Energy Efficiency & Conservation FAQ – CERTs
Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) FAQ – CERTs
Energy Efficiency Info from US DOE EERE
Their Web site contains a wealth of information about energy efficiency, specifically with regards to Building Types, and has excellent best practices for Industrial efficiency.
15 Questions You Can Ask to Improve Building Efficiency – By Rin Porter, Central CERT
Energy Info Center – Office of Energy Security, Minnesota Department of Commerce
This site provides information on home energy use, lighting, Energy Star, heating & cooling, and incentives, with many helpful tips. In addition, they have Energy Specialists waiting to answer questions you may have at 651-296-5175 or 800-657-3710.
Energy Resource Guide – Minnesota Sustainable Communities Network
Kept up my Michael Noble, Executive Director of Fresh Energy, this list of resources is truly extensive.
The Smart Grid: An Introduction – DOE Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability – Spring 2009
This publication is the first book of its kind to explore—in layman’s terms—the nature, challenges, opportunities and necessity of Smart Grid implementation. Give one to key staff, your colleague, your lawyer, your accountant or your spouse…and watch the lights go on.
Programs & Tools
Commercial Lighting Solutions – US DOE
The Commercial Lighting Solutions provide actionable “how to” guidance on ways to improve your building interior lighting efficiency and reduce your energy consumption, without compromising quality design criteria. Strategies include the use of high performance commercially available products, daylighting, and lighting controls, all within the context of integrated designs supported by performance specifications.
CFL Recycling Centers in Minnesota – CERTs
According to ENERGY STAR, Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) use significantly less energy than traditional light bulbs (75% less). But because of the mercury in CFLs, it is important to dispose of them correctly. There are places all over Minnesota that accept CFLs for recycling, and we have a handy map you can use to find the one nearest you.
Minnesota Energy Challenge
Take the Challenge and agree to take simple steps to reduce CO2 emissions! The Challenge is sponsored by the Center for Energy and Environment, a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible and efficient use of natural and economic resources.
Community Energy Opportunity Finder – Rocky Mountain Institute
This tool compiles information on energy use in any community, and then demonstrates the potential energy savings, cost savings, reductions in GHG emissions and job creation from energy efficiency programs, and provides an overview of the green power sources that are available. The Finder is designed to be used by economic development advocates, business owners who want to reduce operating costs, communities that want to ensure their economic development is compatible with sustainable development principles, and renewable energy advocates.
Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) – University of Minnesota
This Web site has all sorts of energy efficiency information for industrial energy users. Check out all their links in the left hand margin.
ENERGY STAR – US EPA & US DOE
A program promoting energy efficient products. To use the free benchmarking tool, simply click on the button that reads “Benchmark your building’s energy performance”.
Energy Savers – US DOE, US DHUD, US EPA
Energy Savers is a consumer guide to energy efficiency and renewable energy that provides a number of information resources, interactive tools, and links that encompass topics ranging from home energy efficiency evaluations to renewable energy technology fact sheets.
Home Advisor – Energy Star
Simply by entering your ZIP code and some basic information about the types of fuel used to heat and cool your home, this tool can provide you with recommended home improvement projects to increase energy efficiency and comfort in the area where you live.
Information about how homes work and how to troubleshoot moisture and energy issues. Sign up for monthly e-mail maintenance checklist.
EnergySavingTips.gov – US DOE
This Web site has detailed information and tips on how to save money by developing smart energy habits, and serves as a consumer-friendly portal to detailed energy saving information from various federal agencies.
Minnesota Healthy Sustainable Schools – State of Minnesota
Minnesota Healthy Sustainable Schools is the state’s first interagency, cross-sector collaboration helping schools on a variety of issues, such as health, performance, and sustainability.
Qualified Energy Efficiency Professionals – Auditors and Contractors
- Building Performance Institute (BPI) – BPI develops standards for energy efficiency retrofit work using an open, transparent, consensus-based process built on sound building science. From these standards, BPI certifies professionals and accredits contracting companies to help raise the bar in home performance contracting. Find a BPI Certified Professional or a BPI Accredited Company near you.
