Local Governments Blog Posts

Share:


Translate:
Castle Community
Chris Meyer
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 4:37pm
A unique collaboration brought energy modeling and efficiency measures into the renovation of the former National Guard Armory in Rochester—now dubbed the Castle Community. The measures are expected to reduce energy use by 20% when the building reopens as a multi-use space consisting of a restaurant, artist studios, gallery, and community gathering and events center. Building a Team General contractor Benike Construction wanted to promote efficiency in the Castle Community redevelopment. They approached the project owner, Scott Hoss, and then enlisted the help of Dru Larson from Rochester Public Utilities (RPU), and Kevin Bright, Energy and Sustainability Director at Destination Medical Center (DMC). Together...
David and Lissa facilitate conversation after the film screening and presentations
Lissa Pawlisch
Mon, 12/03/2018 - 4:43pm
On November 27, over 140 people from the Red River Valley attended a film screening of the new documentary, The Power of Minnesota, that took take place at the Historic Fargo Theatre. Event highlights included a social with appetizers, presentations from local speakers, a screening of the documentary, and a community conversation to explore the Red River Valley’s clean energy developments. Read on to see all of the details!   The Program   The Historic Fargo Theatre was bustling with more than 140 attendees chatting over appetizers before the program started. At 7pm David Ripplinger from North Dakota State University Extension welcomed everyone and, with help from Lissa Pawlisch at the Clean Energy Resource Teams, thanked partners (Prairie Public, City of Moorhead, NDSU Extension, UMN Extension, and CERTs). We...
Local government staff join tour of energy efficiency improvements at Mankato State University
Chris Meyer
Tue, 11/20/2018 - 2:43pm
On Thursday, November 1st, Southeast Clean Energy Resource Teams (SE CERT) hosted a “Capturing Savings from Public Building Energy Efficiency: Benchmarking through Financing – Getting your Project Done” session at the Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Centennial Student Union. CERTs has worked for years to reinforce that the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use. Turns out that the 50 attendees at the event know that’s true and were enthusiastic to hear from the range of speakers about varying strategies for reducing the impact of energy costs on their bottom line.   Strategy 1: Energy Benchmarking!   Cheri Schneider of the Weidt Group kicked off the session with an introduction to the key elements of the Buildings, Benchmarks and Beyond—B3—Benchmarking Tool. Cheri highlighted the different...
Bill Sanford at Lakeland PBS leading a tour. Photo by Sarah Gazelka
Joel Anastasio
Thu, 10/18/2018 - 4:43pm
Back to back clean energy events at Lakeland PBS on Thursday October 11th featured a tour of solar, geothermal, and energy efficiency projects, a screening of a new MN clean energy documentary, and local speakers.   Geeking out: Touring clean energy projects at Lakeland PBS in Bemidji   An afternoon event featured a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lakeland PBS facility, including their cost-saving solar, geothermal, and energy efficiency projects. Over 40 people from Bemidji and across the region attended the tour, with interests ranging from sustainability to economics, and from technology to community engagement. Bill Sanford, CEO and Director of Engineering at Lakeland PBS, led the tours and elaborated on their energy projects and how others could do the same. “We’re excited to be partnering with...
Chisago County Solar Celebration on October 4, 2018
Dan Thiede
Fri, 10/05/2018 - 4:26pm
On Thursday, October 4, Chisago County took center stage at the Chisago Lakes High School Performing Arts Center in Lindstrom to celebrate the county’s role as the Solar Energy Capital of Minnesota. Solar in Chisago County: The 100MW North Star Solar installation in Chisago County is Minnesota’s largest, and produces enough electricity to power about 20,000 homes. Chisago County is also home to several community solar gardens and installations on area homes and businesses. This event, and The Power of Minnesota film, focused on telling the many stories of the people behind this enormous accomplishment. Event highlights: Michael Noble, Executive Director of Fresh Energy, kicked off the event with a talk about the country’s dramatic shift to a clean energy economy, and the role that Chisago County is playing. He spoke about the drastic price reductions in solar, wind, and battery...
The Power of Minnesota evening in Canby
Lissa Pawlisch
Mon, 10/01/2018 - 4:56pm
On September 18th, over 100 people gathered at the Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Canby for the first official screening of The Power of Minnesota documentary. Pioneer Public Television also unveiled a segment of an upcoming Prairie Sportsman episode that features solar and pollinator habitat (and honey and beer and cider). The Power of Minnesota film is about people, their communities, and their stories about clean energy development around the state. Following the screenings, participants shared conversations with their neighbors about what they learned and what surprised them about the film. For example: people we shocked to learn that there are nearly 60,000 clean energy jobs in Minnesota! They shared their clean energy questions: for example, how do we get more youth engaged in the clean energy industry and careers?...
Testing at a wastewater treatment facility
Joel Haskard
Fri, 09/21/2018 - 2:06pm
