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Green Jobs
Isaac Mielke
Thu, 07/30/2015 - 12:06pm
Looking for a great green job in the clean energy sector? Below are four positions here in Minnesota that might be the perfect fit for you. Good luck with your applications!   Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS) Executive Director This powerful position heads M-RETS. The Executive Director advises on policy, develops annual budgets, and serves as primary ambassador. M-RETS requires a passion for the renewable energy, five years of experience in the field, and extensive higher education. Learn more & apply >>   Neighborhood Energy Connection Communications Associate The Communications Associate writes newsletters, manages social media, and edits the website. Qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree and one year of related...
Isaac Mielke
Tue, 07/21/2015 - 12:20pm
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) has recently partnered with the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) to offer online courses in its BuildingEnergy Masters Series. This partnership expands the MREA’s scope of training from renewable energy technologies to now include sustainable building practices as well. NESEA’s BuildingEnergy Masters Series runs on a platform powered by HeatSpring to give students access to the masters of building science, on their own time, from any location. Fall 2015 Courses Passive House in the Real World is a four-week online course that focuses on tips, tricks, pitfalls, and what to expect when making Passive House a reality. Led by instructor Mike Duclos, the course runs from September 14 to October 9, 2015. Deep Energy Retrofits is a 10-week online course taught by Marc Rosenbaum. Learn to “fix what we have” by examining...
ENERGY STAR
Dan Thiede
Fri, 07/17/2015 - 10:35am
ENERGY STAR certification is a nationally recognized symbol of building efficiency. It tells current and potential occupants that owners care about running the building well, being financially prudent, and being environmentally responsible. There are currently two separate grant opportunities for ENERGY STAR building certification in Minnesota. The first is for commercial buildings within the City of Minneapolis who want to pursue certification. The second is for the Minnesota ENERGY STAR Challenge, which will work with commercial building owners across the state and also select a community partner to help promote certification in their area. See below for more details on each opportunity or click here if you’re wondering why certification matters.  ...
MN Dept. of Commerce
Thu, 07/16/2015 - 4:22pm
The Minnesota Department of Commerce has just announced two new financing programs that are available for local governments and public entities in the state interested in pursuing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. New Rev It Up Program to help local government units finance community energy efficiency, renewable energy projects   Through its new Rev It Up Program, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is soliciting request for proposals from local government units that are seeking low-cost, long-term capital to finance community energy efficiency and renewable energy system projects. The program allows units of local government to compete for funding designed to increase community energy efficiency systems in the built environments and to increase renewable energy production throughout the state that result in reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas...
Fritz Ebinger
Wed, 07/15/2015 - 10:01am
If your farm has ever had demand charges on your utility bill, you know that they can have a dramatic impact on cost. Fortunately, there are easy ways to avoid demand charges. This blog post walks you through a basic understanding of demand charges and then offers key tips to keep your bills lower.   What are demand charges?   Every utility in Minnesota classifies their customers into different electricity rate structures to pay for the electric grid and power generation. Typically, customers are classified into farm/residential, commercial, and industrial categories. Large commercial and industrial customers—including many farm facilities with equipment like grain dryers and irrigation pumps that rely on large volumes of electricity—are often placed on “demand accounts” and pay “demand charges” in their monthly bills. Customers on demand accounts see monthly energy...
Staying cool and saving energy this summer
Isaac Mielke
Tue, 07/14/2015 - 2:26pm
CERTs has compiled a handy list featuring ten ways that you can save money and energy this summer while staying cool. Use it like a checklist to mark off the things you’re already doing and find some new ways to help your energy bill chill out! [1] Turn off fans in empty rooms. It ends up fans cool people, not rooms! Learn more >> [2] Close window blinds and drapes when gone to block sunlight, but open windows at night to help cool and enjoy the extra daylight when home. Learn more >> [3] Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use or put them on power strips (and use them). Learn more...
Lighting display at the Eco Experience building
MN Dept. of Commerce
Mon, 07/13/2015 - 5:55pm
Continuing the 8-year run as a primary exhibitor in the Eco Experience building at the Minnesota State Fair, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources will again be overseeing nearly 4,000 square feet of exhibit space on energy use in Minnesota homes in partnership with other state agencies, utility companies, non-profits and businesses. Ranging from assessing the performance of existing homes to encouraging smart energy purchases (such as lighting, appliances, and mechanical equipment) to choosing advanced efficiency and renewable options when building new, this exhibit will help Minnesota residents make their homes more comfortable, durable, and efficient. Below are selected highlights from the exhibit… Home Assessments The first step in any home improvement project is to understand how things are currently...
Minnesota GreenStep Cities at the 2015 Awards Breakfast
Philipp Muessig
Mon, 07/06/2015 - 4:39pm
The League of Minnesota Cities recognized 26 member cities and one tribal community at an awards ceremony for completing one of three participation steps in the GreenStep Cities initiative. Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a free and voluntary program designed to help Minnesota cities achieve their environmental sustainability goals through implementation of 28 best practices. There are now a total of 83 cities in Minnesota that have completed one or more participation steps since the program began in 2010. Each of the GreenStep Cities program’s 28 best practice can be implemented by completing one or more specific actions from a list of four to eight actions in the areas of transportation, buildings and lighting, environmental management, land use, and economic and community development. The actions are tailored to all types of Minnesota cities, and they focus on cost savings, energy...
Summer Institute for Climate Change Education
Peter Lindstrom
Mon, 07/06/2015 - 2:00pm
The tables were turned for 70 educators who attended the Summer Institute for Climate Change Education this past June at Apple Valley’s School of Environmental Studies. For three days, these educators became students on all things sustainability-related. The event is organized by Climate Generation, formerly known as the Will Steger Foundation. Steger himself provided the opening address, inspiring the teachers with tails from his explorations and how those environments are seeing drastic changes. Peter Lindstrom, Local Government Outreach Coordinator for CERTs, addressed a breakout session on the third and final day. “Educators spent two days learning about the critical issues surrounding sustainability,” said Lindstrom. “I viewed my role as providing them...
Electric Vehicle Charging Available Here Sign
Joel Haskard
Mon, 06/15/2015 - 3:37pm
For public entities in Minnesota, a new statewide contract for electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE or charging stations) is now in place. Vendor product and contact information is available on the Minnesota Department of Administration website. The purpose of this statewide contract is to relieve the burden of each entity having to perform a request for bid and award contract process. EVSE can still be purchased outside this contract through your own competitive bid and procurement processes. We spoke with Fran Crotty, Electric Vehicle State Program Administrator at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, to learn a bit more. Joel Haskard: So if I am a city or county official interested in purchasing and installing an electric vehicle charging station for my community, how would this work? Fran Crotty: Cities and counties can log into...
Alexis Troschinetz
Sun, 06/14/2015 - 3:23pm
Nonprofits anywhere in Minnesota can take advantage of 0% loans from Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) before the end of June. If you have a plan for an improvement primarily intended to reduce energy consumption just sitting on the shelf waiting for money to come along, then don’t miss out on this opportunity! Here are some other requirements to keep in mind: Maximum Loan: $25,000 Maximum Term: 5-7 years Existing building occupied in whole or in part by nonprofit Simple payback of 2-10 years and payback must be less than useful life The loan rate will increase to 3.9% after June. Make your project happen today—call Jim and tell him CERTs sent ya! Jim Hasnik Senior Loan Officer, NMLS #1000308 jhasnik@mncee.org 612-335-5885 or 1-855-296-5626 (LOAN)...
Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota
Fritz Ebinger
Mon, 06/08/2015 - 1:56pm
Farmers and rural small businesses are essential to the fabric of Minnesota—its economy, environment and communities. Helping them reduce costs with energy efficiency and take control of their energy expenses with renewable energy is the focus of a new program, Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota, launching this week with support from USDA Rural Development. There’s demand: “We’re seeing increased demand for information about renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements, and are excited to offer free project assistance to Minnesotans,” shared Fritz Ebinger, Rural Energy Development Program Manager with the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) and University of Minnesota Extension. Project support: For more than ten years, CERTs has been connecting Minnesotans with the resources they need to plan and implement energy efficiency and...
