MN Energy Smart

Minnesota Innovators Make Waves in Clean Energy Development

Minnesota companies have been leading the development of clean energy products for years. Now, two of them are getting attention for a very high-profile project.

New York City’s One World Trade Center (1 WTC), also known as “Freedom Tower,” is being constructed on the site of the World Trade Center buildings that were destroyed in 2001 in a terrorist attack. When the skyscraper is finished in 2013, it will be the highest building in North America, reaching a symbolic height of 1,776 feet in recognition of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

The building will also include products from two energy innovators with ties to Minnesota: Viracon, Inc., and McQuay International.

Viracon, headquartered in Owatonna, Minnesota, is providing the “curtain wall” glass for the building’s exterior. The extremely long pieces of glass must be highly transparent while also providing superior energy efficiency and security. Viracon’s VRE-54 glass coating fits the bill, providing a crisp neutral appearance, combined with high levels of energy performance and light transmission.

McQuay International, with its American headquarters in Plymouth, Minnesota, is providing the energy-efficient air conditioning equipment for 1 WTC. It will consist of custom-designed AC units with HFC-410A refrigerant, which has zero depletion potential. The quiet units are located on each floor, eliminating the need for large piping systems, and allowing the temperature to be controlled individually floor-by-floor. The units are being manufactured at McQuay’s Fairbault, Minnesota plant.

Both companies express pride at having their products chosen for the project, and Minnesota can be proud of the clean energy innovation and leadership that these contract awards represent.

Want Venture Funds for Your Bright Idea? Apply by Dec. 5!  Check out the Energy Smart financial incentive page for more information.


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