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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...
Eco Experience at the MN State Fair
Dan Thiede
Tue, 08/06/2013 - 11:05am
The Home Energy Exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair’s Eco Experience building will feature several displays dedicated to solar and wind energy. The Eco Experience Building will be open daily from 9am-9pm during the fair in the Progress Center on Randall Avenue, and volunteers are needed for each day! The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, responsible for the solar energy area, as well as Windustry, which runs the wind energy section, are looking for volunteers who are interested in chatting with attendees about clean energy and providing them with useful resources. See below for info on each opportunity!   Solar Volunteering   Solar enthusiasts needed! All solar enthusiasts — expert or novice — are invited to volunteer as Solar Area Educators with the Minnesota Renewable Energy...
Lindsay Wimmer joins CERTs
Lissa Pawlisch
Thu, 08/01/2013 - 4:04pm
Please welcome Lindsay Wimmer to the Clean Energy Resource Teams! Lindsay will be working with cities, counties, schools, and other local units of government to curb energy use in their buildings through the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP). Lindsay comes to CERTs after a year with the Minnesota Army National Guard where she provided education and outreach statewide to 60 Training and Community Centers about their buildings energy use and energy conservation strategies to integrate into building operations as part of Minnesota GreenCorps. She also worked with the MNARNG facility management office to develop a...
Exciting developments happening at Hydrogen and Ammonia Pilot Pland in Morris
Kristi Loobeek
Thu, 08/01/2013 - 3:46pm
The West Central Research and Outreach Center has recently turned what was just a dream in 2002 into a reality. The project began with a vision of capturing wind energy and using it in an innovative way; the end product was the completion of the Renewable Hydrogen and Ammonia Pilot Plant located in Morris, Minnesota. The plant’s function is to ultimately create NH3 (ammonia). How does it work? Nitrogen and hydrogen are created using wind, air, and water. Nitrogen is pulled out of the air by pressurizing air to vent out the oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals to leave behind the nitrogen molecules. A current of electricity produced by the wind turbine is put into water, splitting the hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is vented off to leave behind pure hydrogen. After a process of mixing the nitrogen and hydrogen and then heating...
Solar PV Project
Kristi Loobeek
Wed, 07/31/2013 - 4:20pm
Xcel Energy recently announced the 20 recipients of $30 million in renewable energy grants, seven of which are solar projects. The projects vary in size and location throughout the state of Minnesota as well as one in Wisconsin. The largest project will be a 1.18 megawatt solar installation at a Terminal One parking ramp at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Other projects include locations at the St. Paul Midway Target, Edison High School, and the Sisters of Notre Dame School in Mankato. Click here to see a full list of solar projects and view the original article from Minnesota Public Radio >>

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