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Fritz Ebinger
Wed, 09/04/2013 - 2:46pm
The National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) paired up recently to promote wind power by reducing permitting barriers, while also protecting resident interests. The report, County Strategies for Successfully Managing and Promoting Wind Power, was published in early 2012 in conjunction with DWEA’s Small Wind Model Zoning Ordinance. The report’s recommendations and the Small Wind Model Zoning Ordinance are now being implemented across the U.S. NACo conducted extensive research to learn and share the best practices from...
Joel Haskard
Mon, 08/26/2013 - 9:58am
Director and Instructor of the Center for Renewable Energy Education & Demonstration, Roger Aiken recently took some time to sit down with CERTs own Joel Haskard to talk about the Discovering Science on the Range in the Field of Energy (DSRFE) project, one of the statewide 2012-13 seed grant recipients. (The DSRFE group poses at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority in photo on right) Joel Haskard: Tell us a bit about your project. Roger Aiken: The overarching goal of our work with DSRFE is to provide science, mathematics and technical education teachers at the middle school and high school levels with STEM-rich energy content materials to enable them to become familiar with and direct their students towards careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industry. It is all about jobs. Preparing today’s...
Fresh greens in the dead of winter: Garden Goddess greenhouse project
Kristi Loobeek
Thu, 08/22/2013 - 4:11pm
If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery, Chuck Waibel and Carol Ford should be blushing. In the fall and winter of 2012 in Ashby, Minnesota, Paradox Farm used Waibel and Ford’s model for the Garden Goddess deep winter greenhouse. Within northern climates, a three-season growing period is normally all that can be achieved due to the bitter cold and heavy snow. However, the Garden Goddess design of passive solar technology coupled with underground heat storage, crop growth in the dead of winter is possible—meaning the community can be supplied with fresh, local produce all year long. Co-owners and operators of Paradox Farm, Dr. Sue Wika and Dr. Tom Prieve, run the 160-acre farm and focus on ecological sustainability, including matter cycling (minimal use of off-farm inputs), maximized use of solar energy, and practices to enhance biodiversity. Along with running the farm...
Kristi Loobeek
Thu, 08/22/2013 - 3:41pm
The field of solar energy is growing at an amazing rate. But before new technologies can make it into our homes and businesses, extensive research must be done first. This is precisely what the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) and Apex Solar have done recently with solar thermal air heating for ventilation. Within every structure, a supply of fresh, oxygen-rich air is required for a variety of reasons, including keeping people comfortable and healthy and preventing moisture buildup and mold growth. This fresh air can be supplied by venting air from outdoors to indoors, while simultaneously pumping exhausted air out. This simple idea gets a little more complicated when you take into account the temperature difference between outside and inside (especially in cold winter months). Recently, RREAL and Apex Solar dedicated themselves to investigating the use of solar air heating in...
Wind turbines near Lake Benton, MN
Dan Thiede
Thu, 08/22/2013 - 8:15am
Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic, has been looking at all things energy in a series of videos and reports on energy use. He and other reporters have been trying to break down how and where different types of energy are employed in the U.S. As it stands, renewable energy makes up only about 10 percent of what we use in the United States. But as energy from fossil fuels declines, renewable energy will likely be asked to shoulder more of the load. Listen to the discussion on MPR’s Daily Circuit among Alexis Madrigal, Kerri Miller, and listeners. See the post on the MPR website >>
CERTs Steering Committee Members
Joel Haskard
Wed, 08/21/2013 - 9:22am
Tis’ the season for new steering committee members! We’re excited to introduce you to our new batch of volunteer steering committee members who will be working hard to bring more clean energy projects into their regions across Minnesota. Before all that, though, we want to send out a special heart-felt THANK YOU to the stellar folks who are stepping off of our steering committee after years of volunteer service. They have been a real wind in the sails of CERTs and are all clean energy champions within their own communities. A big CERTs thanks to: Don Graves, John Baumgartner, Lola Schoenrich, Abby Finis, Neely Crane-Smith, Cheryal Lee Hills, Robert McLean, Dawn Hegland, Norm Erickson, Roger Warehime, Holli Arp, Jack Potter, Tom Warmka, Kevin Vickerman, Brian Christiansen, Steve Davis and John Oeljenbruns (Brian, Steve and John’s terms end in September, 2013). And now, without...
Do It Green! Directory
Dan Thiede
Tue, 08/20/2013 - 3:55pm
Do you work for or own a green business or organization? NOW is the time to get your business or organization more exposure to the green community in Minnesota. The Do It Green! Directory features hundreds of sustainable green businesses and organizations in Minnesota—is yours one of them? You can apply to become a Directory member by September 15th to get listed in the print, online, and downloadable directory for 2014. The 2014 edition will be expanded to include Green Routes members, has more search functions online, and will be distributed to more locations throughout greater Minnesota! Apply by September 15th to be included >>
ReUSE Minnesota
Joel Haskard
Wed, 08/14/2013 - 10:06am
As many folks know, the cleanest energy of all is the BTU we never use. With this in mind, recycling products is a great energy saver. CERTs has participated for several years with the Recycle Your Holidays campaign to help homeowners recycle old, broken holiday light strands, and we also have a fantastic location finder available for recycling other lights, like CFLs and fluorescents.     Now there is a new player in Minnesota, ReUSE Minnesota, and they are looking beyond recycling to how products can be reused, rented, or repaired. We caught up with Stacey White, Sustainability Coordinator, University Services,...
Northland Arboretum combines education and energy generation
Jenna Lewein
Tue, 08/13/2013 - 4:12pm
The Northland Arboretum (the Arb) in Brainerd, Minnesota, has worked to educate and engage its visitors on important environmental issues for decades. This nonprofit organization provides nature trails that are available year-round for hiking, biking, snow-shoeing and skiing. The Arb also offers classes, workshops, and seminars that are held at the Arboretum’s Visitor Center. They can now add solar energy to their list of offerings, complete with engaging learning tools. The Arb allows visitors to enjoy and learn about native plant and animal species in a number of different habitats, and now renewable energy. Over the past two years the Arb has made exciting new additions to the visitor’s center, including a solar PV array. system with a touch screen interface that merges the data from solar panels and energy cost data together. The result is an interactive program that is designed...
Regional Indicators Initiative
Diana McKeown
Tue, 08/13/2013 - 9:58am
The Minnesota GreenStep Cities program includes 28 best practices that cities strive to achieve, some of which involve making energy efficient changes to both existing buildings and infrastructure and new developments. Although progress can be tracked within the program by how many best practices have been achieved, hard data of the improvements has been lacking—until now. Recently, Diana McKeown, Metro CERT Director, sat down with Rick Carter, the Senior Vice President of LHB, Inc., to find out how the data gap is being bridged through the Regional Indicators Initiative. Diana McKeown: How did the Regional Indicators Initiative get started? Rick Carter: The Regional Indicators Initiative was conceived as a way to track the progress of cities involved in the GreenStep Cities (GSC) Program. From a list of 20 cities who...

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