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Working on a plane in the newly insulated AirCorps Aviation shop
Anna Carlson
10/13/2016 - 12:28pm
Bemidji’s AirCorps Aviation specializes in the restoration, maintenance, and rebuilding of vintage WWII aircraft. They’re now working from more comfortable, well-lit, and energy-efficient buildings thanks to lighting and insulation improvements financed with PACE. What is PACE? Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a new way to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to the buildings of commercial property owners. Energy-saving measures pursued by the owners receive project financing and are repaid as a separate item on their property tax assessment for a set period. PACE eliminates the burden of upfront costs by providing low-cost, long-term financing. To learn more about the project, we interviewed Sara Zimmerman, Business Coordinator at AirCorps Aviation.   What motivated you to apply for...
Holy Rosary students from Duluth plant pollinator habitat around solar installation at Laurentian Environmental Learning Center
Brian Bluhm
10/07/2016 - 12:02pm
Today, students from Holy Rosary School in Duluth made a positive difference in native northern eastern Minnesota habitats by planting common milkweed, wild bergamot, fragrant giant hyssop and lindleys aster around a new solar PV array at the Laurentian Environmental Learning Center near Mesabi, Minn. With everything in place, the enthusiastic students headed outside, shovels in hand, and made a positive difference on the local landscape. The new flowers are planted in their new home, helping to ensure a diverse future for northwoods pollinators. “I think it’s a great experience for kids to have hands on learning with current environmental issues,” said Kristian Jankofsky, Laurentian Center’s manager. “The kids were able to interact with their environment in a responsible way taking these...
Northeast CERT Coordinator Brian Bluhm
Joel Haskard
10/07/2016 - 10:08am
The Clean Energy Resource Teams is pleased to announce that Brian Bluhm has been hired as our new coordinator working with communities to advance clean energy across Northeastern Minnesota. Welcome, Brian! Brian is based at the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency. Brian has a B.A. in Anthropology and a M.Ed. in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Active in sustainability education for over 10 years, Brian is also the Executive Director for the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability and Coordinator of the Rutabaga Project to increase local and nutritious food access in NE MN. Please join us in welcoming Brian to the CERTs team and give him a call or email to introduce yourself! Brian Bluhm Northeast CERT Coordinator...
This year's Energy Home in the Minnesota State Fair Eco Experience building
MN Dept. of Commerce
10/06/2016 - 12:29pm
The Minnesota State Fair set an attendance record of 1,943,719 this year, and the Eco Experience likely set a record of its own as more than 260,000 passed through its doors. At the center of the Eco Experience was the Home Energy Exhibit, coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Commerce partnered with Minnesota utilities, state agencies, energy businesses, and nonprofits to provide consumers with engaging displays and features. The State Fair afforded Commerce and its partners the opportunity to speak with thousands of Minnesotans about energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable energy. It was a chance to move people further on the path to making their homes more comfortable, efficient, and safe. Community solar garden display in the Eco Experience Energy Home exhibit. One of the many popular...
Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40 award program
Dan Thiede
10/05/2016 - 2:21pm
Midwest Energy News’ 40 Under 40 award program highlights emerging leaders throughout the region and their work in America’s transition to a clean energy economy. This year’s cohort of Midwest-based leaders and innovators from all sectors—industry, government, regulatory, business, academic, and advocacy—have just been announced. Below we’re highlighting the Minnesota winners, but you can click here to see all of them across the Midwest. Congrats!   Matthew AndersonVice President of Climate, National Audubon Society Matthew Anderson began as the Director of Audubon’s Climate Initiative in 2015. He joined Audubon in 2013 as the Executive Director of Audubon Minnesota. Anderson...
Lake Superior Harvest Festival
Brian Bluhm
09/29/2016 - 3:36pm
The 23rd Annual Lake Superior Harvest Festival took place at Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park on Saturday, September 10th. Nearly 6,000 people attend this popular event to chat with their favorite local farmers, pick up delicious local produce, jams and baked goods, and explore local arts and crafts vendors. In addition, the Harvest Festival featured the always-popular Energy Tent! The Energy Tent was headed up by Minnesota Power, and housed a number of energy-related organizations, including: Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), Ecolibrium3, Zenergy, Northern Energetics, Comfort Systems, UMD Office of Sustainability, the Natural Resources Research Institute, Wagner Zaun Architects, the Minnesota Department of Commerce – Division of Energy Resources, Your Home Improvement Company, and the Midwest Renewable Energy...
Solar air heat system on Sarah Hayden Shaw's "Shopfice"
Sarah Hayden Shaw
09/28/2016 - 4:40pm
I have always wanted a space of my own to work on my varied and numerous projects—everything from painting to furniture restoration to various excuses to use all of my power tools. A need to store work equipment and tools helped push me to action, so three years ago I finished half of my detached two-stall garage in order to create this space.   Introducing the Shopfice I super-insulated the walls and attic and added a patio door inside the garage door to create a weather-tight envelope that lets lots of light in, but was camouflaged as a mild looking garage when not in use. It was a fun project, and one I loved the results of. I work much of the time from home, and started spending many of my days working in what I began to call my “Shopfice.” My first attempt at renewable heating I also installed in my Shopfice the smallest and most efficient...
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Fritz Ebinger
09/28/2016 - 12:31pm
Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson asks livestock producers to apply for a portion of $2 million in grants available for on-farm improvements. “Livestock Investment Grants help farmers stay competitive and reinvest in their industry. Last year, we had 104 livestock farmers receive grants to improve their operation,” said Frederickson.   What have farmers already done with the grant funding? Jared Franke of Hayfield constructed a new beef barn to increase efficiency and allow the next generation to enter into the family farming operation. Michael Laue of Fairmont constructed a 2,400 head swine facility to increase profitability and allow a young farmer to start farming full time. Matthew and David Hanson of Goodridge expanded and improved current dairy facilities by adding a robotic milking unit and installing equipment to improve...
Diana McKeown
09/27/2016 - 12:11pm
Metro CERT welcomes Gordy Moore to their crew for the school year! Gordy will be assisting the Sustainable Communities team at Great Plains Institute (GPI), working most closely with the Metro CERT program in addition to supporting Minnesota GreenStep Cities and the Grow Solar partnership. More specifically, he may support Metro CERT communications by writing case studies for Seed Grant projects and blogs to highlight clean energy resources for communities, among an array of other tasks. Gordy is currently a senior Geography major and Environmental Studies minor at Macalester College across the river in Saint Paul. In his time at Macalester, he has worked in Mac’s Sustainability Office and last year as the first-ever...
Katherine Hosch
Trevor Drake
09/27/2016 - 12:08pm
Katie Hosch joined the Great Plains Institute in September of 2016 as a Minnesota GreenCorps member for one year of service. Welcome! Katie will be fulfilling a unique position, working to help cities improve and maintain energy efficiency in public buildings. Katie will primarily work with the Minnesota GreenStep Cities and Metro CERT programs, helping cities take advantage of existing technical assistance and financing programs.   Before coming to GPI, Katie graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris in May of 2016 with a degree in Environmental Studies. While attending university, Katie was involved with the Office of Sustainability where she worked on assessing sustainability and assisted...


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Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission