2.2 Gigawatt Sherco Coal Fired Power Plant, Becker, Minnesota

Phase 1:
New Revolutionary Total Sustainability Performance Rating Methodology

Since its inception the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 1974 as a response to the 1973/1974 Oil Embargo, the IEA has achieved a leading international role in energy and environmental research.  In 1977 the IEA established an organization called Energy in Buildings and Community Systems (EBCS) to operate under its jurisdiction.  The function of EBCS, which was recently renamed as Energy in Buildings and Communities (EBC), has been to undertake research and provide an international focus for building energy efficiency.  EBC research projects are conducted under legal entities called annexes and have been responsible for many international energy and environmental standards including the current United States standard for indoor air quality.

Twenty six of the twenty nine IEA member countries currently participate in EBC.  In the years spanning November 2006 through November 2009 EBC members United States, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada participated in a ground breaking research project, Annex 49: Low Exergy Systems for High Performance Buildings and Communities (http://www.annex49.info/download/summary_report.pdf).

In 2011 the IEA published their Annex 49 Summary Report which included key research findings from the United States Annex 49 Technical Report.  These key findings include a revolutionary new sustainability performance rating methodology that includes all scarce resources and emissions (instead of the current flawed practice of isolated and fragmented performance rating) and a demonstration project applying this methodology to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota.  The Twin Cities demonstration project was limited to heating and cooling buildings, electric district power plants, and automobiles in the combined metropolitan area.  The results indicated that 73% of the water used by electric power plants (Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers) could be eliminated and that fossil fuel carbon, nitrous oxide, and other emissions could be reduced by 39%.

Minneapolis District Cooling Plant rejecting heat in winter

St. Paul District Cooling Plant rejecting heat in winter