Building contractors
Building contractors
Market Transformation

Minnesota Advanced Energy Codes Partnership

Building a Path to Net Zero for Commercial New Construction 

What is the Minnesota Advanced Energy Codes Partnership?

The MN Advanced Energy Codes Partnership was formed to help implement Minnesota’s Climate Action Framework, which calls for new commercial and multifamily buildings to reach net zero by 2036 and achieve significant energy and emissions reductions in existing buildings. The Partnership is funded by the Department of Energy and sponsored jointly by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The Partnership is led by Center for Energy and Environment with the participation of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Sustainable Building Research, the state’s major investor-owned utilities, additional consultants, and a broad-based Advisory Council. 


What are Energy Codes? Why are they important?

Energy codes are a type of building code (think, fire code) that regulates the energy efficiency of new buildings and existing buildings undergoing renovations. In Minnesota this code is statewide, ensuring that all new buildings and existing buildings undergoing renovations meet the minimum energy performance requirements, leading to decreased energy bills for owners and occupants, lower carbon emissions and improved comfort. For more information about energy codes, visit DOE’s Energy Codes 101 page. 


Project Goals: 

  • Establish and implement a path to net zero codes by 2036. 

  • Improve commercial code compliance outcomes. 

  • Develop the workforce for next generation buildings. 

  • Develop existing buildings strategies, including building performance standards. 

  • Provide benefits for Minnesotans, especially in disadvantaged communities. 

Key Activities 

To meet emission reduction goals and ensure our next generation of buildings are ready for the changing climate, Minnesota has committed to advancing energy codes for all commercial and multifamily buildings subject to the state building code. Recent legislation has enshrined in statute an aggressive goal of an 80% efficiency improvement in energy code against a 2004 baseline by 2036.

The MN Advanced Energy Code Partnership will leverage DOE funding and work closely with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to analyze and propose amendments to the model ASHRAE 90.1 Commercial Energy code to achieve a 32% improvement during the next two code adoption cycles.

Aggressive codes only garner intended savings if there is compliance. The partnership will work to improve compliance through the following strategies.  

  • Plan review support: We will provide energy code plan review support to cities, focusing on areas with disadvantaged communities. Plan review support will target performance path projects, as these projects are expected to increase and are particularly difficult for code officials to review.   

  • Compliance tool development: The Partnership is also working with national agencies on producing and testing new tools to alleviate the burden of performance plan reviews on cities. 

  • Online resource hub and training: An online resource hub will be created to provide resources and role-based training that will differentiate the curriculum and the mode of delivery by the target learner (e.g., code officials, design professionals, etc.). 

The partnership will work with Tribal Nations to provide tailored support to improve energy code compliance, develop and update energy codes, and other support activities identified during discussions.  

Another goal of the State’s Climate Action Framework that aligns with this project is to develop strategies to address the efficiency of existing buildings, including considering Building Performance Standards (BPS). This work has already begun, including stakeholder engagement and workshopping to identify barriers and stakeholder concerns. 

Estimated Five-year Impact

7.88 TBtu
Site Energy Savings
0.79 Million
Metric Tons CO2 Reduction
$148 Million
Energy Cost Savings

Compliance efforts have shown:


of projects were non-compliant with over half the evaluated measures 


of projects were non-compliant with at least one evaluated measure 

8,410 therms and 140,852 kWh

on average energy savings per project over 50,000 sq. ft. 

Project Partners


This material is based on work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Building Technologies Office Award Number DE-EE0010933. 

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