Tue, 10/30/2012 - 12:33pm
What’s an efficiency project that most anyone can do? Lighting!
Be it in your home, your business, your school or your government office, lighting uses a lot of energy. According to the Energy Information Administration website, “EIA estimates that in 2010, about 499 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity were used for lighting by the residential and commercial sectors. This was equal to about 18% of the total electricity consumed by both of those sectors and about 13% of total U.S. electricity consumption.” So it’s not surprising that many of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) projects included some sort of lighting retrofit component to increase the efficiency of the bulbs being used.
Indeed, out of projects at 260 buildings throughout Minnesota, over half (136 buildings!) received lighting and controls upgrades. Older, incandescent lighting fixtures...
Sun, 10/28/2012 - 5:04pm
Throughout Minnesota, schools are making a conscious effort to promote energy efficiency—both in the classroom and in practice. For the second year, the Minnesota Department of Education is partnering with the U.S. Department of Education to recognize these schools with the Green Ribbon Schools program.
The program seeks to highlight K-12 schools across the nation who are working every day to set a great example by saving energy and reducing operating costs, creating environmentally friendly learning spaces, promoting student health and providing environmental education to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum.
To be considered for the program, a school will have achieved or made considerable progress toward the three pillars established in the program: 1) energy efficient buildings; 2) healthy students and school environment; and 3) environmental literacy of all...
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 12:04pm
Over the past three years, Minnesota’s local units of government—including municipalities, counties, and schools—have been hard at work completing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects funded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). These projects have included everything from installing energy-efficient street lighting and traffic signals to studying the feasibility of waste heat recovery from wastewater streams.
In total, Minnesota has implemented 165 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funded projects, contributing to the renovation and retrofitting of 260 buildings since 2009.
As we learned more about these projects—and the sheer number of them—we knew that these stories could serve as examples, and hopefully catalysts, to any community around Minnesota looking to curb its energy usage. With that...
Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:00am
Businesses and homeowners pay for water three times—once to buy it from a utility, once to heat it using natural gas or electricity, and once to dispose of it as wastewater. That’s why high-efficiency faucet aerators, now available through the CERTs Water-Saving Bulk Buy Program, can save business owners and homeowners a lot of money. But not every situation is a good fit, so it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Keep reading to learn the basics!
Flow Rate: If you already have a low-flow aerator, it may not be effective to replace it. Check this by reading the side of the aerator (the metal ring where the water comes out). If your flow rate is more than 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm), you should replace it.
Maintenance: Aerators occasionally need to be rinsed out since sand and particulate can build up, restricting the flow. Plan to replace...
Mon, 10/22/2012 - 4:49pm
The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) are very pleased to welcome Alexis Troschinetz to our staff as the new Behavior Change and Metrics Coordinator.
Alexis has over 7 years of experience working for a variety of stakeholders as an Environmental Engineer at consulting firms ARCADIS and Bonestroo (merging with Stantec). Alexis led efforts to initiate and maintain programs to improve internal operations to be more sustainable, and also provided sustainability services.
Connecting with nature and people invigorates Alexis. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her significant other and dog. In her opinion, backpacking in the northwoods or on a mountain range makes for a perfect vacation. She also enjoys volunteering locally for environmental causes and community building.
Here’s what Alexis has to say about starting with CERTs: “I’m positively thrilled about joining this team to...
Fri, 10/19/2012 - 4:12pm
Michael Arquin and the folks at KidWind are innovating again with the hopeful launch of KidWind and Friends: Clean Energy Science Kits and Comics. The KidWind and Friends campaign aims to launch a series of renewable energy science kits and a cast of exciting comic book characters. A brainchild of the KidWind Project, KidWind and Friends will extend the KidWind Project’s vision to engage minds for a responsible future into the retail market.
They need your help: They’re currently working to raise $75,000 to release these cool products, and to let KidWind and his friends teach the world about better, cleaner sources of energy! Watch the video below to learn more, and head to their...
Thu, 10/18/2012 - 3:42pm
First of all, a turkey joke:
Q: Why didn’t the turkey want any lunch?
A: He was already stuffed!
Now that we have that out of our system…
Minnesota is ranked number one in the country for turkey production. Nice work, Minnesota! The state is home to about 250 turkey farmers who operate about 600 different turkey farms. Minnesota is home to the world’s largest turkey hatchery company, Willmar Poultry, and the second largest turkey processing company in the US, Jennie-O Turkey. A majority of turkey production in Minnesota takes place in the central part of the state.
Lighting is a major energy use of the poultry industry. LED technology is an alternative to traditional incandescent lamps, but the cost of converting to an LED lighting system can be relatively high. As such, producers have been reluctant to make such a substantial investment to their production...
Thu, 10/18/2012 - 1:50pm
The USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to complete a wide variety of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, including solar PV and solar thermal projects. The program, administered by USDA Rural Development, offers grants and loan guarantees to any agricultural producer or rural small business. In this sense, rural is defined as any community consisting of less than 50,000 members.
Grants can range from a minimum request of $2500 up to a maximum request of 25% of project costs or $500,000, whichever is less.
Loan guarantees can cover up to 75% of total eligible project cost.
The Rural Minnesota Solar Initiative recently spoke with Kellye Rose...
Wed, 10/03/2012 - 4:39pm
CERTs 2013 will be an exploration and celebration of successful energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and a coming together of hundreds of amazing people who are working to create a clean energy future in their communities and beyond.
The conference will be held on February 20-21, 2013 at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, MN. It will be a place for you to connect with old friends and colleagues and develop new relationships that can help you advance your work.
5 Reasons you should attend:
Learn from others about projects you can do in your community
Make valuable connections with people from your region and across Minnesota
Get access to 60 exhibitors who can help your project move forward
Go home with resources and contacts to share with your local community
You’ll love it! 100% of attendees rated the 2011 conference above average...
Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:07pm
About 250,000 people visited the Eco Experience at this year’s Minnesota State Fair and virtually all of those fairgoers checked out the Energy Solutions Home (ESH), the centerpiece of the Eco Experience that was sponsored and coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources (DER). ESH, covering more than 6,000 square feet with 11 exhibits, was a showcase of energy efficiency and energy conservation for Minnesota homeowners.
“The State Fair is by far the biggest outreach event DER takes part in each year, and this year it got much bigger, thanks to our expanded role at this year’s Eco Experience,” said Bill Grant, deputy commissioner of DER. “Not only did our division sponsor, design and oversee construction of the Energy Solutions Home, but we were able to tailor important messages about cost-effective, energy-saving home improvements.”