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http://mn.gov/commerce/energy/images/Alexandria-School-D-700px.png
MN Dept. of Commerce
Wed, 10/02/2013 - 3:42pm
Comprehensive energy program at Discovery Middle School achieves big energy savings and healthier indoor air quality. Alexandria’s Discovery Middle School has trimmed its energy use by nearly 50 percent, thanks to a host of energy improvements. In 2009, Alexandria Public Schools began an exciting and comprehensive “Go Green Initiative” that involved student learning and community impact, sustainable best practices, and cost savings. Part of the Go Green Initiative was an objective to get greener through aggressive energy management throughout the school district. Aims and objectives: One goal of the energy management plan is to put each school in the district in position to achieve an ENERGY STAR rating for energy efficiency. So far four of the ten schools in the district have achieved ENERGY STAR ratings above 75. (To qualify for the ENERGY STAR rating, a building must earn a score...
Increase awareness of career, economic, and entrepreneurial opportunities
Aleta Kolan
Mon, 09/30/2013 - 8:00am
For students like Kimberly Colgan, participating in the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) program is a life-changing experience. “YES! has definitely impacted my college and career plans. I am now pursuing a degree in industrial process engineering (looking at processes to reduce waste) and I hope to work in a recycling facility to help improve cost and efficiency so that we can recycle as much as possible,” says Colgan, a YES! student and recent graduate from Apollo High School in St. Cloud, Minnesota. One of the goals of the YES! program is to increase awareness of career, economic, and entrepreneurial opportunities. YES!, a program partnership between Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) and Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center (PWELC), is a team-oriented youth program that uses hands-on, experiential learning and energy action projects to address energy opportunities and...
Stacey Pederson
Dan Thiede
Tue, 09/24/2013 - 5:03pm
Stacey Pederson is the new Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) Communications Assistant with the University of Minnesota’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnership and Extension. She decided to become more involved with CERTs after attending the 2013 CERTs Conference. Over the course of the past summer, Stacey has worked with Twin Cities Local Food, distributing fresh, locally-grown food to customers. Stacey is a student at Dakota County Technical College and will earn an Associate’s degree in Business Marketing in the spring of 2014. Currently Stacey is a member of the American Marketing Association, and is serving as president of the Dakota County Technical College chapter. In her free time, Stacey enjoys sewing reusable napkins and grocery bags for friends and family. Cool! Feel free to drop her a line: Stacey Pederson CERTs Communications Assistant University of...
Mankato West YES! team tackling Styrofoam lunch trays
Aleta Kolan
Mon, 09/23/2013 - 8:00am
Several YES! teams worked to change behavioral and social norms in their schools this past school year. That was the easy part. Next came the hard part, convincing their fellow students to adopt necessary behavior changes to implement changes, starting with lunch trays. One Youth Energy Summit (YES!) event featured a video that depicted passengers on an elevator. One person (who was in on the project) would turn around so that their back was facing the elevator door, and by the end of the elevator ride, without realizing that they were doing it, everyone else in the car had turned around as well. This was an example of how individuals’ behavior is shaped by what people around them consider to be appropriate, correct, or desirable. It was about social and behavioral norms. Two of the goals of the YES! program are to engage youth and empower them to take positive action in their...
Local Government Innovation Awards
Lissa Pawlisch
Fri, 09/20/2013 - 9:33am
Are you a school, city, or county that has been innovating to improve services or reduce the cost of local government? If so, share your innovation for a chance to win $10,000 and a professional video highlighting your effort! The Local Government Innovation Awards—sponsored in partnership between the Humphrey School’s Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center, the League of Minnesota Cities, the Association of Minnesota Counties, and the Minnesota School Board Association—recognize the creative ways counties, cities, and schools are making Minnesota better and doing things differently. All types of local government innovation are encouraged to enter. Through a partnership with the University’s Center for Integrative Leadership this year, the Awards are particularly interested in surfacing innovations involving cross-sector or cross-systems collaborations. In keeping with...
Students learn about passive solar greenhouses in Milan
Aleta Kolan
Thu, 09/19/2013 - 1:32pm
Youth Energy Summit (YES!) students are cultivating knowledge and eating it, too! Many YES! teams have found that they are passionate about local foods and school gardens. This past school year 4 YES! teams built greenhouses at their schools and 13 YES! teams worked on projects related to school gardens and composting. YES!, a program partnership between Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) and Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center (PWELC), is a team-oriented youth program that uses hands-on, experiential learning and energy action projects to address energy opportunities and issues in rural Minnesota communities. YES! students pick projects that relate to their interests and needs in their schools and communities. After several years of planning and dreaming, the Lac qui Parle Valley YES! team built a 20’ by 40’ passive...
Thermostat display in the Energy House at the Minnesota State Fair Eco Experience | Photo by MPCA
Diana McKeown
Wed, 09/11/2013 - 2:05pm
As I staffed the Energy House at the Minnesota State Fair’s Eco-Experience, I got a bit more familiar with the Nest Thermostat, which is a smart thermostat developed mostly by former Apple employees. Below you will find some useful information about how a device like this can save you gobs of energy without having to constantly set/change your settings, because it learns your habits as it gets to know you.   Basics about the Nest thermostat: What’s the advantage of the Nest over a basic programmable thermostat? The ideal candidates for owing a Nest are the 70% of households who currently have a programmable thermostat, and NEVER PROGRAM IT! When you say that to folks, nearly everyone says, “Yeah, ours isn’t programmed—too many buttons and screens…” Where can you buy them? Amazon.com, Best Buy, Apple Stores, Lowe’s, Home Depot,...
SolarPod
Joel Haskard
Wed, 09/11/2013 - 1:20pm
Menards, one of the largest home improvement chains in the world, will begin selling SolarPod solar photovoltaic (PV) systems this month. SolarPod is manufactured by Mouli Engineering. Inc., a company based in Eagan, Minnesota. “Menards has worked extensively in evaluating Mouli Engineering’s SolarPod products. SolarPod installations from Pennsylvania to California add significant confidence to us. Their approaches of simple design, affordable cost, and grow-as-you-go solar appeals to us and our customer base. Menards is always looking for innovative products such as the SolarPod to enhance our renewable energy market, improve the Menards brand and experience, and broaden our service to customers,” said Curt Carlson, Buyer at Menards in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The SolarPod products are expected to sell through the Menards website at http://www....
National Plug-In Electric Day at the Capitol
Joel Haskard
Wed, 09/11/2013 - 12:32pm
National Plug-In Vehicle Day is on Saturday, September 28th, and folks from the Twin Cities and beyond will be heading to the Capitol to see the cars and learn more. We caught up with Jukka Kukkonen, owner of PlugInConnect, LLC—an EV market and technologies consulting company in Minnesota—for the details and thoughts for those interested in owning a car. See the interview below, and click here to get event details. Joel Haskard: What will people see if they come to the Twin Cities National Plug-In Vehicle Day on Saturday, September 28th at the State Capitol? Jukka Kukkonen: Many people are now considering purchasing or leasing a plug-in vehicle (PEV), and this event is designed to give them a rare opportunity to see all the different models and colors and option combinations in one place. Attendees will also...
Making Energy Local from MPR's Ground Level project
Joel Haskard
Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:49am
Minnesota Public Radio’s Ground Level project kicked off a new series on Making Energy Local this week. From the opening article: “Whether they want to be forward thinking, save money on energy or cut their greenhouse emissions, some Minnesota communities are trying different ways to generate power.” Reporter Jennifer Vogel will be talking about what she’s found this afternoon on All Things Considered and reporters Dan Kraker and Stephanie Hemphill will be on the air Wednesday...

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