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Lake Street Council accepts check for Energy Coaching project
Trevor Drake
04/19/2016 - 4:03pm
On a sunny afternoon in South Minneapolis on March 22nd, just as school was getting out and cars zoomed past on 35W overhead, a celebration of local energy innovation was on display at Taqueria La Hacienda on East Lake Street. The event, hosted by the Lake Street Council, highlighted the work of the Council and its partners over the past 18 months to pilot “Energy Coaching”—an effort to help under-served and minority-owned small businesses take advantage of rebates and grants that can make energy efficiency improvements palatable, even for businesses with low profit margins. The program, which I’ve described in more detail here, attempted to build on the small-business energy efficiency programs that are already available in Xcel Energy territory by deploying so-called...
New lighting at Hamdi restaurant
Maddie Norgaard
04/18/2016 - 5:22pm
Hamdi Restaurant, offering traditional Somali food on East Lake Street, was eager to participate in the Small Business Energy Coaching Partnership program to improve the energy efficiency of the business and lower the electric bill. A representative, or “Energy Coach” from the Lake Street Council and Energy Efficiency Specialists from the Chamber of Commerce Energy Smart Program have teamed up to make energy efficiency accessible to area businesses. Before an Energy Coach from the Lake Street Council stopped by Hamdi Restaurant to share information about the program, restaurant owner Abdishakur Elmi was already experiencing many problems with the lighting inside and outside of his building, and high utility costs were a major concern. After learning about the variety of technical and financial assistance programs available, Elmi saw this program as a way to address many of his...
Safari Restaurant on Lake Street
Maddie Norgaard
04/18/2016 - 5:19pm
A co-owner of Safari Restaurant, Sade Hashi, was confident in his decision to take advantage of the energy efficiency assistance provided by the Small Business Energy Coaching Partnership, a jointly run program between the Lake Street Council and the Chamber of Commerce Energy Smart Program. A representative, or “Energy Coach” from the Lake Street Council and Energy Efficiency Specialists from the Energy Smart Program have teamed up to help make energy efficiency accessible to area businesses. Safari Restaurant is known for its exceptional Somali cuisine and events center. After learning that the program could help lower his monthly electric bill and improve the atmosphere of Safari, Hashi was excited to take advantage of the opportunity. Hashi says, “This is a program that brings beneficial resources to entrepreneurs.” Prior to learning about the program, he was looking to improve...
Restaurante El Nuevo Rodeo
Maddie Norgaard
04/18/2016 - 5:14pm
El Nuevo Rodeo, a vibrant restaurant and events center, is nearly always busy serving authentic Mexican cuisine and hosting small and large events. While owner Maya Santamaria is busy making sure her patrons are satisfied and events are nothing but successful, building manager Sergio Maldonado is working hard to find ways to increase the energy efficiency of his building and reduce operation costs. Maldonado was enthusiastic about the opportunity to improve El Nuevo’s building operations through the Small Business Energy Coaching Partnership, a jointly run program between the Lake Street Council and the Chamber of Commerce Energy Smart Program. A representative, or “Energy Coach” from the Lake Street Council and Energy Efficiency Specialists from the Energy Smart Program have teamed up to help make energy efficiency accessible to area businesses. Maldonado found out about the...
New lighting at Taqueria La Hacienda
Maddie Norgaard
04/18/2016 - 5:08pm
Miguel Zagal, owner of Taqueria La Hacienda, took advantage of the opportunity to increase the energy efficiency of his restaurant through the Small Business Energy Coaching Partnership, a jointly run program between the Lake Street Council and the Chamber of Commerce Energy Smart Program. A representative, or “Energy Coach” from the Lake Street Council and Energy Efficiency Specialists from the Energy Smart Program have teamed up to help make energy efficiency accessible to area businesses. Zagal became interested in the program when he found out it could provide long term savings in the operational costs of his restaurant. Located on East Lake Street, Taqueria La Hacienda is a popular restaurant that has served authentic Mexican cuisine since 1999. At first glance, Zagal wasn’t very interested in the idea of upgrading to more energy efficient systems in his restaurant due to the...
Starr Automotive
Maddie Norgaard
04/18/2016 - 5:03pm
Starr Automotive, an auto repair shop located on East Lake Street in South Minneapolis, is one of several businesses that took advantage of the opportunity to reduce energy use and operation costs through the Small Business Energy Coaching Partnership, a jointly run program between the Lake Street Council and the Chamber of Commerce Energy Smart Program. A representative, or “Energy Coach” from the Lake Street Council and Energy Efficiency Specialists from the Energy Smart Program have teamed up to help make energy efficiency accessible to area businesses. A family owned and operated business, Starr Auto does everything from oil changes and scheduled maintenance to engine and transmission swaps. Jerry Starr, owner and founder of the shop, emphasizes that his day-to-day business operations have always remained true to his moto: “Honest repair at a fair price.” In 2015, Starr was...
Nest Smart Programmable Thermostat
MN Dept. of Commerce
04/15/2016 - 1:34pm
With tax day, it’s no wonder that Minnesota and the nation recognize April as Financial Capability Month. It’s a great reminder for us that one of the best ways to save money is by saving energy! There are many basic no- and low-cost measures you can take to reduce energy use, cutting your utility bill and putting more money in your pocket. Here are a few energy- and money-saving opportunities: Use a programmable thermostat to reduce your heating and cooling costs. Turn off computers and monitors when not in use. Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips and turn the strips off when equipment is not in use. Turn off lights and fans when nobody’s in the room. Close your fireplace damper when not in...
SolarWall
Joel Haskard
04/14/2016 - 2:38pm
With the Made in Minnesota solar thermal rebate still available, we spoke with Jason Edens, Director of the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), to learn about an eligible technology, SolarWall. While other solar thermal technologies are still available in Minnesota, SolarWall is the only one that is actively being manufactured. All others are simply drawing down existing inventory. Can you tell me a little about SolarWall?   Jason Edens: SolarWall is a solar thermal technology designed to pre-heat ventilation make-up air in commercial, industrial and agricultural applications.   Ventilation make-up air? What’s that?   Jason Edens: Our buildings must breathe or exchange air...
MN Dept. of Commerce Division of Energy Resources
MN Dept. of Commerce
04/14/2016 - 2:13pm
A random selection of applicants for the 2016 Made in Minnesota (MIM) Solar PV Incentive Program was completed this month, and 393 new residential and commercial solar electric (PV) systems were chosen to receive funding in the 10-year program’s third year. Applicants to the 2016 PV incentive program will be notified by the Minnesota Department of Commerce through email; a posting by MiM application number (pdf) is available on the MiM Program Updates & News webpage. The numbers highlighted in red have been selected for funding, those in black are wait listed. The list is displayed by utility and by residential and commercial applications. The combined capacity of the planned systems...
How to sell lots of Nissan Leafs
Amira Hamdon
04/14/2016 - 1:53pm
A recent month-long campaign in Minnesota drove a ten-fold increase in Nissan Leaf sales at a single dealership. Yes. You read that correctly, ten times as many sold as usual! Kline Nissan in Maplewood, MN sold 41 Nissan Leafs in March 2016, way up from their average volume of four vehicles per month. How did this happen? Here are the five things you need to boost the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in your community… #1 The Idea   This is where we tip our hats to our friends in the Colorado counties of Boulder, Adams, and Denver. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Program (SWEEP) asked themselves “what is the biggest barrier to people adopting EV technology?” Like other clean technologies; people suffer sticker shock from high upfront costs EVEN when the costs are much lower over the lifetime of the technology. The Colorado...

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