Energy Efficient Design

Welcome to the future of North Dakota!

Isn’t it great to see some good examples of energy efficient design being incorporated in some of Fargo’s new public buildings?  One example just getting the finishing touches is the Fargo – Moorhead Metro Area Transit garage.

Transit can also be a good way to conserve energy and infrastructure costs.  The ridership on MAT buses is increasing year to year since 2001.  MAT will serve just under a million riders this year, almost double the number in 2001.  The increasing use by area college students use of MAT is an important factor.  Those riders like not having to worry about gas prices, parking, and it gives them some time to socialize or read on the bus. 

MAT buses also have been using biodiesel since June 2006.  They ran B-20 in the buses through September and ran great, they reduce the use during the cold months.  The city is analyzing the performance and emissions.  Among the many benefits of lower emissions of Biodiesel is the exhaust also has a hint of french fry aroma!    

They’re not the only ones who like Biodiesel.  Check out the survey of 600 North Dakotans responses on questions about renewable home grown energy .                                                   

Now back to the topic of efficient design (you wondered if I’d get there eventually?):  Here are some of the energy efficient design elements at the new Metro Area Transit Garage:

Building Envelope

  • High performance glazing
  • Speed-up kits on north facing garage doors to reduce time open.
  • Roof insulation R-value was maximized based on life-cycle costs.
  • Windows in Bus Storage and in garage doors provide natural light.

 Building Interior – Office

  • Variable air volume zones.

 Building Interior – Parking and Storage

  • In-floor heat for effective placement and reduction of heating costs.
  • CO2 and NO2 sensors monitor air quality and automatically provide ventilation only when required and where required (the storage area is broken into four separate quadrants.
  • Direct-Fired Air makeup units (98%+ efficiency)

 Building Interior – Maintenance, Fueling, and Wash

  • In-floor heat to reduce heating costs.
  • Ability to store and dispense both diesel fuel and alternate fuels (bio-diesel).
  • Water reclamation system in bus wash to reduce water usage.
  • Direct-Fired Air makeup units (98%+ efficiency)

 Building Interior – Service and Repair

  • In-floor heat to reduce heating costs.
  • Double stacked service bays and drive through service bay minimize number of garage doors needed.
  • Direct-Fired Air makeup units (98%+ efficiency)


  • Full building generator takes advantage of peak shaving to save on energy costs.
  • Building design allows for incorporation of alternate energy sources.
  • Modular boilers respond to needs of system, only running when needed.
  • A cistern to collect the rainwater from the roof that will be used to water the grass.
  • Roof structure is designed to support future active solar or photovoltaic collection systems.

Fargo is also incorporating energy efficient design in the new libraries.  More on that in another post.

Let me know some examples you know about, and spread the word.