Sustainability succeeding at Saint Paul RiverCentre and XCel Engery Center

Annual Report shows weight of trash reduced by the equivalent of 167 Zambonis®

Officials at Saint Paul RiverCentre, in partnership with Xcel Energy Center, today released their first annual sustainability report. Against aggressive goals, great progress has been made. One year into the “50-50 in 2” waste reduction initiative, trash campus-wide has been reduced by 48 percent (1.1 million pounds, equal to the weight of 167 Zamboni® machines) and the recycling rate has jumped to 41 percent from its benchmark rate of 15 percent. The goal of the two-year initiative is to reduce the amount of trash generated at the facilities by 50 percent while increasing the recycling rate to 50 percent. 
Saint Paul RiverCentre is one of the first convention centers in the nation to compost in public areas. Composting was quickly adopted by employees and guests and became the second-largest recycled item on campus, amounting to 122 tons in 12 months.  Comparatively, 156 tons of cardboard and paper and 93 tons of bottles and cans were also recycled.
In April of this year, a second initiative was introduced. Dubbed “80-20 in 3,”it aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the facilities’ operations by 80 percent and make them 20 percent more energy efficient than average* within three years time. Already the facilities have achieved a 19 percent total carbon footprint reduction and are operating over 17 percent more efficiently than average thanks to the work of engineers, software implemented specifically to optimize energy usage across campus, and a three-year retrofit plan in partnership with Xcel Energy.
With help from a federal grant and Xcel Energy rebates, over 900 light fixtures in the Saint Paul RiverCentre Parking Ramp were replaced with more energy efficient technology, which has cut the ramp’s electricity usage nearly in half. Preparations continue for installation of potentially the area's largest solar thermal array atop the convention center.
Saint Paul RiverCentre and its partners have been recognized for their first year efforts by the City of Saint Paul, as recipients of the Sustainable Saint Paul award for waste reduction and recycling. They also received an Excellence in Public Serviceaward from Midwest Society of Association Executives and an honorable mention from Venues Today Magazine for being a Steward of Sustainability. Jim Ibister, vice president of facility administration for the Minnesota Wild and general manager of Saint Paul RiverCentre, was recently recognized by Meetings: Minnesota’s Hospitality Journalwith a Vision Award for his efforts to make RiverCentre and its sister venues regional leaders in sustainability.
“Saint Paul RiverCentre is taking significant green strides,” Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said. “From recycling and waste prevention to replacing the lighting in their parking ramp and the new solar thermal installation, Saint Paul RiverCentre is working every day to do its part in making Saint Paul a national leader in sustainability.”
“The changes that we have implemented over the last year, as a part of these initiatives, have really become a way of life for us and our visitors,” said Karolyn Kirchgesler, president and CEO of Visit Saint Paul.  “While we are happy with the success we have experienced so far, continued success of maintaining these initiatives over time is the ultimate goal.”
In April 2009, Saint Paul RiverCentre launched a long-term, multifaceted sustainability initiative with a mission to become a green leader among convention centers in the region. The neighboring Xcel Energy Center arena joined the effort soon after when a number of shared resources were realized. In partnership with Progressive Associatesof Saint Paul, an ambitious, strategic plan was launched that will encompass several initiatives over the coming years. To learn more, click here.
*Average for this region of the country was determined by using the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS). That rating for the Midwest is 101.7 kBTU energy consumed per square foot of space.
About Saint Paul RiverCentre
Saint Paul RiverCentre is the city’s premier convention center that overlooks the bluffs of the Mississippi River. Featuring more than 250,000 square feet of versatile event space and flexible room configurations that include the Grand Ballroom and The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Saint Paul RiverCentre is the preferred choice for hundreds of events including star-studded galas, trade shows and conventions each year.
About Visit Saint Paul
Saint Paul RiverCentre and The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium are governed and operated by Visit Saint Paul. The mission of Visit Saint Paul is to generate economic growth for Saint Paul by effectively marketing the Saint Paul RiverCentre campus, the City of Saint Paul and the region as a preferred convention and tourism destination.
About Xcel Energy Center
Regarded as one of the finest arenas in the world, Xcel Energy Center is home to the NHL's Minnesota Wild, the NLL's Minnesota Swarm and a multitude of premier sports and entertainment events annually. The one-of-a-kind, multi-purpose facility is located in the heart of downtown Saint Paul, owned by the City of Saint Paul and managed by Saint Paul Arena Company, an affiliate of Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. For more information, visit


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