University of Minnesota Receives National Award for Energy Efficiency in Parking Structures

The University of Minnesota accepted national recognition last week for its energy conservation successes through the Better Buildings Alliance’s Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign.

The University of Minnesota Gortner Avenue Ramp won two awards – one for the greatest percent of savings in a single structure (retrofit) and the other for the best use of lighting controls in a single parking facility.

These awards are based on two efficiency initiatives at the U of M. The first focus is on the substantial lighting energy saved by replacing medium wattage sodium lights with low wattage LED fixtures. The second is on the development of highly-efficient lighting controls. Advanced sensor technology helps parking structures save energy by regulating the amount of artificial light emitted at certain times.

 “Thanks to these efforts, the Gortner Avenue Ramp is now nine times more efficient in terms of its energy use,” said Ross Allanson, director of Parking and Transportation Services at the University of Minnesota. “This project provides better color rendering and user perception with white versus yellow light.”

All 16 University of Minnesota parking structures will be upgraded by the end of 2015. Compared to the current energy usage, it is estimated that the University will save around $475,000 dollars per year once all the lights in the campus parking structures are updated.  Savings will continue to surface as average lighting maintenance costs decrease, due to the average 23-year life span of LED fixtures.

The LEEP Campaign Awards Recognition event was on June 29 at the BOMA 2015 Every Building Conference & Expo in Los Angeles, California.

“It might only take one person to change a light bulb, but it took dedicated efforts by the many thoughtful leaders of LEEP award winners to demonstrate how much can be gained through advanced, cost effective lighting technologies in parking lots and garages,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, David Danielson. “These innovative solutions also enhance safety and improve working conditions for customers, tenants and employees.”


To date, more than 140 U.S. businesses and organizations are participating in the campaign and planning or installing energy efficient lighting in their parking lots and garages. In the past year, these organizations have committed to install efficient lighting across more than 470 million square feet of parking space – cutting energy use on average by 60 percent. Another 160 organizations are signed up as LEEP Campaign Supporters.

Learn more about Better Buildings Alliance technology campaigns including the Interior Lighting Campaign (ILC) focused on high efficiency indoor troffer lighting solutions and the Advanced Roof-top Unit Campaign supporting building owners in the replacement or retrofit of the nation’s aging heating and cooling technologies installed on roofs of many of U.S. commercial buildings.

As a cornerstone of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Better Buildings aims to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade. This means saving billions of dollars on energy bills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating thousands of jobs. Through Better Buildings, public and private sector organizations across the country we are working together to share and replicate positive gains in energy efficiency and catalyze change and investment in energy efficiency. Read more about Better Buildings partner results, and the innovative solutions being shared with others in the Better Buildings Solution Center.

Media Contacts

After hours line
University Public Relations
(612) 293-0831
Public Relations
University Public Relations main line
University Public Relations
(612) 624-5551
Public Relations
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities