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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,...
Eco Village in River Falls sets green example
Kristi Loobeek
Tue, 08/13/2013 - 9:44am
The City of River Falls has broken ground on a net-zero home community called Eco Village. The collective goal is to show that sustainable housing can and should be “beautiful and affordable for all.” Main partners in the project include Habitat for Humanity, the City of River Falls, University of Wisconsin, Frisbie Architects, St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development. Eighteen homes in total will all be LEED Platinum carbon negative. Goals of the Eco Village include: Establish a level playing field for affordability and access to sustainable housing for lower income people/families Demonstrate leadership for responsible, innovative community development, “traditional neighborhood design” and green building practices Exhibit how...
The City of Hutchinson's downtown
Jeff Vetsch
Mon, 08/12/2013 - 4:57pm
In 2007, the City of Hutchinson began taking a closer look at how much energy was being used to perform city operations. John Paulson, Hutchinson’s Environmental Specialist, began entering the city’s energy data into the State of Minnesota’s B3 Benchmarking system and discovered that when it came to energy efficiency, Hutchinson had “lots of opportunity to improve.” But like many communities, Hutchinson needed to find a way to pay the upfront costs of energy saving measures. B3 benchmarking allowed the city to develop some baseline information about where they were using energy, and to see which facilities were using more energy than average for buildings of that size and use. Paulson and other city staff began assessing the facilities that seemed to have the most potential for energy savings. “We’d been deferring maintenance,” said Paulson, “so we started considering working with...
Growth of wind energy in the US
Kristi Loobeek
Mon, 08/12/2013 - 11:16am
Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that in 2012, wind energy was the fastest-growing power-generation sector for the first time in our nation’s history. The sector accounted for 43 percent of all new U.S. electric generation capacity and $25 billion in new investment. Check out the infographic below for more statistics from the report: You can also watch how wind energy has grown across the U.S. with the Department of Energy’s new interactive map. See where and when wind farms were assembled over the past four decades (snapshot shown above right). Minnesota is no stranger to advancing wind energy projects. Xcel Energy has proposed a $1.1 million grant to help install 50 10-kilowatt turbines...
The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society helps to guide Minnesota schools
Jenna Lewein
Thu, 08/08/2013 - 10:14am
The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES) is a member-run non-profit organization that promotes the use of renewable energy in Minnesota through education and practical demonstrations, with a particular emphasis on solar technologies. One of the ways MRES has tried to keep people informed about renewable energy is through various publications. One of the most successful MRES publications is a Renewable Energy Guide for Schools. Laura Cina Burrington, the Managing Director of Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, coordinated the production of the Guide under a contract with the Division of Energy Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Originally published in 2011 by MRES, Laura wanted to find a way to print off hard copies of the document that could be distributed to schools around Minnesota. “I wanted something to hand out to...
Are you in the dark on bulbs, watts, and brightness?
Kristi Loobeek
Tue, 08/06/2013 - 2:18pm
Halogen, CFLs, LEDs, Watts, Lumens—what’s the difference? What’s best? We’ve got you covered! Lighting a typical Minnesota home accounts for about 10 percent of the energy needed to power one’s home. One of the best ways to reduce your electricity bill is to replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR labeled compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or light emitting diode bulbs (LEDs).   How can I save money on my lighting bill? Halogen bulbs are one lighting option. They last about three times longer and use 10 percent less energy than a standard incandescent bulb with the same light output. But they rank well below CFLs and LEDs in efficiency and longevity.     CFLs use about one-...
Dairy cows unharmed by LED lighting
Fritz Ebinger
Tue, 08/06/2013 - 11:46am
Back in April 2012, Oklahoma State University concluded an LED lighting project with a dairy farm. Much like The Minnesota Project’s LED poultry project, the OSU researchers sought to test the LED lights’ energy savings potential and the durability of the bulbs. In addition, they tracked cow health and milk productivity out of concern the LEDs might harm the dairy cows. The researchers were pleasantly surprised to find the dairy cows increased milk production by 6% with no negative side effects. In other words, the dairy farmer was getting more product with lowered production costs—quite the ideal. You can read more on the 2012 study in Holstein World or in...

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