In addition to exploring community-wide solar potential, the Southeast CERT seed grant helped the City of Northfield support energy efficiency investments through outreach to multi-family building owners and managers. The outreach raised awareness about an Xcel Energy program that provides no-cost energy assessments and project recommendations to these properties.
“We worked through the City’s current Partners in Energy program with Xcel Energy to use their toolkit on outreach to these properties,” Kallestad said. Flyers were distributed and city staff followed up with phone calls, explaining the program. Eleven properties in the community, all that provided affordable housing, were prioritized in the initial round of outreach.
“If [the building owners] chose to have analysis done, technicians would… evaluate the building and provide recommendations on energy-saving projects, rebates and support to carry out the projects,” Kallestad said.
Photo caption: Veronica Gamino helps distribute LED bulbs to Northfield residents in partnership with the Community Action Center of Northfield.
While the project team intended to have more direct contact with building managers and residents during this portion of the project, they had to adjust their plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sometimes things don’t work out as intended, so you adapt and respond as best you can,” Kallestad said.