Energy Commission comments on Community Center

Letter from the chair of the Energy Commission regarding the Recreation Center / Senior Center

February 17, 2014

Honorable Mayor and Rochester Common Council

Rochester City Hall

201 Fourth Street SE

Rochester, MN 55904


Dear Mayor and Council,

The Rochester Energy Commission wishes to acknowledge and thank the staff of TSP Architects for their presentation on the Recreation / Senior Center Project. Their brief talk and PowerPoint show at our February 11th meeting, provided us with our first view of the effort.

The Commission was pleased to see the commitment of the designers to an energy-efficient facility and their willingness to work with us.  They emphasized that they are too early in the process to discuss specifics on energy loads, but that these numbers will be available and provided in a future presentation.  Somewhat troubling was their comment that energy saving-related items were removed due to past budget cuts and were not included in the request for additional funds.

Time did not permit asking if planning included the benefits of such important issues as:

  • treating the complex as a whole, rather than as separate buildings thus permitting the movement and use of rather than waste of valuable reservoirs of temperature differences,
  • orienting the front of the building to the south to take advantage of natural lighting and to enhance public and private transit access,
  • incorporating the possible use of renewable energy sources such as geothermal, solar water and air heating and making the building “solar-ready” for future electricity production.

In keeping with Ordinance 19A, the Energy Commission urges all cost-effective steps should be taken to minimize greenhouse gas emissions from this project.  Since such efforts also reduce energy use, these investments will pay for themselves multiple times over the life the building.

We therefore strongly recommend taking the long-term view as budget decisions are being made.  Ensuring lower long-term operating and maintenance costs will provide real measurable benefits and savings to Rochester’s current and future residents.


Edward Cohen, Chair

Rochester Energy Commission

cc:  Dale McCamish

Recreation Center City Project Manager

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