Latino leadership delivering energy savings to manufactured home parks: Meet Growing Up Healthy

March 2024

If you follow our work at the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), you know we do a lot of projects with residents at manufactured home parks.

Growing Up Healthy are some of our heroes in this work and a group we try to emulate. Their organization partners with multiple manufactured home parks in southeast Minnesota, many of which are home to Latino communities. From there, they provide bilingual education and outreach in order to make residents’ homes as safe and efficient as possible! This includes making connections to repairs, energy conservation kits, tutorials for safely installing heat tape… Wow! 

We caught up with Growing Up Healthy Director, Jennyffer Barrientos and team member, Jansen Gonzalez to learn more about the impact of this important work.

Q&A with Growing Up Healthy Director, Jennyffer Barrientos

Jennyffer, as you are working with manufactured home parks, are you finding specific energy and/or home repair needs?

Jennyffer: Latina woman with dark hair faces a person with their face to the camera. Trees are in background. Yes, these homes have specific needs. We often see mobile homes in need of windows, furnaces, water heaters, and roof repairs/replacements. Oftentimes, we find that the foundation of the windows is deteriorating, which causes families to crank up the heat, resulting in high energy bills. This winter we have encountered a high volume of furnace replacement/repairs needed. 

We have been able to work with partner organizations (City of Northfield, City of Faribault, Three Rivers, Xcel, Slipstream, etc.) to use all available resources to help families out. 

Have you identified any workforce needs for manufactured housing?

Jennyffer: There are needs for more electricians and roofers who are willing to work on mobile homes. Especially older models. Unfortunately, we have found that many roofers don’t feel that doing roof work on a mobile home is a productive use of time.

A white manufactured home surrounded by green grass
A box of energy efficiency home items.
Three adults and one child standing outside a white manufactured home. One woman is pointing at the siding of the home while the other people look on.

What are Growing Up Healthy's plans with manufactured home parks in 2024?

Jennyffer: We will continue our heat tape outreach efforts. Making sure that families living in mobile home parks are aware of how to check their heat tape and how to install it when needed. That would include using the correct materials (insulation, extension cord, etc.). 
We have a work list that we review often. Our plan is to get as much of the insulating, roof and window work done in the warm months as we possibly can.

Learn more about Jennyffer’s work


Q&A with Jansen Gonzalez

Relatively new to the Growing Up Healthy team is Jansen Gonzalez. Please introduce yourself, Jansen!

Jansen: Hi, my name is Jansen Gonzalez, and I am the manufactured homes coordinator for Growing Up Healthy in Rice county. In my role, I coordinate manufactured home repairs between residents and contractors. I help fill out applications for assistance, and help residents find other solutions for repairs/funding. I also set up events for heat tape and look for volunteers to join. 

Jansen: To the young people who are interested in the clean energy sector: clean energy goes beyond just solar panels and windmills. It's also weatherizing homes, making sure the home is energy efficient, installing energy efficient furnaces, boilers and water heaters, belly insulation, and so much more. This work offers a great opportunity to help out communities and offers plenty of potential for career growth. 

Learn more about Jansen

Project Snapshot

Clean Energy Focus: Resident empowerment model for energy sustainability through trusted messengers in mobile home neighborhoods. 
Southeast CERT Seed Grant: $5,000
Other Funds Leveraged: Xcel Energy, University of Minnesota Extension and Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, City of Faribault
Energy Saved Each Year: 36,970 kWh and 3,030 therms
Money Saved Each Year: $2,970
People Involved and Reached: 612

Manufactured Home Park Energy Efficiency

Learn more about work happening across Minnesota.

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