11/23/2015 - 2:15pm
Minnesota is the #1 turkey producing and processing state in the U.S., with 450 family farmers raising approximately 44 million to 46 million turkeys annually.
The cost of energy can have a big impact on the cost of food. So as new technologies have emerged that help turkey farmers reduce the use of electricity in their barns, many have started to make the switch with simple upgrades like LED lighting. With up to 85% savings, switching from high pressure sodium or incandescent lighting to LED lighting presents the greatest savings opportunity.
“A 2013 study of LED lighting in turkey barns showed that switching to LED lighting led to calmer birds and no measurable poultry production decrease,” shared Fritz Ebinger, CERTs Rural Energy Development Manager with University of Minnesota Extension and Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. “These positive study...
11/19/2015 - 1:37pm
Our old friend Carl Samuelson, Energy Strategy Facilitator with Michaels Energy, recently brought to our attention the great energy efficiency work by management and staff at the Hilton Garden Inn Minneapolis Maple Grove. To learn more, we interviewed Carl and the hotel’s General Manager, Mike Severson.
Joel Haskard: How does Hilton Garden Inn Minneapolis Maple Grove compare to other hotels?
Carl Samuelson: They are the most efficient out of 27 hotels in their management group here in the Midwest. They also scored an 80 on ENERGY STAR portfolio manager – so that means that we’re working with them to pursue ENERGY STAR certification. The impressive part is that their equipment is generally pretty standard...
11/17/2015 - 12:39pm
During the month of October, 2015, folks in Mankato, Staples, and Grand Rapids had a chance to share their input on the Minnesota 2025 Energy Action Plan.
CERTs hosted these three events (as well as an event in St. Paul) to gather feedback, with attendees participating in small group discussions on two of these five topics:
Industry & agriculture
Buildings & energy efficiency
Mobility, transportation & fuels
Energy supply & grid modernization
“It was great getting input from such diverse stakeholders across the state,” said Lissa Pawlisch, CERTs Director. “Folks in every region noted the need to scale up energy efficiency in existing buildings, and there was real interest in distributed energy systems with the recent boom in solar, continued growth in wind energy, and opportunities for greater use of biomass.”
We want your input, too...
11/17/2015 - 10:03am
It was obvious walking into the packed Mayflower Church community room on Thursday, November 12th that residents in South Minneapolis are curious about community solar gardens—there were barely any chairs left in the large room.
Overview of presentations:
Attendees learned all about community solar gardens from Lissa Pawlisch, Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) Director at the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Developments Partnerships and Extension. Lissa covered all of the basics, and then delved into the specifics that residents need to know before subscribing to a project.
Following Lissa’s presentation, Jamie Long with Linden Hills Power and Light talked about their community solar garden effort, how the planning process has been going, and...
11/09/2015 - 4:23pm
Two groups, Outsourced Innovations, a lighting consulting firm, and Tangletown Gardens, a greenhouse nursery and garden business, recently finished a one-year Conservation, Applied Research & Development (CARD) grant project funded by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
The research project, LED Lighting to Improve Energy Efficiency in Controlled Environment Agriculture, aimed to show reductions in energy use from greenhouse-specific LED lamps compared to the traditional use of high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps in a controlled crop environment.
Lessons from this research project answered three primary questions:
Whether LED lighting could be used in controlled...
11/09/2015 - 2:45pm
On October 22nd, over one hundred people attended the 9th annual gathering of the Metro CERT region.
As always, the program provided information, connections to resources, and networking around community clean energy implementation. This year participants were also offered the opportunity to provide input on both the Metro CERT priorities over the next two years and the Minnesota 2025 Energy Action Plan. The Great Plains Institute—in partnership with the MN Department of Commerce, the Legislative Energy Commission, and Rocky Mountain Institute—coordinates the 2025 Energy Action Plan.
A new, live polling technology gave real-time results from the audience, who traveled to the Science Museum from all around the Twin Cities metro. Prior to voting, small groups discussed strategies and technologies considered most important to their communities and the broader metro area...
11/08/2015 - 1:49pm
Looking for a CERTs Seed Grant project example that educated students and the greater community about energy efficiency AND reduces costs AND improves the lighting quality? Look no further than the Madison, Marietta, Nassau Elementary School!
Madison, Minnesota (pop. 1,551) is located in West Central Minnesota. Back in 2014, the gymnasium at the elementary school was in sore need of better lighting, and the students were primed and pumped for the retrofit. “The school had completed a partnership with the City of Madison Bright Energy Solutions—an energy saving education program—for the 4th grade class that school year,” says Principal Kipp Stender. “The program taught students about the importance and ways to implement energy efficiency savings with their parents at home. The lighting retrofit at the school was an additional way to show the students how energy savings...
10/30/2015 - 1:08pm
Interest in solar energy and community solar gardens has exploded this year in Minnesota, and people are hungry for tools that can help them move forward.
To meet the demand, the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) has relaunched the Clean Energy Project Builder website, which helps people find companies that can help them plan, implement, and manage clean energy projects (and now much more).
The most exciting new feature on the website is a directory of the available Community Solar Gardens (CSGs) in the state. People can visit the website and choose their electric utility and county to see the gardens available to them for subscription. There are already 27 community solar gardens on the website, with more being added every week....
Doug Tiffany - UMN
10/29/2015 - 4:01pm
Since the passage of Minnesota’s 2013 solar legislation there has been a lot of interest in Community Solar Gardens (CSGs), especially in Xcel Energy’s service territory.
Who are the developers now working to build community solar gardens? In short, they are independent businesses organized to seek subscribers, raise funding, find acceptable sites, and organize the construction of solar photo-voltaic (PV) gardens up to 1 megawatt in capacity. These developers allow numerous power consumers to participate in solar energy without the hassles of installation, maintenance, and interconnection while capturing economies of scale in solar PV installations.
CSGs Developers and Xcel Energy have a symbiotic business relationship. CSGs invest in variable renewable energy assets in response to consumer demand, while Xcel provides transmission and distribution services, backup power for...
10/28/2015 - 2:45pm
USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced that USDA is awarding 34 grants that will help Minnesota rural small businesses and agricultural producers reduce energy usage and costs in their operations. Funding will go towards energy efficiency improvements and/or renewable energy systems.
“As more and more rural business owners and ag producers incorporate renewable energy and energy efficient measures into their business plans, the more they contribute to the economic sustainability of rural America,” Landkamer said. “This funding will help implement these energy-saving measures. These actions not only help them save on annual energy costs, but also reduce their environmental footprint.”
USDA is providing $1.6 million in grants for 34 projects, throughout the state of Minnesota, financed through the...