Building owners in St. Paul have been asked to cut the cost of energy use this summer to reduce pollution in the city and create a more environmentally-friendly downtown.

Race to Reduce is a voluntary program run by a city initiative called Energize St. Paul. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while driving economic growth. Mayor Melvin Carter said, “Our goal is to make the city of St. Paul the first place building owners go when they want to lower their utility bills.”

Nearly 35 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in St. Paul come from commercial and multifamily residential buildings. Focusing in on buildings of over 50,000 square feet, they aim to reduce the number to 31 percent by the end of summer, most of which are downtown.

The initiative is following in the footsteps of other major cities like Atlanta and Reno, which have created sustainable programs that aim to cut pollution. The directive aims to train building owners on how to manage energy use in the most effective way possible. They will learn how to time and tune up air conditioners and electricity during the most important part of the day, saving on unnecessary output.

City officials want building owners to have keen knowledge on energy use and sustainability before it becomes a requirement in the future.

These types of early programs have the ability to make such a transition easier rather than all at one time. In doing so, they too, can learn the most effective training methods possible and iron out any hiccups along the way.

Among the participants helping business owners are Xcel Energy, District Energy, the St. Paul Port Authority, the Greater St. Paul Building Owners and Managers Association and the Downtown Alliance.