03/18/2014 - 4:40pm
The State of Minnesota B3 Energy Benchmarking program has been developed by the State of Minnesota Department of Administration and Department of Commerce to help State and local governments improve the energy performance of their buildings by tracking and managing facility energy consumption. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
B3 Success – Energy Reductions on Campuses
Looking for benchmarking inspiration?
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, MNSCU for short, has been dedicated to using B3 Benchmarking for the past 5 years. The system, made up of 54 campuses whose 939 buildings make up a third of Minnesota state building space, uses B3 Benchmarking to prioritize building improvements:
When 20 campuses used the ARRA funds to undertake energy audits and recommissioning of their systems, they used B3 in identifying buildings to...
03/18/2014 - 4:06pm
The West Central Clean Energy Resource Team (WC CERT) and The Minnesota Project presented an educational program on how to pursue funding to support an LED lighting retrofit project on Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Life Center Auditorium of MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar.
Overview: Attendees learned about LED lighting for turkey barns, heard candid farmer feedback on this type of retrofit, and learned about utility and federal funding options to help finance LED lighting retrofits in turkey barns. We owe a special thanks to our guest speakers from Kandiyohi Power Cooperative, USDA Rural Development, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation District.
Who attended? Out of the 60 folks who attended the event, a third were poultry farmers and the remainder included utility representatives, lighting specialists, electricians and other energy service...
03/17/2014 - 6:37pm
The Rural Energy for American Program (REAP) from USDA Rural Development is a funding opportunity for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs for farmers and rural small businesses.
We recently held a webinar to walk participants through the 2014 USDA Rural Development REAP funding cycle and example project ideas. The webinar recording and PowerPoint slides are available here for you to review.
In the webinar:
Ron Omann, the State Energy & Environmental Coordinator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development reviews key changes to REAP, eligibility to seek funds, filling out the application, and how projects are scored.
Download slides >>
Fritz Ebinger, the Energy Program Manager of The Minnesota Project, a partner of...
03/17/2014 - 3:21pm
Center for Energy and Environment in conjunction with partner Neighborhood Energy Connection, excitedly announced the publication of a report that outlines a new approach to incorporate the value of energy-efficiency in homes at time-of-sale. The program, called “Energy Fit Homes,” will be launching in April, in conjunction with the Neighborhood Energy Connection. CEE is optimistic about its long-term potential to help transform the market for residential energy efficiency in Minnesota and will provide a third-party issued certificate for homes that reach a basic level of energy efficiency.
This certification program is designed to increase the overall efficiency of Minnesota’s existing housing stock by providing recognition and value to homeowners who conduct energy-efficient upgrades. Energy Fit Homes focuses on practical, cost-effective energy efficiency measures that allow a...
03/16/2014 - 10:16am
Nestled within the vast world of University of Minnesota student groups is a true gem: Innovative Engineers (IE). They’re busy working with people across the world to improve their communities and the quality of life. Current Vice President, Steven Maurer, an undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering, shares a few of their most inspiring recent stories in the interview below.
Lauren Werner-Foley: What does Innovative Engineers do and strive to achieve?
Steven Maurer: Innovative Engineers is centered on the ideals outlined in our mission statement which reads: “To craft engineers from students by developing clean energy solutions, connecting them with communities, and building lasting relationships.” Our ultimate goal is to build relationships with communities throughout the world and empower their citizens. We do this by collaborating on clean energy solutions in the areas of wind,...
03/15/2014 - 5:12pm
Light Installation Energizes Holland Neighborhood – Unveiling of public art project to visually represent neighborhood energy conservation efforts.
The Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) and Minneapolis Holland Neighborhood hosted an unveiling for the NE Green Light Project at Edison High School on Thursday, November 7 at 3:30pm. Speakers included Councilmember Kevin Reich, CEE President Sheldon Strom, an Edison High School Green Council member, and artist James Brenner.
Six light sculptures of steel, glass, fiber-optic lighting, and LED lamps ranging in height from ten to twelve feet were installed on the SE corner of the Edison High School parking lot. The sculptures connect to a wireless data management system, and their lamps change color to represent the how much energy the neighborhood saves through CEE’s programs.
“The NE Green Light Project is an outstanding...
03/15/2014 - 1:33pm
As the 2013 Nonprofit Mission Award winner in Innovation, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) has transformed the way low-income families obtain heat resources in a way that creates self-reliance and independence. RREAL’s Solar Assistance program is a nationally unique strategy that brings an innovative and sustainable solution to the pervasive societal challenge of fuel poverty. Fuel poverty exists when members of a household cannot afford to heat their home adequately and have to choose between heating and other basic necessities – an annual problem experienced by 585,000 Minnesotan households in 2012 alone. Check out the short video below.
RREAL addresses this community challenge by providing households struggling to meet their heat needs with a long-term, domestic and carbon-neutral solution by installing a solar-powered furnace on homes of families and...
03/10/2014 - 5:24pm
Solar panels from three different manufacturers — including two made in Minnesota – will battle it out on the roof of a downtown Duluth office building to see which can generate the most electricity in a Northland climate. Three 10,000-watt solar systems will combine to be the largest photovoltaic system in northern Minnesota, tied into the electric grid and providing a hefty chunk of the electrical needs of the seven-story St. Louis County Government Services Center.
The panels will cost about $170,000 combined. But Minnesota Power is providing the county with about $116,000 in renewable energy rebates, making the cost easily justified, with a payback in just a few years.
Minnesota Power has hired the Natural Resources Research Institute at UMD as an independent auditor to monitor the electrical output of the three systems and to determine the county’s precise energy savings.
02/20/2014 - 4:38pm
We recently talked to Jason Lindahl, Planner with the City of Rosemount about their clean energy efforts. Here’s a look at where they’ve been and what they’re up to…
In the beginning…
Rosemount sustainability efforts started with the City Council in 2007 after the City Council established the goal to “promote greening Rosemount.” Prior to this, the City had a group of policies and programs that addressed environmental issues but operated without a coordinated focus. Since then the City has learned sustainability is much more than just the environment. It also includes social and economic issues. They believe when these three areas of sustainability (economic, social and the environment) work together they can have a powerful impact on the future of the community and its quality of life.
Some of the City’s initial efforts produced positive results including...
02/06/2014 - 1:39pm
Minnesota consumed a total of 1,979 trillion Btus of energy in 2008. Of this, Minnesota industry consumed approximately 33% or 615 trillion Btus, including 30,000 gigawatt hours of electricity and 100 million MCF of natural gas to deliver products and services.
These use levels motivated recommendations for energy efficient technologies and practices aimed at meeting target reductions established by state and federal policy. Adoption of these recommendations would also provide significant cost savings to businesses.
To address energy conservation, the Minnesota legislature passed the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007, which calls for all utilities in Minnesota to achieve an energy savings goal of 1.5% of gross annual retail energy sales. In addition, the National Energy Policy Act of 2005 was signed to encourage industry to reduce energy intensity by 2.5% each year between 2007 and...