Minnesota's Legacy

Global Warming – Reducing Carbon Footprint of Minnesota Schools

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Recipient Type
State Government
Start Date
July 2008
End Date
June 2011
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2008, Chp. 367, Sec. 2, Subd. 06b
Appropriation Language

$750,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency to provide student-focused grants to high schools, colleges, and universities to identify their carbon footprints and develop and implement innovative plans to reduce carbon emissions. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2011, at which time the project must be completed and final products delivered, unless an earlier date is specified in the work program.

2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Overview

Project Outcome and Results
Minnesota Schools Cutting Carbon (MnSCC) is a three-year project that engaged over 7,000 students in 100 public high schools, colleges and universities across Minnesota to save energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at their schools.

Results: The 100 MnSCC schools collectively saved their schools about 5 million kWh of electricity (totaling 18 billion BTUs) and $325,000 in energy costs annually, which means the three-year program paid for itself in two and a half years. The project also avoided 9.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2 is a greenhouse gas).

In addition, 23 of the MnSCC schools received a total of $202,828 in competitive grants for renewable energy, energy efficiency, recycling, and transportation reduction projects. Fourteen schools were able to measure and report savings of over 3 million kWh of electricity; 10,500 therms of natural gas; and 26,000 gallons of gasoline - totaling 14.4 billion BTUs. These projects saved approximately $300,000 in annual energy costs and avoided 6.2 million pounds of CO2 emissions.

The cumulative impact of all 100 MnSCC school projects saved schools 32.4 billion BTUs of energy, $625,000 in energy costs, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 15.7 million pounds, the equivalent of taking 1,700 cars off of Minnesota roads.

Our project team helped schools create clean energy teams, personally visited every school, provided individual school reports with recommendations on saving energy and resources, and gave students the opportunity to develop and lead energy-saving projects, network with other schools, and share success stories.

Student leadership was a key focus of our project, and there are many great examples of students having a direct impact on their schools and communities:

  • Students presented at the biennial Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) conference in St. Cloud in February 2011 to over 100 conference attendees over two days.
  • Students rallied in the State Capitol Rotunda on Earth Day 2010, meeting fellow students and several legislators.
  • Students presented before the LCCMR and the House Environment Policy and Oversight Committee to talk about how their work has impacted their school.

Overall, MnSCC demonstrated that our students are highly motivated and very effective. They achieved significant energy savings, and they directly influenced their schools and communities through their leadership and interactions with school officials, teachers, fellow students, and community representatives.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
One of the primary objectives of this project was to raise awareness of energy issues and to implement low cost and no cost energy-saving actions in schools through the leadership of students. We also were focused throughout the project on creating opportunities for students to talk about their projects, share results, and for MnSCC to recognize their successes. A variety of resources, detailed in the final report, were created and made available to enable schools to take clean energy actions and make presentations to their communities and local officials. These resources were made available on a robust MnSCC website. Many schools also used the website to share their project success stories and post rleated text, pictures, and videos. Additionally, ongoing communication, outreach, and interaction with Minnesota's schools, colleges, and universities through a variety of means was at the heart of this project from beginning to end.

Project Details