MN Dept. of Commerce
Tue, 05/07/2013 - 1:58pm
Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) enables extensive energy upgrade: When Chisago City purchased 70 acres of beautiful lakefront property just south of town in 2006, the acquisition presented a great opportunity. Not only did it allow Chisago City to establish Ojiketa Regional Park, it offered the chance to provide a community center long desired by the town.
Strom Hall, the largest building on the property, was pegged as the future Strom Hall Community Center. It was a structurally sound, handsome 7,000-square-foot building built in the 1960s; it served for years as the main lodge of Campfire USA’s Camp Ojiketa before being sold. But Strom Hall had all the original windows, doors, furnaces, hot water heaters and appliances, so it needed refurbishing in order to comfortably and efficiently host events year-round. It was not sustainable unless extensive energy upgrades...
Mon, 05/06/2013 - 2:39pm
Restaurants use more energy per square foot than any other commercial business. However, saving energy is possible, as Trish Appleby has demonstrated in her restaurant Donatelli’s Homemade Italian in White Bear Lake, MN.
Appleby started thinking about energy improvements because of rising energy costs. “It was easy to see that energy costs keep going up, so we needed to get a handle on how to control our usage and be more efficient,” said Appleby.
Donatelli’s was the first business to enroll in a City of White Bear Lake energy efficiency program for food service businesses, the program that we highlighted in last week’s Local Government Energy Action publication. The program provides an audit with recommendations for energy-saving opportunities and ongoing technical support. This program was funded with federal money through an Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (a...
Mon, 05/06/2013 - 2:35pm
The City of White Bear Lake has a robust, independently owned restaurant community – one that attracts guests from around the metro area. This vibrant business population, coupled with the fact that restaurants use more energy per square foot than any other commercial businesses, made the City of White Bear Lake’s decision to offer an energy efficiency program for restaurants an easy one.
The city, in collaboration with the Food Service Energy Leadership Program (housed at Eureka Recycling), applied and received a competitively selected Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) through the Department of Energy and administered by the Minnesota Division of Energy Resources. This grant, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), allowed the city to provide technical assistance for energy efficiency among its restaurant community.
Mon, 04/29/2013 - 11:40am
Located in the Minnesota River valley just southwest of the Twin Cities, Chaska bills itself as “a quality small town.” As the city grows, it is committed to doing so responsibly to improve quality of life for its residents.
Following this commitment, the city took advantage of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant program as a way to make improvements in its public buildings without costing the city money.
Public Works Superintendent Tim Wiebe doesn’t have a lot of extra time for grant writing and management, given his duties of overseeing maintenance for the parks, streets, buildings and stormwater systems city-wide. “I’m a park and street guy, not a grant writer.” said Wiebe. “This is the first time I’d ever done a grant, and you have to do it regularly to be good at it.”
However, with the Chaska City Hall needing...
Tue, 04/09/2013 - 3:02pm
The Carlton City Hall is roughly 90 years old and was in need of attention to bring it up to par with 21st century energy standards. Claudia Van Guilder, the City Administrator of Carlton, felt that an upfront investment in energy efficiency technology would pay off in the long run.
In 2009, Van Guilder assembled a team of local leaders who worked to secure funding through an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG). Her team consisted of Pat Ohman, from the Carlton County Economic Development Authority (EDA), Kirk Johnson, a City Council member, and Guy Wait, the Public Works Supervisor.
An initial energy audit of the buildings revealed a number of efficiency shortcomings including outdated heating and cooling systems and inefficient lighting and controls. The team received $19,070 to improve two municipal buildings—the Carlton City Hall and the City Garage. The...
Tue, 04/09/2013 - 2:37pm
Hennepin County has done a lot to become more energy efficient, and they did it fast.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the county received $2.8 million in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. The EECBG grant allowed the county’s property services department to do an impressive number of building efficiency projects.
The county began with an exacting 18-month research process to evaluate energy use in county buildings and identify which buildings needed energy efficiency retrofits the most. County staff worked to design efficiency solutions that provided fiscal returns, lowered carbon emissions, created jobs, and reduced taxpayer burdens. After a thorough evaluation, Hennepin County focused its energy conservation efforts on 12 county facilities, including the Hennepin County Medical Center,...
Tue, 04/09/2013 - 2:00pm
Cottage Grove, a city located near the confluence of the Mississippi and Saint Croix Rivers, was ready to make some energy efficiency improvements when a new financing opportunity from the Department of Energy was introduced.
The city was already tracking the energy use of many of their city facilities when the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funding—part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—became available. The city had been using the Minnesota B3 benchmarking tool, but there were a lot of gaps in the data until the city received the EECBG Grant, which provided the impetus to update the data.
Based on the updated B3 information, the city identified two public buildings that were in need of some energy improvements: the Public Works garage and Fire Station 2. They also considered proposing some projects in City Hall, but as City Engineer...
Mon, 04/08/2013 - 11:30am
The city of Spicer, Minn. was being cost-conscious when city staff suggested to the City Council to move their administrative offices to unutilized space in the Dethlefs Center, a senior citizens building a few blocks away. City Administrator, Leslie Valiant, said that the south half of the Dethlefs Center was rarely used, and that by consolidating these two spaces the city would then be able to rent out the spaces formerly used as city offices.
Before the city could move its offices, some remodeling had to be done. Looking for other ways to save money, the city of Spicer applied for and received an Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) that was distributed by the State of Minnesota’s Department of Commerce. The total amount of the grant was $15,898 with the city of Spicer providing equal matching funds.
The EECBG grant helped provide funding for three different...
Tue, 03/26/2013 - 10:58am
The City of Paynesville sensed for some time that they needed to replace their Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system in their city hall. But when the HVAC unit shook loose from the roof and crossed electrical wires, which brought smoke into the building, the project took on greater urgency.
City staff had struggled to regulate the building’s temperature. The building’s over-designed, computer-controlled ventilation system wasn’t functioning properly—turning up the temperature in one zone would make temperatures unbearably cold in another. “People’s fingers and toes were turning blue,” said Paynesville City Administrator, Renee Eckerly. Staff brought in electric space heaters to place under their desks (increasing electric demand) and constantly adjusted the building’s numerous thermostats in fruitless attempts to try and balance the temperature. The staff...
Fri, 03/22/2013 - 12:29pm
With the end of winter approaching, it is the perfect time to start making plans for next winter by considering updating your business, home, office, or school building’s HVAC and/or boiler system. HVAC system upgrades accounted for 56 of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) projects in Minnesota. Over 50 boilers were replaced and 26 projects included the replacement of furnaces in local government or school buildings.
Complaints of uncomfortable working conditions in the buildings are what initiated most of these EECBG-funded HVAC upgrades. The complaints included poor air circulation and ineffective distribution of heat, which were due to the continued use of outdated HVAC equipment.
HVAC and boiler updates in EECBG-funded building retrofits included the following:
Replacing the energy management system and controls
Hot water reset controls...