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Fritz Ebinger
Wed, 09/04/2013 - 2:46pm
The National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) paired up recently to promote wind power by reducing permitting barriers, while also protecting resident interests. The report, County Strategies for Successfully Managing and Promoting Wind Power, was published in early 2012 in conjunction with DWEA’s Small Wind Model Zoning Ordinance. The report’s recommendations and the Small Wind Model Zoning Ordinance are now being implemented across the U.S. NACo conducted extensive research to learn and share the best practices from...
Joel Haskard
Mon, 08/26/2013 - 9:58am
Director and Instructor of the Center for Renewable Energy Education & Demonstration, Roger Aiken recently took some time to sit down with CERTs own Joel Haskard to talk about the Discovering Science on the Range in the Field of Energy (DSRFE) project, one of the statewide 2012-13 seed grant recipients. (The DSRFE group poses at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority in photo on right) Joel Haskard: Tell us a bit about your project. Roger Aiken: The overarching goal of our work with DSRFE is to provide science, mathematics and technical education teachers at the middle school and high school levels with STEM-rich energy content materials to enable them to become familiar with and direct their students towards careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industry. It is all about jobs. Preparing today’s...
Hoffman: heating up efficiency, cooling their energy bill
Kristi Loobeek
Thu, 08/22/2013 - 4:42pm
The City of Hoffman, located in the West Central region of Minnesota, may be small in size, but they are looking at the big picture when it comes to energy efficiency. Following their mission statement “to take actions which stimulate the Hoffman Community to adapt and grow into the twenty-first century with economic prosperity and cultural vitality,” the city signed on to the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program in 2011. The program encourages energy conservation and efficiency through upgrades to new and existing buildings in the community, positive behavior change on energy-related issues, and outreach to the community as a whole to spread knowledge of best practices. When cities join the GreenStep Cities program they are classified as a Step 1 City and can advance steps by implementing a number of best practices. It was through striving for Step 2 classification that the City of...
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...


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