Building Energy Challenge

The City of Minneapolis Building Energy Challenge was a city-wide program challenging large commercial buildings to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 15% from a 2014 baseline through energy efficiency or renewable energy actions. In 2018, we celebrate the end of the challenge with over 75% of participating buildings achieving or surpassing the goal.

At the 2018 Building Energy Challenge Award ceremony, the City recognized ten leading, commercial buildings for their energy-saving and greenhouse gas-reducing successes. Together, these ten building are saving over 19,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and are setting an example for hundreds of other buildings to also improve energy efficiency, save on utility costs, and operate more sustainably. Learn more about the challenge leaders here.

Benefits of the Challenge:

  • Receive recognition - Challenge participants were identified in City newsletter, website, and case study communications. Participants were recognized at annual challenge awards ceremonies.
  • Improve marketability - Enrolling can bolster your 'green' and community involvement credentials for attracting new and retaining current tenants.
  • Save money - Improving building energy efficiency can save you money.
  • Optimized operations - When investigating opportunities for energy savings, building managers often discover ways to better the occupant experience, and update maintenance processes.
  • Use technical resources - Because navigating energy efficiency and renewable energy options can be complex, we are available to help connect you to a person with the program or technology that you're looking for.

Why focus on greenhouse gas emissions?

By committing to this ambitious but practical goal, buildings help the City meet the greenhouse gas emission targets set out in its Climate Action Plan. In addition, the metric allows for flexibility - buildings can improve energy efficiency, install or purchase renewable energy, or do a combination of the two.

How was progress be measured?

Building energy benchmarking data submitted annually in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager was used to track changes in greenhouse gas emissions, energy use intensity, and ENERGY STAR scores for annual milestone awards.


Buildings enrolling commit to the Challenge and agree to the City highlighting that commitment publicly in City communications. Challenge participants must also continue benchmarking buildings in Portfolio Manager, actively take steps toward the 15% goal, and participate in recognition activities, which includes case studies and annual awards.

2015 Awards Highlights

    See highlights & photos from the challenge kick-off in 2015!

Sign up for news and updates.

About: This website was made possible through cooperation between the City Of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Center for Energy and Environment.

Background photo credit: Downtown Minneapolis - Mill City Museum by Jeremiah Peterson, on Flickr