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Ada is realizing $4,500 in annual energy savings for two of its buildings after implementing lighting upgrades and other energy improvements.

Case Study: City of Ada Dekko Center and Municipal Liquor Store

Lighting replacements and controls achieve energy savings

Aims and objectives. The Red River Valley City of Ada in 2009 sought to reduce energy use and save on utility bills in two of its municipal buildings. The 21,600 square-foot Dekko Center serves as the city’s community recreation center and library. It is named for Chester Dekko, whose foundation provided a large grant for the center’s construction and continues to support its operation. Dekko grew up in Ada and became successful in electrical component manufacturing. The other building is the city’s municipal liquor store.

Implementation. The Dekko Center lighting improvement project consisted of:

  • Replacing older fixtures with T12 lamps and magnetic ballasts with efficient fixtures with T8 lamps and electronic ballasts for the walking track and locker rooms.
  • Retrofitting the racquetball court lighting.
  • Installing occupancy sensors in locker rooms. 

The Municipal Liquor building project included a lighting retrofit (including LED door lights) and replacement of major components to two large coolers.

Outcomes--energy saved. Comparing the baseline year 2010, before the upgrades, to 2012, when the project was completed, Dekko Center electric use decreased 18 percent. The savings shown are the result of the lighting upgrades as well as improved energy management at the Dekko Center. The Municipal Liquor building achieved a 9 percent electric savings from the baseline year. The savings for both buildings are shown in the B3 Benchmarking charts below and represent an annual savings of $4,500 (at current energy prices). Managers of the Center report that the occupancy sensors have been working well.

Dekko Center annual electrical consumption


Figure 1. This chart from the Minnesota B3 Benchmarking database shows Dekko Center electrical savings of 18 percent.

Municipal Liquor annual electrical consumption


Figure 2. This B3 Benchmarking chart shows Municipal Liquor building electrical savings of 9 percent from 2010 to 2012.

Documenting results. Ada is able to quantify its energy savings via the Minnesota B3 Benchmarking tool. B3 Benchmarking is available for all state, local government, and public school buildings. It allows users to track their buildings’ energy use, monitor the performance of energy improvements, and allow building portfolio managers to readily identify poor energy performance.

The B3 tool is provided by the Minnesota Department of Administration and the Minnesota Department of Commerce, with funding from all utilities in the state supporting the effort. 

To add your building to this database, go to the B3 website and click on “Contact Us.”

Funding. The energy upgrades (except for lighting improvements to the pool) were funded by a $40,000 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The grant was provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the federal stimulus program designed to save energy and create jobs. The grant paid for all but about $2,500 of the project. The Dekko Center and Municipal Liquor buildings are served by the Ada municipal electric utility. Utilities in Minnesota, including municipals, are mandated to achieve an annual energy savings of 1.5 percent of annual retail energy sales. Energy improvement projects such as Ada’s help achieve that energy savings requirement.

With the national phase out of magnetic ballasts and T12 lamps, many Minnesota utilities no longer offer rebates for converting such lighting systems. However, with rising demand and energy charges for commercial consumers, companies that still have these in place may find it cost-effective to replace them even without rebates. Most electric utilities provide rebates to support change outs of other older lighting systems and to help fund other lighting efficiency improvements.

Resources for local government projects. When seeking energy upgrades, cities are encouraged to consult with the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources (DER) and their local utilities. DER provides technical support to local government units, state agencies, school districts, and institutions of higher learning that are seeking to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy measures. Contact DER to discuss which of its efficiency programs may be of help.

In addition, utility representatives can help assess opportunities for efficiency and identify what rebates may help finance projects.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office also provides helpful resources for building retrofits. For more on energy efficiency, including information on Minnesota’s B3 Benchmarking tool, contact the DER Information Center at or 800-657-3710.