- Minnesota Building Performance Association (MBPA) – MBPA maintains listings of energy experts with certifications such as BPI, Dunwoody Auditor, MN Green Star, and RESNET for services such as Home Performance Testing, HERS Rating, New Construction, Mutli-Family, Commercial, Remodeling, and Insulating. MBPA also provides lists of contractors of the following types: Architects, Building Products, Home Builders, Home Performance Consultant Organization, HVAC/Mechanical Contractors, Insulation Contractors, Remodelers, and Testing Equipment.
- Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) – RESNET provides listings of Certified Home Energy Auditors/Raters and Qualified Contractors for topics such as Air Sealing, Builders, Ducts & Vents, Heating & Cooling, Home Automation, Insulation, Remodeling, Roofing & Siding, Windows and Doors.
Commercial Buildings: Benchmarking, Design and Commissioning
- Portfolio Manager – ENERGY STAR: Portfolio Manager is an interactive energy management tool developed by the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR program. The tool will track and assess building energy and water consumption and can help you set investment priorities, identify under-performing buildings, verify efficiency improvements, and receive EPA recognition for superior energy performance.
- B3 Minnesota Public Buildings Benchmarking Tool Specific benchmarking tool for Minnesota public buildings. To enroll, you must click on the “contact us” link, and enter some brief information. The project contractor will then contact you for more information about your buildings and provide a password.
- Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines The Minnesota Legislature requires all new buildings using state bond funds to follow the sustainable building design guidelines. The sustainable building guidelines are designed to reduce energy expenditures, enhance the health, well-being and productivity of the building occupants, and improve the quality of the natural environment.
- Building Commissioning and Operation & Maintenance – Portland Energy Conservation, Inc: Web site containing resources about building commissioning and operation and maintenance. The “O&M Best Practices” series of publications helps owners and managers increase energy-efficiency, improve occupant comfort, and reduce operating expenses through low-cost operating improvements. PECI also conducts the annual National Conference on Building Commissioning, with proceedings available on the site.
Utility Conservation Programs
Most utilities have websites on their conservation programs; some are listed below. Please contact your local utilities to find out about their offerings.
The Clean Energy-Environment Municipal Network – Environmental Protection Agency
The network supports local governments’ efforts to use clean energy strategies to advance community priorities. Offers the ability to connect and provides local Best Management Practices.
Energy Estimator for Animal Housing – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
This NRCS energy awareness tool is designed to inform you of the energy cost centers and help you estimate the energy costs for three animal housing operations on your farm or ranch. NRCS technical specialists have developed energy cost models for housing dairy cows, swine, and poultry.
Farm Energy Calculators – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
These tools help farmers assess current energy use and assist in planning to save electricity and fuel on their farms.
On-Farm Energy Efficiency & Production – Kentucky County Agricultural Investment Program (CAIP)
This tool was designed to help area farmers increase their energy efficiency in current production practices, while ultimately increasing net farm income through realized cost savings. It offers assistance to producers for the adoption of a proactive and systematic approach to incorporating energy efficiency into the farm operation, production of biomass crops, or production of alternative energy for on-farm use. Several of the outlined project areas are applicable to Minnesota farms.
This is a rating mechanism that assesses the environmental impact of different types of electric generation. The Power Scorecard grades the environmental quality of electricity products in two ways: Overall Environmental Impact Rating, and New Renewable Content Rating, which looks at the various renewable energy resources used to produce electricity. The web tool is sponsored by the Environmental Defense, The Izaak Walton League, Natural Resources Defense Council, The NW Energy Coalition, Pace University Energy Project, and The Union of Concerned Scientists.
Research & Publications
Home Energy Guides – Energy Info Center – Office of Energy Security, Minnesota Department of Commerce
The Energy Info Center provides 19 easy to use pamphlets with tips, suggestions and instructions about a variety of energy related issues around your home, many relating to conservation and efficiency. Guides are from 8-12 pages long.