Effective wastewater treatment systems are critical infrastructure to manage waste effluent within hundreds of communities in Minnesota. The Minnesota Rural Water Association (MRWA) is partnering with MPCA, MnTAP, City of St. Cloud and Met Council on a Wastewater Optimization Pilot Project (Pond and Mechanical). Optimization includes getting better results through existing infrastructure. The goal of the project is to provide assistance to comply with water quality standards without needing expensive new construction and increased nutrient removal and improved operational efficiencies. There is NO cost to participate in this project! Click here to learn more and apply >>   More case studies highlight energy efficiency at Minnesota wastewater treatment plants   Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) operate in...
The state of Minnesota recently installed solar panels on the roof of a legislative office building.
Frank Jossi
Fri, 09/14/2018 - 9:57am
This article is reposted from the original by Frank Jossi in Midwest Energy News. Cities, school districts, and government agencies are using a shared contract to streamline the process of procuring solar power. The state of Minnesota and nearly a dozen other government entities will use a collaborative buying approach to build 4 megawatts of on-site solar. Called Solar Possible, the initiative used a master contract and a joint request for proposals to select vendors and gather pricing data. The Minnesota Department of Administration’s Office of Enterprise Sustainability and two partner organizations developed the program. Participating school districts, government agencies and city...
Bus tour of Warren, MN clean energy projects
Joel Anastasio
Fri, 07/13/2018 - 1:20pm
Over 30 people met in Warren, Minnesota, (pop. 1,563) on the morning of Thursday, June 28, 2018, to learn how the city has advanced its local economy with energy efficiency and renewable energy, while saving the city on its bottom line. The event was hosted by Northwest Clean Energy Resource Team (NW CERT), the City of Warren, and Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC). A little background on Warren’s efforts: Not only is Warren a Minnesota GreenStep City, they were also chosen to participate in the Climate-Smart Municipalities Partnership, which connected the City of Arnsberg, Germany, with the City of Warren. This three-year program allows the sister cities to learn from another as a way to address the economic development opportunity of...
Solar ribbon cutting at the MN Capitol
Peter Lindstrom
Fri, 06/08/2018 - 11:03am
Electricity to the Minnesota Capitol complex is getting greener with the activation of the first phase of a large new solar array on the roof of the Minnesota Senate Building (MSB). The project, overseen by the Minnesota Department of Administration, was formally opened last month with a ribbon-cutting. Partners in the project include Mortenson Construction and Gephardt Electric, who installed the system, and Xcel Energy. “The State of Minnesota is leading by example, working to increase renewable energy at the State Capitol to better protect Minnesotans’ health and our environment,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “Thanks to statewide, bipartisan efforts, Minnesota has already met our goal to generate 25 percent of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2025.” The solar project consists of 414 twenty-one square foot panels that produce 133,000 peak watts of direct current power...
Xcel Energy Partners In Energy Program
Tami Gunderzik
Fri, 05/11/2018 - 11:36am
Although Minnesota communities share a common belief of how important a healthy environment is to both our economy and lifestyle, there are many ways of putting that value into action. Finding ways to engage local businesses and residents to make a contribution toward a clean energy plan is an approach that works. Eighteen communities in Minnesota have participated in Partners in Energy to develop a plan that helps them identify where they want to go with respect to energy and how to best achieve those goals, and now there is an opportunity for even more to share in their success. Xcel Energy is now accepting applications for the next cohort of communities to join Partners in Energy....
Business Blitzers (left to right): John Howard, City of Winona; Chris Meyer, SE CERT coordinator; Sadie Neuman, City of Winona; Alexis Troschinetz, CERTs; Joel Haskard, CERTs
Sadie Neuman
Tue, 05/08/2018 - 2:34pm
After a snowstorm delayed plans, five staff from the City of Winona and Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) set out in March for the first Business Blitz in downtown Winona. The blitz involved walking door-to-door in downtown Winona to speak with small and medium sized businesses about reducing energy use and saving money on their energy bills. They achieved their goal of reaching 100 small and medium businesses, and signed 29 businesses up for free energy assessments with EnergySmart, a program offered by the State Chamber of Commerce. The blitz is following the success of a series of blitzes in other communities over the past several years. Throughout the day, the Business Blitz team informed business owners...
Minnesota GreenStep Cities survey results
Alexis Troschinetz
Fri, 04/13/2018 - 11:15am
We had a great response rate to the second annual survey of cities and tribal nations in the Minnesota GreenStep program. The number of cities and tribal nations responding to the survey improved four points over the inaugural survey. Read on for some highlights of the results! 2017 Survey: 84 responded out of the 110 communities at the time = 76% response rate 2018: 96 responded out of 119 = 80% response rate It’s great to have so many communities will to share feedback about the program! We will continue to improve the program based on the survey’s responses.   Top Best Practice Actions for 2018   GreenStep Best Practice Advisors and others are busy following-up with the 72 GreenStep Cities or Tribal Nations that expressed interest in receiving assistance on 12 specific best practice actions. If all of...
Photos from the 2018 CERTs Conference
Lissa Pawlisch
Fri, 04/06/2018 - 12:54pm
