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Sanjay Dhir
Trevor Drake
10/15/2013 - 11:30am
Sanjay comes to Metro CERT as a participant in the Environment and Sustainability program of HECUA (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs). After he completes a semester with HECUA, Sanjay will finish his bachelor’s degree in Geography with focuses in sustainability and GIS at the University of Minnesota. Sanjay is already at work with CERTs, spreading the word about CERTs Seed Grant opportunities for clean energy projects in Metro counties, developing CERTs case studies, and assisting with various projects at the Great Plains Institute (the partner organization for Metro CERT). Sanjay is excited to assist communities with clean energy projects and discover his true interests in sustainability studies. He also hopes to gain experience in communications and public outreach. Sanjay transferred to the University of Minnesota in 2012 after completing two years of college in his...
Diana presents
Diana McKeown
10/14/2013 - 5:12pm
On September 10, 2013 about 50 people, mostly city staff, attended a workshop to learn more about how to create the environment in their communities to provide the pathway for developing local solar resources. The workshop was co-sponsored by the GreenStep Cities partnership and Met Council; organized by the National Association of Regional Councils. The presentations included lots of fun facts about solar development nationally and globally, as well as how Minnesota ranks. In Minnesota, we had just over 11MW (which is just .15% of the US capacity) of solar installed at the end of 2012. That is just a drop in the bucket compared to some other states and the US has a total of 7.7 GW of total installed capacity and Germany which built 7.1 GW in just one year, 2012. The US is third in the world behind Germany and Italy for installed capacity. It’s important to remember that Germany...
Pequot Tool Lights Replaced
MN Dept. of Commerce
10/07/2013 - 10:30am
Recently Pequot Tool & Mfg. had an opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of its 83,000 square-foot plant by changing the lighting system in about 40 percent of its building and modernizing a major air compressor. The lighting upgrade is saving the company nearly $15,000 a year and will pay for itself via the energy savings in less than three years. Pequot Tool & Mfg., Inc., located in Pequot Lakes is a job shop for Precision CNC (computer numerical control) Machining and CNC Fabrication, stamping, assemblies and weldments. Pequot Tool began operations in 1981 as a tooling and stamping shop. Over the years it has evolved, expanded and diversified with its customers through technology, increasing the skill level of its workforce and making capital improvements to machinery and building. Recently the company had an opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of its...
Detroit Lakes Community Cultural Center improves lighting
MN Dept. of Commerce
10/03/2013 - 10:25am
Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center has been working to improve lighting efficiency over the course of the past few years. Overall, 409 light fixtures were affected by the retrofit. We are 100% pleased with the lighting project,” said Stu Omberg, DLCCC’s chief executive officer. Aims and objectives: With an electric bill of nearly $200,000 per year, management for the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center (DLCCC) decided to retrofit its building’s lighting system to save energy and reduce electric costs. The 99,000 square-foot DLCCC is comprised of a 45,000 square-foot cultural center (converted from a school in 2001) and a 54,000 square-foot fitness and aquatic center built in 2000. It is home to a gym, pool, indoor play structure, meeting spaces, a learning center, senior center, and an 800-seat theatre. Implementation: Being a community and cultural...
Raising awareness among community members
Annette Bair
10/03/2013 - 9:24am
Everyone would like to save money on utility bills, and most people want to conserve our natural resources, right? Well, in Southwest Minnesota, what initially started as an effort to raise awareness among tenants, management, and community members about the importance of the responsible use of natural resources such as energy and water turned out to make connections among generations. A partnership involving the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP), Southwest CERTs, AmeriCorps VISTA Program, and the Westbrook/ Walnut Grove YES! Team was started to validate the importance of conserving energy and water. Twenty-four apartment properties owned by the SWMHP were targeted to demonstrate strategies for efficient usage of energy and water in order to lower costs of utility bills. The YES! Team installed low-flow aerators on the faucets and tested the lavatories for leaks. A...
