Beginning in 2000, The State of Minnesota started developing sustainable building guidelines for all new buildings receiving funding from the general obligation bond proceeds fund. These guidelines, known as B3, are designed to be compatible with national LEED guidelines while maintaining regional values, priorities, and requirements.
In the last few years, Minnesota has developed the B3 Sustainable Building 2030 (SB 2030) Energy Standard—a progressive energy conservation program designed to reduce the energy and carbon in the state’s commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings. These guidelines set various benchmarks along the way. In the beginning, the goal was for all buildings built after 2010 to be 60 percent lower than the average building’s energy standard. In 2015, the standard became 70 percent, and by 2030, the goal is for all new buildings to reach net zero energy.
The idea is the B3 Guidelines will be applied to the design of new buildings or renovations to meet sustainability goals for:
● Site and Water. The goal is to design sites that have both soil and water quality capable of supporting healthy and diverse plant and animal communities. This will help to reduce water and energy consumption, improve stormwater runoff rate, and minimize pollutants.
● Energy. This goal is to create buildings that are energy efficient. A B3 requirement is that all facilities must contain energy efficient equipment and appliances, however, project managers can also opt for the use of renewable energy on the building (i.e. wind power, solar panels, etc.)
● Indoor environment. In b3-related projects, the facilities require moisture control, an optimal ventilation design, quality lighting, thermal comfort for the occupants, and more. The goal: to provide exemplary indoor air quality and various positive environmental conditions.
● Materials and Waste. The idea is for building projects to have the lowest reasonable life cycle environmental impact based on material resource use and waste management. This includes environmentally preferable materials and waste reduction management.
The idea behind these benchmarks is to improve the performance of facilities and to improve environmental, human, and economic outcomes through operational decisions. For any building project planning to receive State bond money, the B3 Guidelines Support must be contacted to set the project up in the B3 Guidelines Tracking Tool.
B3 Version 2.2 has been in place since 2013, however, by July 1, 2017, all projects must follow the B3 Version 3.0 as early as the schematic design phase of any project.
Though the standards exist for Minnesota bond-funded buildings, they also can be used on a voluntary basis on any project. Gausman & Moore is proud to be part of teams making Minnesota’s energy-saving visions into reality. Not only will we hold these standards for current in-progress buildings, but we will also follow the guidelines for as many of our new building projects as possible. We will continue to create projects that work in harmony with both their immediate surroundings and the planet.