Over 500 Minnesotans attended the seventh statewide CERTs Conference, connecting to build a clean energy future in their communities! March 28-29 were two truly energizing days in St. Cloud, MN for the 2018 CERTs Conference. Communities, organizations, and individuals showed up to figure out how they can get projects done, save money, and be part of Minnesota’s fastest growing jobs sector. See photos from the event:   Conference presentations available for download   The 2018 CERTs Conference featured 80 speakers who shared their experience and expertise. Their presentations are now available so you can see what you...
Seven communities won 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards
MN Dept. of Commerce
Tue, 04/03/2018 - 2:15pm
Seven Minnesota communities are recipients of the 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy. The awards were presented March 28, 2018 at the CERTs Community Driven Clean Energy Conference in St. Cloud. This year’s awards honor community-organized clean energy initiatives in the Town of Crystal Bay, City of Edina, Hennepin County, Minnesota State University Mankato, City of Red Wing, City of Warren, and Sustain Winona. These communities are contributing to the state’s clean energy goals with programs, policies and technologies that encourage energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy generation. “Minnesota has ambitious clean energy goals and the objective of our Clean Energy Community Awards is to acknowledge the great work of...
School solar installation in Minnesota | Photo by IPS Solar
Peter Lindstrom
Wed, 03/07/2018 - 3:17pm
Recent publications point out that clean energy and schools might be the best combination since the first peanut butter and jelly sandwich made it into a school lunchbox! But seriously, utility spending in our nation’s schools is no laughing matter. According to the blog Meeting of the Minds, schools spend over $8 billion annually on energy, more than textbooks and computers combined. Why save energy and go solar?   Schools in Minnesota can get a great understanding of their electrical consumption by first, participating in B3 Benchmarking, an online tool that tracks energy use and provides accurate comparisons to similar facilities. Second, schools can participate in the Department of Commerce’s...
Rochester Recreation Center received massive energy upgrades
Peter Lindstrom
Wed, 03/07/2018 - 2:55pm
Aging buildings often use a lot of unnecessary electricity, and two key facilities in Rochester—Rochester Recreation Center and Mayo Civic Center—had many opportunities for energy savings. This case study highlights improvements at both centers that have increased efficiency and will extend the life of these important community hubs. Two Centers in Need of Upgrades: The Rochester Recreation Center, constructed in 1974, contains two ice arenas, a gymnasium, a pool, offices and locker rooms and is home to several hockey programs, a figure skating club, and a swim club. The facility had an aging ice plant refrigeration system, needed mechanical improvements to address occupant comfort and dehumidification concerns, outdated lighting, and was using multiple systems to control the equipment. At 115,000 square feet, it was an energy hog. Across town, the Mayo Civic Center had recently...
Michelle Gransee with Minnesota Department of Commerce
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 9:46pm
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2018, which is Women’s History Month, culminating in a reception at the 2018 CERTs Conference in St. Cloud on March 28th. As part of the series we interviewed Michelle Joy Gransee, State Energy Office Manager – Clean Energy & Programs at Minnesota Department of Commerce, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Michelle...
Anne Hunt with Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s Office
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 4:25pm
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2018, which is Women’s History Month, culminating in a reception at the 2018 CERTs Conference in St. Cloud on March 28th. As part of the series we interviewed Anne Hunt, Former Environmental Policy Director for City of Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Anne Hunt: I was honored twelve years ago to be appointed by...
Gayle Prest with City of Minneapolis
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 4:20pm
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2018, which is Women’s History Month, culminating in a reception at the 2018 CERTs Conference in St. Cloud on March 28th. As part of the series we interviewed Gayle Prest, Former Sustainability Director for the City of Minneapolis, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Gayle Prest: Up until recently I was the...
Shannon Pinc with City of St. Louis Park
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 4:10pm
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2018, which is Women’s History Month, culminating in a reception at the 2018 CERTs Conference in St. Cloud on March 28th. As part of the series we interviewed Shannon Pinc, Environment and Sustainability Coordinator with the City of St. Louis Park, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Shannon Pinc: I am the Environment and Sustainability...
Anna Richey with Conservation Minnesota and Rochester Energy Commission
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 3:49pm
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2018, which is Women’s History Month, culminating in a reception at the 2018 CERTs Conference in St. Cloud on March 28th. As part of the series we interviewed Anna Richey, Southern Minnesota Regional Manager with Conservation Minnesota and Chair of the Rochester Energy Commission, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn...

Pages

Subscribe to Local Governments Blog Posts

Minnesotans building a clean energy future

         

    CERTs Partners:

Minnesota Department of Commerce University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission