B3 Overview

In 2000, The Minnesota Legislature required the Departments of Administration and Commerce, with the assistance of other agencies, to develop sustainable building design guidelines mandatory for all new buildings receiving funding from the bond proceeds fund after January 1, 2004. In 2008, this legislation was expanded to include development of sustainable building guidelines mandatory for all major renovations receiving funding from the bond proceeds fund after January 1, 2009. The legislation defined major renovations as at least 10,000 square feet and including the replacement of the mechanical, ventilation, or cooling system of the building or a section of the building. According to the legislation, the guidelines for both new buildings and major renovations must:

  • Exceed the state energy code by at least 30 percent
  • Focus on achieving the lowest possible lifetime costs
  • Encourage continual energy conservation improvements
  • Include air quality and lighting standards
  • Create and maintain a healthy environment
  • Facilitate productivity improvements
  • Specify ways to reduce material costs
  • Consider the long-term operating costs of the building including the use of renewable energy sources and distributed electric energy generation that uses a renewable source or natural gas or a fuel that is as clean or cleaner than natural gas.

To achieve these goals, The State of Minnesota B3 Guidelines build on previous local and national efforts. The guidelines are designed to be clear, simple and easily monitored with explicit documentation that will record progress. They are designed to be compatible with national guidelines such as LEED™ while maintaining regional values, priorities and requirements. Most importantly, the guidelines set up a process that will eventually lead to a full accounting of the actual costs and benefits of sustainable building design. The State has further clarified the scope of the guidelines to focus on office and higher education classroom facilities, although the guidelines are also suitable for most other building types.

Sustainable design is a means to reduce energy expenditures, enhance the health, well-being and productivity of the building occupants, and improve the quality of the natural environment. All of these can contribute to high-performance buildings with lower life cycle costs. To move toward ensuring these outcomes, the guidelines attempt to quantify the human, community, environmental, and life-cycle economic costs and benefits for each project.

If you have a new or renovation construction project that receives bond money from the State of Minnesota, State legislation requires the project to use and follow sustainable guidelines. Other organizations may also require the use of the B3 Guidelines.

There are a few narrowly defined exceptions to this requirement which are available to State of Minnesota funded projects. These allow a project a "not-applicable" designation; if a project team believes that it may qualify for a "not-applicable" designation they may apply by using the Applicability Form (P-0c). Please complete this form and send it to guidelines@b3mn.org. Projects identified to have Minnesota state bond funding not pursuing the Guidelines and not designated as “not-applicable” are considered non-compliant with the B3 Guidelines. Please see the “Previous Versions” page for assistance with determining which version of the guidelines should be used.