Reduce Edina golf dome’s energy use, commission says

Edina committees are recommending the city build a more energy-efficient golf dome and create a community garden pilot program.

The Edina Energy and Environment Commission is requesting the energy use of the Braemar Golf Dome be reduced.

Before its closure in February due to a fire, the golf dome used the most energy per square foot of all city buildings – two to three times the amount of other city-owned buildings.

Its energy use mostly occurs in the winter because of the natural gas that’s used to heat the building. It also uses a steady amount of electric energy throughout the year because of the fan running to keep the dome inflated, said Ross Bintner, Edina environmental engineer and staff liaison to the commission.

The commission is requesting city staff consider the long-term energy benefits when it comes to the high initial costs compared to the long-term impact, Bintner said.

The commission is asking the city to set a baseline for the average city-owned building and consider how to offset the golf dome’s energy use, if the city is serious about reducing the total energy.

Bintner explained that constructing a building without energy changes initially makes it difficult to reduce energy use down to the baseline number after it’s already constructed.

The Edina Community Health Committee also sent a recommendation to the city council recently. It’s recommending the city create a pilot community garden program at Yorktown Park.

The committee had received letters of support for a community garden. Based on a previous Parks and Recreation community garden study of Edina Lake Park, Pamela Park and Yorktown Park, the committee asked to evaluate whether there would be support among the residents who live around the park, according to a letter to the council from the committee., a Minnesota Blue Cross Blue Shield health initiative in Edina, Bloomington and Richfield, submitted a petition to the city council in September with more than 40 signatures of people who lived in a multi-unit building without access to land for a garden.

At the time of the petition’s submittal to the city, Project Manager Katherine Bass noted that it’s important for apartment dwellers to have access to a community garden because that gives them access to fresh vegetables.

The committee also supports the curriculum-guided community gardens at two of Edina’s elementary schools and strongly supports that that concept be applied to the pilot community garden program through Parks and Recreation educational programming, according to the letter.

Community gardens already exist the in nearby cities of Bloomington, Richfield, Chanhassen, St. Louis Park and Eden Prairie.

Community gardens benefit residents by building a community that crosses cultural and socio-economic divides; combating inactivity, unhealthy eating habits and social isolation; and provide access to food that may otherwise be unavailable to residents, according to the letter.