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To build its new factory, Sage in 2010 received a $72 million loan guarantee and a $31 million tax credit from the Department of Energy.
RiverCentre’s Ibister said the windows’ installation is part of a trial to assess the windows’ effectiveness in the RiverCentre’s boardroom. Total cost for the window was “between $40,000 and $50,000,” Ibister said.
Industry experts expect that as Sage Electrochromics’ factory accelerates its production, the costs of the windows will go down, securing a spot in the blueprints of buildings to come.
The windows were added after the RiverCentre assessed its other utilities. “We got a firm to come in, to make sure all our systems are meeting efficiency standards,” Ibister said.
“If we can do business with Minnesota vendors that are providing state-of-the-art technology it’s great,” said Rich Ginsberg, a board member at the St. Paul RiverCentre.
Ginsberg added that the goal of the center’s sustainability plan is to be LEED-certified, to show that the RiverCentre is more efficient than buildings simply built to code. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; standards are set by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Helping RiverCentre’s sustainability plan is the source of its heating and air-conditioning needs. Both are provided by District Energy St. Paul, a utility that derives 70 percent of its energy from renewable biomass.
District Energy St. Paul provides energy for 200 businesses, including United Hospital, Regions Hospital, the St. Paul Hotel, Ecolab and St. Paul City Hall.
“RiverCentre has set some aggressive sustainability goals [that] will raise the bar for other venues to follow,” Mayor Chris Coleman said in a statement.
Steve Fischer is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.