Revolt from Great River Energy
Joel Haskard
Thu, 06/04/2015 - 3:59pm
From now until December 31st, 2016, anyone who owns or leases a plug-in electric vehicle in Great River Energy’s service territory will be upgraded for free to 100% renewable wind energy. You can learn more about Revolt by visiting the program website and by reading a recent article from Midwest Energy News. You can also watch the video below featuring the program’s friendly ambassador, Eevie.   Get more on EVs Learn more about EVs, see upcoming events, and find more stories >>  
Fritz Ebinger
Mon, 06/01/2015 - 1:50pm
Southwest Minnesota Surgical Center (SMSC) Surgery Center in Marshall is the area’s only free standing same day surgery facility. In addition to state-of-the-art equipment and surgical techniques, the building features 30kW of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The building was designed to maximize the south-facing roof area and incorporate solar panels. The system produces about 36,000kWh of electricity on average per year. Learn more and see more photos from the solar installer >> Find out how you can power your farm or business with the Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota program
PACE in southern MN
Annette Fiedler
Thu, 05/28/2015 - 9:47am
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a new way to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to the buildings of commercial property owners in cities and counties that allow it. Energy-saving measures pursued by the owners receive project financing and are repaid as a separate item on their property tax assessment for a set period. PACE eliminates the burden of upfront costs by providing low-cost, long-term financing. We spoke with Richard Otten, a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), to learn more about the energy audits of businesses he provides, some of which are done for the Rural Minnesota Energy Board (RMEB) commercial PACE program. CERTs: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business. Richard Otten: My name is Richard Otten. I have been a CEM (Certified Energy Manager) since 2011. The Association of Energy Engineers provides this certification. I...
Map of community solar programs in Minnesota
Dan Thiede
Thu, 05/21/2015 - 4:04pm
Interest in community solar gardens has been exploding in recent months, and the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) has been busy keeping up with the demand for information and technical assistance. Minnesota has nearly two hundred utilities that can be categorized as investor-owned, cooperative, or municipal. To help people visualize where in Minnesota community solar garden programs are available, CERTs published a map that is publicly available at http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/solargardens#current. The map allows people to see which where each utility’s territory extends and which utilities are currently offering community solar programs. Electric Utility Service Areas layer is public and provided by MnGEO. You...
Minnesota GreenCorps Program
Dan Thiede
Tue, 05/19/2015 - 10:55am
Minnesota GreenCorps is recruiting the next generation of environmental leaders… do you know someone who has what it takes? Minnesota GreenCorps helps communities across Minnesota prepare for a strong and resilient future by using environmental best practices that achieve results. GreenCorps members are matched with host organizations like cities, school districts, or nonprofits to work on a specific focus area. From September 2015- August 2016, members contribute 1700 hours of service and receive professional development, mentoring, a living stipend of $12,530 and an education award of $5,730. What’s life after GreenCorps like? 8 in 10 alumni report that Minnesota GreenCorps helped them get their desired jobs, and 9 in 10 alumni are employed or in school. Minnesota GreenCorps is an environmentally focused AmeriCorps program coordinated by the Minnesota Pollution Control...
L to R: Laurel Johnston, Cavan Wagg, Patrick Huelman, Peter Schneider, and Collin Coltman
Sam Lounsbury
Wed, 05/13/2015 - 12:43pm
The University of Minnesota won the grand prize at the Second Annual Department of Energy Race to Zero Student Competition. The winning group, team OptiMN, was made up of fourteen students from four different colleges that beat out 27 other colleges from the United States and Canada for the top prize. Four presenters, Collin Coltman, Laurel Johnston, Peter Schneider, and Cavan Wagg went to Golden, Colorado to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to present their Impact Home. The Impact Home, which has 3 bedrooms & 1.5 bathrooms, provides the homeowner with excellent thermal insulation and deliberate vapor control. The house would be outfitted with the best of energy efficient appliances and technology, including solar panels on the roof. Nothing is wasted with the...

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