By Sam Horner
This year, the Carlton YES! team wanted to do a Winter Workshop centered around energy and that is exactly the day that was planned for the team. Stops for the day included the Duluth Steam Plant and the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, which gave the team insight into how energy is being used and generated in one of Minnesota’s most populated cities.
The Duluth Steam Plant has been open and generating power for Duluth since the 1930’s. The plant helps to heat over 160 of the major buildings in the Canal Park and Superior Street area. Back when the plant first opened, Canal Park looked very different from what it is today. It was an industrial park full of businesses and not a tourist attraction. The other reason it looked differently was that it had a pollution problem. When the 1970’s came around, the plant made some changes to their machinery to decrease pollution. Now, instead of being a major polluter, they have cleaned up their process. The city of Duluth bought the plant back in the 1970’s, because they realized how important the plant is to the city. Without the plant, all of the major buildings in Duluth would need to find a new power source. The plant is now undertaking some new changes today as well. They are moving away from steam which takes a lot more energy to use, and they are converting to a hot water plant. To do this, it will take several years, but when this happens, the plant will be even more energy efficient. After the Duluth Steam Plant, the team moved onto the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC).
The DECC is one of the most interesting buildings in Duluth. It is home to Amsoil Arena and it is a venue that helps to bring a lot of very popular events to Duluth. The team first visited the DECC garbage and recycling area. Phil and his team told us all about how they are able to collect the trash and recyclables. The DECC team is trying to make it easy for their attendees to recycle by using posters and their workers to try and save anything that can be recycled from going to the landfill. After that, the team went to the Amsoil Arena. There they learned about how the building is saving energy because they fill the ice arena differently than other arenas. As a LEED certified building, they are also always looking at ways to become more energy efficient. They have seen that if they use less energy, they can save more money in the long run. The DECC tour was a really great experience for the team.
The team had a great time learning about how these two buildings function and how the Duluth Steam Plant helps to power the DECC. The students left energized to help finish a retrofitting project of the older lightbulbs in their school.