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A full workshop on GESP in Mankato
Lindsay Wimmer
11/08/2013 - 12:00pm
On November 6, 2013 in Mankato the Energy Service Coalition in Minnesota hosted a workshop for government, energy service company, and utility staff to talk about the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP), a technical and financial solution to install energy efficiency upgrades and renewable technologies in publicly owned buildings. GESP utilizes energy performance contracting to identify, finance, and install energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy, with additional technical, financial, and contractual assistance by the Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources to help with the EPC process for the public sector, including local units of government. The workshop...
LED streetlights pay off in West St. Paul | Photo by RICHARD TSONG-TAATAARII, Star Tribune
Alexis Troschinetz
10/31/2013 - 8:00am
The first community-wide test of LED streetlights in Minnesota is already producing big energy savings for the city of West St. Paul. The results could lead to lots of others making the same move. “Other cities need to pay attention to this,’’ Mayor John Zanmiller said. “This is the way it’s going, and we’re fortunate that we were the test lab.’’ The light-emitting diode bulbs create a brighter and crisper illumination than the yellowish light put out by the high-pressure sodium streetlights widely in use, he said. “You used to see that dull yellow haze. Now it’s a crisp view of the street. When you get a nice snow on the ground, it just illuminates everything.’’ The Xcel Energy test in West St. Paul is the state’s largest installation of its kind and the first community-wide test, involving more than 500 lights. Xcel is seeing significant energy savings, reduced service calls...
Button up your house
Mary LaLone - Xcel Energy
10/29/2013 - 3:15pm
Have you ever wondered why “fall cleaning” isn’t as popular as “spring cleaning?” With winter comes more time indoors and more indoor entertaining. It seems the perfect time of year to be sure your home is cozy and buttoned up! Here’s a checklist to help keep this season’s winter wonderland outside…   The Furnace Move materials away from the furnace, especially flammable materials. Check your pilot light. If it isn’t burning, follow the instructions for relighting which are typically printed on access doors. You can also find information on the manufacturer’s website—that’s where you should go to learn about maintenance requirements for your equipment. If you have difficulty, call a qualified heating contractor for advice. Vacuum out any dust or debris in and around the unit, especially the blower. Replace the filter if needed...
Energy-themed pumpkin stencils
Dan Thiede
10/29/2013 - 10:17am
As National Energy Action Month comes to a close, celebrate with these energy-themed pumpkin stencils! It’s a fun way to energize your neighborhood and teach your kids about energy efficiency and renewable energy. While you’re at it, you can also avoid cold weather terrors like phantom power and see tips for bundling up your house before winter hits. Click here to download the energy-themed pumpkin patterns (created by the U.S. Department of Energy). Have a safe and spooky Halloween, and please share your pumpkin photos with us at info@cleanenergyresourceteams.org or...
Fritz Ebinger
10/25/2013 - 2:32pm
The energy savings potential of LED lighting systems and other energy efficiency opportunities in poultry barns were described in a “Field Day” on Oct. 11 in Willmar, MN that attracted poultry farmers, utility reps, and energy efficiency specialists from the Upper Midwest. The Minnesota Project and Once Innovations, partners in a test-pilot CARD project on LED lighting systems in Minnesota poultry barns, were featured. Fritz Ebinger, program manager of The Minnesota Project, shared how the cost-share CARD project has installed 1,800 LED lights across 17 barns in Minnesota to save an estimated 347,000 kWh per year. As an example, he noted how one barn in the project that replaced its incandescent lamps with LEDs used 53,455 kWh/yr of electricity with incandescent lights...
Solar Hot Water System
Maggie Kozak
10/17/2013 - 2:44pm
Nearly 40 people gathered at Deep Portage Learning Center outside of Hackensack Tuesday, August 6, 2013, for a clean energy tour sponsored by Northwest Clean Energy Resource Team (NW CERT) and Central Clean Energy Resource Team (Central CERT). Deep Portage is a non-profit residential environmental education and outdoor recreation center located in Cass County, Minnesota. The tour highlighted this accredited school’s ten energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofits. Tour participants started the day by enjoying snacks of homemade zucchini bread (zucchini grown on site), sugar cookies, fresh cantaloupe and coffee, all prepared by Deep Portage’s kitchen staff. The group was then welcomed by Maggie Kozak, CERTs Event Programming Coordinator and Kathy Draeger, Statewide Director of the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. After a round of introductions...
Crosslake Presbyterian Church
Kristi Loobeek
10/17/2013 - 12:05pm
The story of Noah and the Ark, a man building a gigantic boat in preparation for a flood that no one else believed was coming, is familiar to most. Crosslake Presbyterian Church has recently taken a page out of Noah’s book and begun their own major undertaking that was initially dismissed by some. Project proponents commissioned a research study on the building’s efficiency to help sway doubters to install photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the church. The project and study have hence been aptly dubbed “The New Noah Project.” Crosslake Presbyterian Church is no stranger to both preserving nature and energy efficiency. Roger Grussing, Chair on the Crosslake Energy Task Force explained, “When the church building was constructed it was designed not only to fit into the surroundings aesthetically, but also was relatively energy efficient and included ground-source heating and...
Westbrook-Walnut Grove YES! students helping to install a wind turbine at their school
Aleta Kolan
10/16/2013 - 1:56pm
Driving through rural Minnesota you are apt to see impressive displays of renewable energy: wind farms, solar arrays, and ethanol plants come to mind. Additional efforts to promote renewable energy and energy conservation have been popping up in rural Minnesota communities thanks to Youth Energy Summit (YES!) teams. YES!, a program partnership between Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) and Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center (PWELC), is a team-oriented youth program that uses hands-on, experiential learning and energy action projects to address energy opportunities and issues in rural Minnesota communities. This past school year half of the 32 YES! teams chose to work on projects directly related to renewable energy and energy conservation. Several of these teams decided to pursue solar projects last school year. The...
Solar Panels on roof of Close Associates
Jared Hanks
10/16/2013 - 1:48pm
Four Seward neighborhood businesses installed solar energy on their roof tops. With a combination of rebates, these businesses did their research and it is paying off for them in a very big way. One company saved up to $164,000 by applying for a combination of state and federal rebates. The Seward Civic and Commerce Association (SCCA) is working with the city of Minneapolis on an energy project this year. The goal of this project is to help at least three businesses in the Seward community install solar energy systems. In an ongoing study, the SCCA is gathering information from its members about their experiences and interests in energy efficiency projects, specifically solar energy. The following are four case studies from various businesses in the Seward neighborhood that have installed solar energy systems on their property. Seward...
Redwood Area Development Corporation Website
Annette Bair
10/15/2013 - 4:13pm
The Redwood Area Development Corporation (RADC) developed a new website with a renewable energy portal on the homepage. Julie Rath with RADC is excited about the new site and content: “Having the portal right on the homepage will open up opportunities for citizens and businesses to find easier access to the tool they need for their own projects, energy rebates, funding sources, etc.” Posting of actual stories and the energy portal have helped to increase the awareness of CERTs, the GreenStep Cities Program, and other energy-related programs that communities and residents may not have been aware of. Along with the energy portal, postings on Facebook and Twitter have been highlighting energy projects in Redwood County. This marketing of information will help to spark interest in these initiatives and help to promote energy conservation in southwest Minnesota. “I know the website is...


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