides electricity and energy services to nearly a quarter million people in the three states.
According to the company, to pay it forward means that when you receive a thoughtful gift or gesture you return the kindness by giving to others. Each project Otter Tail Power Company is undertaking will help to improve the quality of life in the areas in which they do business. The projects include elements of environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic impact to reinforce the company’s commitment to its customers.
Otter Tail Power Company’s pay-it-forward project in Minnesota is the Community Energy Challenge in Rothsay. Residents and businesses there will receive energy audits, rebates, grants, and other energy-efficiency incentives. One homeowner will receive a free energy makeover valued at $12,000. The company’s goal is to save between 10 percent and 15 percent of the community’s energy use. Students in the community will play a leadership role to accomplish that goal. The Community Energy Challenge is the company's unique way to encourage greater understanding that the choices people make about their energy lifestyles and technology selection impact everyone.
For North Dakota, Otter Tail Power Company contributed financial support and technical advice toward constructing an energy-efficient solarium/greenhouse on the Anne Carlsen Center campus in Jamestown. The Anne Carlsen Center provides residential, therapeutic, and education services for children and young adults with disabilities and conditions that include autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, and medical fragility. Its staff also provides compassion, training, services, and support in homes and communities across North Dakota.
The building is a gathering place where students share lessons in science, math, and language; celebrate the environment by planting, tending, and harvesting flowers, fruits, and vegetables; and practice energy conservation with proper insulation, a super-efficient air-source heat pump, and a thermal-storage underfloor heating system.
In South Dakota, Otter Tail Power Company contributed furnishings and technology for two local organizations—the Northeast South Dakota Community Action Program (NESDCAP) and the Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation (NESDEC). With the community rooms of these organizations equipped with everything from new tables, chairs, information credenzas, and computer carts to conference phones and video-conferencing technology, NESDCAP and NESDEC now are more prepared to serve the economic, environmental, and social needs of organizations in this region.
In addition to these events, Otter Tail Power Company is hosting open house celebrations at each of its customer service centers and is offering appearances of its “Ollie the Otter” mascot, holding employee celebrations, and conducting book signings of its Ollie’s Otter Tail River Adventure children’s book.
To learn more about these projects, please visit Otter Tail Power Company’s web site at www.otpco100.com.