RiverCentre Gets Green in Saint Paul

Two stories about the RiverCentre in St. Paul:

First, a $2 million, 1-megawatt solar energy system will be installed on the roof of the St. Paul RiverCentre. It will be the largest solar-energy installation in the state.

District Energy St. Paul, which provides heating and cooling for downtown's commercial and residential buildings, will provide funds for its construction of $1 million, in addition to a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The system will heat water for downtown and offset energy that District Energy St. Paul expends burning waste wood for its heating system. It should be running by the end of 2010.

Second, officials are working on cutting the amount of trash generated at Saint Paul's RiverCentre. Visitors to the RiverCentre complex produced more than 2.8 million pounds of garbage during last year's events. To combat the trash problem, an ambitious recycling program will soon be rolled out.

The "50-50 in 2" program promotes new recycling and composting measures aimed at getting total waste to half trash and half recycling in two years. Right now, the complex recycles about 15%t of its waste.

280 new recycling bins have been paired with trash cans, as well as receptacles that encourage the disposal of recyclables, compost, paper and trash products separately. The facility has also begun composting unused food.

The facility avoids paying a 70% tax on trash products by composting more materials. And the complex will make money on recycling such materials as cardboard, cooking oil and shrink-wrap.

The "50-50 in 2" programis also being rolled out at Xcel Energy Center and the Roy Wilkins Auditorium.

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