The Wave – November 2018

Letter from the President

Ken Smith

Ken Smith

Reflecting on the past year, I want to take a moment and recognize a few of the initiatives and partners that elevate our work and evolve our business. We have been fortunate to have great leadership from the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, most recently with Brenda Kyle at the helm. B and her team are working closely with other organizations, including the new Downtown Alliance, the Building Owners and Managers Association, other Chambers, and Greater MSP to position Saint Paul and the region for its next wave of growth and opportunity. Most recently, we joined these partners for the annual InterCity Leadership Visit to Nashville to better understand that region’s lessons learned as they grow quickly and diversify their economy and workforce. It is exactly these types of trips that forge partnerships and new opportunities.

This past year has been a year of transition for Saint Paul, as we tipped our hats in gratitude to the outgoing Coleman administration and welcomed the Carter administration into leadership. Mayor Carter has built a vision and team around the lens of equity, innovation, and resilience. A platform that recognizes that success for our great city starts with all of its citizens and their opportunities to succeed. We also share the belief that innovation and resilience will continue to be keys to transforming the energy system. We are excited to continue our work with Mayor Carter and Chief Resilience Officer Russ Stark on key initiatives, including the recently announced Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge award and the Nordic Cities partnership, which positions Saint Paul and our system for the next wave of energy ingenuity.

Make no mistake, at the end of the day, our customer experience and reliability of our services is still our number one priority. We will continue to focus on the operational excellence that has served our customers well over our 35-year history, while taking care to adopt new approaches that keep us at the forefront of solutions for building performance.

We are excited about what is to come. We are grateful for our many partners that make the work and the outcomes better. We are thankful for our customers and the opportunity to deliver you exceptional service.

Best to all in the coming holiday season.

Welcome New District Energy Customers

We are excited to add three new customers to the system, Creators Space, Press House Apartments, and American Red Cross. Creators Space is a venue that invites people to create by offering support, classes, space, and coffee to ignite the creative spark in anyone. Press House Apartments will provide 144 affordable apartments to downtown in the former Pioneer Press building on Cedar Street. District Energy has provided heating services to the American Red Cross south building, located in West Saint Paul, for twelve years. This summer we extended services to the Red Cross’ north building to our network. We welcome our new customers to the network, we are proud to support the great work that they do in our community.

Saint Paul Building Engineers Seminar

Operating Engineers SeminarOn November 14 we hosted our annual Operating Engineer Seminar. This event is a great opportunity to connect with operating engineers and building managers to discuss successes, opportunities, and challenges. This year the presentation focused on using data summaries and using data summaries and graphs to identify energy optimization solutions for customer operations. Each attendee received customized energy trend reports for the buildings they operate and manage. We also shared effective solutions to some common issues that we have discovered in our work to help customers conserve energy.

You can view the event presentation. If you would like to learn more about your building’s energy trends and resources available to customer for building system optimization, contact our team at 651.297.8955, email

Climate Smart Cities Exchange

In September, District Energy St. Paul was pleased to support a Climate Smart Cities Exchange hosted by the City of Saint Paul, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Danish Trade Council in North America, and Nordic City Solutions Initiative. The exchange featured topics including district energy, smart grid, stormwater systems, and the investment opportunity for these technology advancements. Ken Smith and Michael Ahern from our team joined many local and international speakers, and we were proud to highlight our work in downtown Saint Paul, as well as our regional development projects.

Ecodistricts Summit

The national EcoDistricts organization brought their annual summit to Minneapolis in October, as well as a workshop on district energy and water to District Energy’s home offices. We are so proud that our efforts here in Saint Paul, and nationwide, provide a roadmap to others looking for engineering, planning, and sustainability solutions for their own communities. We also brought the workshop participants on a tour of the Saint Paul EcoDistrict, so we could show off what we have accomplished in partnership with the City of Saint Paul, Science Museum of Minnesota, Saint Paul RiverCentre, and Visit Saint Paul. It is a great reminder that we have much to be proud of in our work with local partners and customers.

Intercity Leadership

ICLVEach year, the Saint Paul and Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce convene an incredible regional delegation made up of civic, business, and non-profit leadership to visit a similar region. This trip offers a tremendous opportunity to learn and challenge ourselves on important topics of energy, transportation, economic and workforce development, and other regional issues. It also gives the delegation a unique opportunity to learn more from each other and develop new ideas and opportunities to work together leading out of these trips. Ken Smith and Nina Axelson were proud to represent District Energy St. Paul and Ever-Green Energy on this year’s trip to Nashville and sponsor a session on sustainability in Tennessee. The panel echoed many of the same lessons we have seen in our region, looking at sustainability as a market advantage going forward. This included architects seeing developers use sustainability to stand out in the market and the local chamber celebrating the growth of businesses like Nissan, who manufactures the Leaf (electric vehicle) in Tennessee. We are grateful to the organizers and all the participating organizations for another constructive and impactful trip.

Energize Saint Paul Celebration

Race to Reduce

Race to Reduce Recognition

Yesterday Mayor Melvin Carter and the City of Saint Paul recognized 119 buildings that participated in the summer energy challenge the Race to Reduce. Sixteen organizations received awards at the event. Starting with the summer program, Energize Saint Paul has provided building owners and operators with practical tools to improve efficiency and guidance on benchmarking as well as opportunities to meet with a network of building owners, operators, and experts. District Energy has sponsored Energize Saint Paul and collaborated with this initiative by providing resources and support to building owners and occupants to reduce waste and save money while working toward an overall goal of reducing the City’s greenhouse gas emissions. Congratulations to all.


Our team knows that resilience is key to modern energy systems and that means a strong cybersecurity program. At District Energy, we have been working to develop a cybersecurity program that touches all levels of our information infrastructure including network systems, policies, monitoring protocols, staff training, and ongoing communication. To learn more about our efforts, read “Cybersecurity: A framework for system evaluation,” written by Tom Thomalla, Jr., for our industry association magazine District Energy.