Residential Energy Use Behavior Change Pilot – Franklin Energy, April 2009
This project was funded through an applied conservation research and development grant from the Minnesota Office of Energy Security (OES). The objective of this research study is to gather, analyze, and present the information necessary for OES and state utilities to move forward with a solid plan for piloting residential energy use behavior change programs as part of their Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) efforts. The end goal of this effort is to help Minnesota utilities better understand how to accelerate energy savings from changes in residential energy-use behavior. This goal includes recognizing the implementation challenges of these programs as well as their cost effectiveness on a dollar per kWh saved basis. By evaluating published studies on energy-use behavior change interventions and in conversations with industry participants, the research team was able to identify evidence as to the variety and effectiveness of behavior change programs and pilots. Also see the accompanying presentation >>
Video: It’s Worth It: Money Saving Methods For Home Energy Use
By Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties, this 20-minute video outlines energy- and money-saving methods for you to employ in your home.
Video: Helping with…HEAT: The Energy Assistance Program
By Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties, this 15-minute video introduces through six personal stories the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program that helps homeowners in Minnesota keep their homes warm in the winter.
The Smart Grid in 2010: Market Segments, Applications and Industry Players – GTM Research, July 2009
This report is the first in an on-going research series which provides comprehensive answers and critical insight about today’s emerging Smart Grid market.
The Size of the U.S. Energy Efficiency Market: Generating a More Complete Picture – ACEEE (May 2008)
The ACEEE report concludes that “…our nation is not aware of the role that energy efficiency has played in satisfying our growing energy-service demands…the contributions of efficiency often go unrecognized. The contributions of energy efficiency often remain invisible…” The report also notes that although efficiency is a proven resource, it remains underdeveloped. “In short, the evidence suggests that efficiency can make an even larger contribution towards stabilizing energy prices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions—should we choose to fully develop it.”
Improving Energy Efficiency in County Buildings – National Association of Counties (June 2008)
This simple two-page primer lays out the basics of working on energy efficiency in county buildings, with a snapshot of Minnesota’s Blue Earth County and the hard work they have done to incorporate energy efficient building practices into both their new and existing facilities.
On-Farm Energy Efficiency Success Stories – Harvesting Clean Energy
A variety of success stories about what some innovative NW farmers and ranchers have done to improve their energy efficiency.
Energy Efficiency Newsletter – National Association of Counties, October 2006
Workshops & Presentations
Energy Efficiency Workshops for School and Local Government Building Operators – CERTs
These workshops, held across the state in Fall 2006 and Spring 2007, attracted building operators, superintendents, school business managers, and local CERT members, who shared experiences related to building energy efficiency issues including suggestions on equipment, rebate programs, and tactics for working with teachers, students, and administration.
The Center for Energy and the Environment (CEE)
CEE is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit with a broad expertise in energy efficiency offering a wide range of clients services in financing, building audits, technical research, program design and delivery, and evaluations.
St. Paul Neighborhood Energy Connection (NEC)
NEC is a collaboration of St. Paul Community Councils dedicated to improving energy efficiency through energy audits, community education, and transportation programs.
Minnesota Green Communities
Minnesota Green Communities is an initiative designed to foster the creation of affordable, healthier, and more energy-efficient homes throughout Minnesota.
Rural Minnesota Energy Board
RMEB is a Joint Powers of 16 counties in southern Minnesota; formed to provide policy guidance on issues surrounding energy development in rural Minnesota.
Policies & Incentives
Residential Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Incentives in Minnesota – Office of Energy Security
This one-page document is a handy overview of all incentives offered by the state of Minnesota for residential energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. It includes links to more information.
New Energy for Cities: Energy-Savings & Job Creation Policies for Local Governments – Apollo Alliance
Outlines the Alliance’s Four-Part Plan for how cities can embrace a clean energy future: (1) Invest in Renewable Power, (2) Create High-Performance Buildings, (3) Drive Toward Energy Independence, and (4) Build High-Performance Cities.
Energy Conservation Improvement Program – Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor
This report assesses the cost effectiveness of the Conservation Improvement Program and recommends improvements in program operation. January 31, 2005.
IRS Approves 610 Clean Renewable Energy Bond Applications – ILSR New Rules Project
In November of 2006, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that 610 projects were given the authority to issue Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) to help finance renewable energy development across the country. State and local governments and municipal and cooperative utilities were eligible to apply. The majority of projects supported were for solar facilities. Read the article to learn more.