Ingersoll Rand observed the 40-year anniversary of Earth Day with events at more than 40 of its locations around the world April 22. In St. Paul, Minn., where Trane, a business of Ingersoll Rand, engineers and manufactures controls, members of the trade press were invited to take part.

The day began with a guided tour of nearby Macalester College, recipient of the 2010 Trane Energy Efficiency Leader in Education Award.

A national liberal-arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,958 students, Macalester recently completed a long-term strategic plan to combat climate change, which includes the elimination of waste by 2020, the achievement of carbon neutrality by 2025, the integration of sustainability into curricula and student programs, adoption of a policy to reduce emissions related to facility construction and operation, reduction of travel-related carbon emissions, and implementation of a responsible-purchasing policy.

The first stop on the tour was Markim Hall, home of the Institute for Global Citizenship, which last fall became the first higher-education facility in Minnesota to receive LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The $7.5 million, 17,000-sq-ft facility's sustainability features concern energy and water use, indoor-air quality, materials used in construction and furnishings, landscaping, stormwater management, and public education.

Energy-simulation models predict Markim Hall will use nearly 80-percent less energy than a standard building in an equivalent climate. All of the facility's heating, cooling, and electricity consumption will be covered with renewable-energy credits and carbon offsets.

The tour of Macalester College also included stops at the campus' new central chilled-water plant, which includes three high-efficiency 800-ton Trane CenTraVac centrifugal chillers, and Project EcoHouse, a renovated 1950s-era home in which students explore green living and test the effectiveness of new green technologies. Trane donated the home's building-automation system, which includes a Web interface allowing students to track and analyze their energy use.

Following the tour of Macalester College, activities moved to Trane's facility in White Bear Lake, a suburb of St. Paul. There, Trane was awarded LEED Gold certification for the facility, and the formation of Ingersoll Rand's Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (CEES) was announced.

The CEES will partner with government and non-government organizations, universities, and technology and industry leaders through research, scholarships, seminars, and other forums offering education in the areas of energy efficiency and sustainability.

Scott Tew, executive director of the CEES, moderated a panel discussion, "Building Energy Efficiency and Sustainability for Today and Tomorrow," featuring Sheri Brezinka, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the USGBC; Suzanne Savanick Hansen, sustainability manager for Macalester College; Larry Vertal, executive director of The Green Grid; and Mark Weldy, integrated-systems leader for Ingersoll Rand.

The day's activities also included guided tours of the White Bear Lake facility, including the Trane Solutions Center, designed to demonstrate how Trane systems use energy efficiently, enhance emergency preparedness, reduce operational costs, and minimize environmental impact.