Editor’s Note:  Impressive.  Taking in all these initiatives, in waste management, energy production, great design for the human scale, community building, and education, Rochester MN can be proud of their innovation. Read on…


Olmsted County Waste-to-Energy Facility


The Olmsted Waste-to-Energy Facility (OWEF) is making garbage useful by burning it to produce energy in the form of steam and electricity.

* Each day non-recycle waste is turned into heat, electricity and air conditioning for more than 26 county public buildings.

* One of the buildings benefiting from Rochester’s extensive green project is the Mayo Civic Center. 


Mayo Civic Center


Located near Mayo Clinic, the 200,000 sq-ft Mayo Civic Center features meetings spaces that accommodate all types of group gatherings. Here are some of its green initiatives.

* Boilers are powered by steam produced by Olmsted County’s Waste-to-Energy plant. Trash is burned to create steam power.

* MCC used only biodegradable cleaning products, paints and solvents. Paper products consist of recycled material.

* Skyways connecting the Mayo Civic Center to 2,100 hotel rooms are also heated by waste energy.

* The skyway system connects the convention center with numerous hotel rooms, shops, restaurants and other great meeting venues.


Green around Town


* Quarry Hill Nature Center offers a wide range of environmental education classes year-round. There is no admission to the 320-acre park’s hiking and ski trails or the Nature Center’s exhibits. 

* The City’s trail system, access to mass transit, bike racks and Mayo Park are considered sustainability assets. Explore Rochester parks.

* TheRochester Downtown Farmers Market has a wide selection of locally grown foods from Southeastern Minnesota farmers and growers. There is a huge variety of vegetables, fruits, meats, breads, plants, baked goods, honey and preserves, and fresh cut flowers. Buy local, support our region!  

* Buses ‘Go Green’ in Rochester. A voluntary collaboration of businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations called Project Green Fleet is reducing pollution created by transit and school buses in the city of Rochester. 

* City Energy Efficiency. The city invested in making all of its facilities more energy-efficient. 

The new Bio-Business Center is Rochester’s first LEED-certified building. LEED is a stringent rating and certification system for green buildings.

* As our community grows so must our commitment to protecting and improving the quality of ourwater resources. Our lakes, rivers, and wetlands help make Rochester one of the nation’s most livable communities. Keeping our water resources clean and usable is important to everybody.  


Rochester Environmental Organizations


* RPU: Promotes conservation through customer education, appliance and equipment efficiency incentives. www.rpu.org 

* RNeighbors: Empowers and educates the community to grow a sustainable urban forest, benefiting the health, social, and economic aspects of Rochester neighborhoods.

* Global Action: A group working on a range of environmental issues, including reducing carbon emissions.

* Izaak Walton League: A group dedicated to protecting our nation’s soil, air, woods, waters and wildlife. 


* 80% of Rochester hotels are taking action to conserve energy.

* 63% of Rochester hotels initiate linen and towel reuse cards which are proven to save water, energy, detergent, and labor.

* 24 hotels use eco-friendly cleaning products that lower the use of water and energy, and reduce the chemicals and waste released to the environment.


Carbon Footprint Calculator


So how can you reduce your carbon footprint and make changes in your lifestyle to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you produce? You can use a carbon footprint calculator to figure out what activities you do that contribute most to your carbon footprint. 

Provided by our partners at Experience Rochester