MN Dept. of Commerce
10/02/2013 - 3:42pm
Comprehensive energy program at Discovery Middle School achieves big energy savings and healthier indoor air quality. Alexandria’s Discovery Middle School has trimmed its energy use by nearly 50 percent, thanks to a host of energy improvements. In 2009, Alexandria Public Schools began an exciting and comprehensive “Go Green Initiative” that involved student learning and community impact, sustainable best practices, and cost savings. Part of the Go Green Initiative was an objective to get greener through aggressive energy management throughout the school district. Aims and objectives: One goal of the energy management plan is to put each school in the district in position to achieve an ENERGY STAR rating for energy efficiency. So far four of the ten schools in the district have achieved ENERGY STAR ratings above 75. (To qualify for the ENERGY STAR rating, a building must earn a score...
Increase awareness of career, economic, and entrepreneurial opportunities
Aleta Kolan
09/30/2013 - 8:00am
For students like Kimberly Colgan, participating in the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) program is a life-changing experience. “YES! has definitely impacted my college and career plans. I am now pursuing a degree in industrial process engineering (looking at processes to reduce waste) and I hope to work in a recycling facility to help improve cost and efficiency so that we can recycle as much as possible,” says Colgan, a YES! student and recent graduate from Apollo High School in St. Cloud, Minnesota. One of the goals of the YES! program is to increase awareness of career, economic, and entrepreneurial opportunities. 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...
Steve Nisbet from Wright-Hennepin explains to attendees how the solar panel and battery storage systems work.
Trevor Drake
09/26/2013 - 7:41am
Nearly 300 people gathered in Rockford, Minnesota on September 9th for a celebration, ribbon cutting, and tour of the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association’s “Solar Community,” the first community solar project completed in Minnesota. CERTs staff members Lissa Pawlisch, Diana McKeown, and Trevor Drake attended to help celebrate this milestone for Minnesota. While snacking on cheese and wine, attendees had the opportunity to follow a tour of the panel system from tenKsolar (Bloomington, MN) and the battery storage system from Silent Power (Baxter, MN) led by Wright-Hennepin’s President of Technology Operations, Steve Nisbet. Afterward, the crowd listened to speeches from Mark Vogt, CEO and President of Wright-Hennepin, Bill Grant, Deputy Commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources, and Mark Glaess, General Manager of the Minnesota...
Royalton Mayor Andrea Lauer is proud of Royalton’s 7.55 kW solar PV system, which greatly offsets the cost of electricity for City Hall
MN Dept. of Commerce
09/25/2013 - 2:51pm
Several years ago the City of Royalton embarked on a mission to increase energy efficiency through clean energy initiatives that save money. Royalton is now cheering its solar energy project as a success on many levels. “We were excited to see the benefit to the environment and to the bottom line for our city,” said Royalton Mayor Andrea Lauer. “Thanks to federal stimulus funds, we were able to provide work for two Minnesota companies and save energy and dollars for the residents of Royalton.” Implementation: On the roof of Royalton’s 12,000 square-foot City Hall, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance from Pine River, Minn., installed a 7.55 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The solar panels are made by tenKsolar, a Minnesota solar manufacturer. Outcomes—energy generated: The solar PV array provides about 20 percent of the building’s electricity, and energy efficiency...
Stacey Pederson
Dan Thiede
09/24/2013 - 5:03pm
Stacey Pederson is the new Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) Communications Assistant with the University of Minnesota’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnership and Extension. She decided to become more involved with CERTs after attending the 2013 CERTs Conference. Over the course of the past summer, Stacey has worked with Twin Cities Local Food, distributing fresh, locally-grown food to customers. Stacey is a student at Dakota County Technical College and will earn an Associate’s degree in Business Marketing in the spring of 2014. Currently Stacey is a member of the American Marketing Association, and is serving as president of the Dakota County Technical College chapter. In her free time, Stacey enjoys sewing reusable napkins and grocery bags for friends and family. Cool! Feel free to drop her a line: Stacey Pederson CERTs Communications Assistant University of...


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