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Turkeys on the energy-efficient Zimmerman farm in Northfield
Joel Haskard
Wed, 05/29/2013 - 12:37pm
On some level, everyone is connected to agriculture. That simple fact is at the heart of KSMQ’s local series, Farm Connections, now in its fifth season. Joel Haskard and Fritz Ebinger with the Clean Energy Resource Teams joined Farm Connections host Dan Hoffman and other guests to highlight energy efficiency innovations and opportunities on Minnesota farms. The episode begins on the Northfield, MN farm of John Zimmerman and his family. The Zimmermans primarily raise turkeys, and John is the president of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. John, Dan, and Joel discuss energy-saving steps that have been taken on the Zimmerman farm and how those changes are helping to reduce the impact of energy costs on their bottom line. After that, Shannon Jerabek with McLeod Cooperative Power...
The Billion Dollar Green Challenge helps schools go green
Kristi Loobeek
Tue, 05/28/2013 - 3:13pm
The Billion Dollar Green Challenge is helping university campuses across the nation to become more energy and resource-efficient. The program works with universities to set aside money for a Green Revolving Fund. Student leaders from the university will then submit project proposals to help improve the campus in a green way. The main idea of the program is that the projects will create savings for the university that will then be put back into the fund for more projects in the future. In a webinar hosted by The Billion Dollar Green Challenge and Focus the Nation, Emily Flynn, Manager of Special Projects at Sustainable Endowment Institute displayed the below image to demonstrate the concept: Flynn went on to explain the benefits of revolving funds in terms...
The City of St. Paul conducted efficiency upgrades on 41 city-owned facilities, including the St. Paul Central Library.
Eliza Leahy
Tue, 05/28/2013 - 1:54pm
Building recommissioning projects are intensive in nature, aiming to focus efficiency efforts on the entirety of a building with the goal of significantly reducing its energy load, energy costs, and its need for maintenance procedures, while increasing the comfort of the facility, its efficiency, and sometimes even its usability. Building recommissioning studies are often needed to ensure that energy systems are in good working order after a building has been in use for several years. Over time systems tend to work more inefficiently due to deferred maintenance. Recommissioning studies seek to restore the most efficient operating performance of the building, identifying low- and no-cost measures to remedy these deficiencies. Steps taken during a recommissioning study include the following: Measure systems’ performance and verify that they are in good working order. Identify...
AEOA’s Get SETT Program creates jobs, cultivates potential
MN Dept. of Commerce
Fri, 05/10/2013 - 11:47am
Short-term green energy training model shows great promise: A short-term green energy training program in northeastern Minnesota generated full-time, living wage jobs for seven grateful participants. But the program’s impact can be measured not only in job creation, but in the benefits to those who did not immediately secure employment. The Sustainable Employment through Training & Trade (SETT) Program, known as “Get SETT,” was a unique first-time effort to serve 30 unemployed or under employed individuals and help each of them secure lasting employment. The program, made possible by a grant to the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) in Virginia, Minn., offered a holistic approach to developing an individual’s potential. Each client worked closely with a case manager or job developer to access supportive pre-training services, green energy training, paid internships, job-...
Funding for clean energy projects
MN Dept. of Commerce
Wed, 05/08/2013 - 10:37am
The following is a sample of new energy-related funding opportunities being promoted by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources.   RFP for Conservation Applied Research and Development Grant Program – Seeks proposals from organizations or individuals interested in applied research and development projects that serve to accelerate the development and adoption of new energy efficient technologies and strategies in Minnesota. The information obtained from this effort is intended to inform electric and natural gas utility Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) development and state energy policy. Eligibility: Individuals, public or private entities actively involved in electricity and natural gas efficiency program implementation or research and development Topic: Conservation...
Community center is Chisago City’s ‘dream come true’
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...
St. John’s installs building automation system
MN Dept. of Commerce
Mon, 05/06/2013 - 11:16am
State ARRA-funded C&I grant helps fund building retrofit: St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood is constantly seeking ways to improve its infrastructure in the most cost-effective ways. And when the stimulus-funded Commercial and Industrial Grant Program from the Minnesota Department of Commerce came along, it made energy efficiency easy. St. John’s Hospital received a $300,000 grant for a $1 million building automation system upgrade and retro-commissioning project that covered all facility air handling units and heating and cooling systems. The grant, combined with other energy improvements financed by the St. Paul Port Authority and the Trillion Btu Program, will save St. John’s about $200,000 per year in energy costs. Simple payback for the $1 million project is about five years. “We’re always looking for ways to improve our infrastructure—to improve clinical quality, increase...
Deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides will help keep your house cool in the summer and allow sun to shine through the windows in the winter. | Graphic DOE
Kristi Loobeek
Thu, 04/25/2013 - 10:41am
Minnesota’s climate is anything but mild—from toasty hot summers to bitterly cold winters. To help save on your home’s energy and water use, follow these landscaping tips: If your house struggles to keep cool in the summer: Plant bushes or trees along the South wall. By blocking the suns rays for most of the day you will stop any excessive heating. However, keep in mind these same bushes will also block the sun in the wintery months. For a less extreme option, consider planting vines along the South wall. If your house struggles to stay warm in the winter: Creating a natural wind block may be the way to go. Planting bushes, shrubs, or trees on the North/Northwest perimeter of your house or lot will help reduce the same windchill effect that happens on exposed skin from happening to your house. Dense evergreen trees and bushes are an...
Clean Tech Open
MN Dept. of Commerce
Thu, 04/25/2013 - 10:20am
Do you know an emerging clean energy company that could use some help to achieve commercial success? The experience and training available through the collaborative efforts of the Minnesota Cup and Cleantech Open programs may give them the advantage they need to succeed. The Minnesota Cup and Midwest Cleantech Open have signed a cooperative agreement so that entrepreneurs participating in Minnesota Cup now have access to certain benefits of the Cleantech Open program. Entrepreneurs working with one can better benefit from both. The Minnesota Cup and Midwest Cleantech Open are now accepting applications from entrepreneurs seeking to transform their vision into a commercial success. Minnesota entrepreneurs seeking help to commercialize their idea have until May 17 to apply to Minnesota Cup. Minnesota Cup is free to enter and invites entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses...
Center for Energy and Environment breaks down Minnesota's efficiency plain and simple
Kristi Loobeek
Thu, 04/25/2013 - 10:11am
Solar, wind, and geothermal are great—but using less energy from the start is a fantastic way to save energy. Efficiency (from household appliances to commercial HVAC systems) involves making as little energy as possible do as much as possible. Want to know how Minnesota is doing with efficiency? Take a gander at a new infographic from the Center for Energy and Environment below. You can click here to view the original post from CEE.

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