Residents & Neighborhoods Project Planning Resources



Clean energy projects do not have to be isolated to farms, schools, and government centers. Successful energy efficiency and renewable energy projects have been implemented on individual residential scales or on the neighborhood scale. By knowing at what scale to keep your project, you can make some real energy gains at your own home and neighborhood without breaking the bank or getting burned out.

This page starts out by showing you the most recent content from across the CERTs website. Jump to detailed resources.

Residents & Neighborhoods Blog Posts

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...
Map of Minnesota locations on the National Solar Tour
Bailey Atkinson
Sat, 10/20/2018 - 2:58pm
Billed as “the largest grassroots solar, renewable energy, and sustainable living event in the nation,” the National Solar Tour is a collection of solar open houses and local solar tours around the country on October 6 & 7 in 2018....
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...

Residents & Neighborhoods Case Studies

Saint Paul Energy Coordinator Jim Giebel knows the importance of saving energy for a city government. He oversees the energy usage of over 160 city facilities in Saint Paul, with 3.2 million square feet of space whose collective energy costs total around $8.5 million annually.
Everyone would like to save money on utility bills, and most people want to conserve our natural resources, right? Well, in Southwest Minnesota, what initially started as an effort to raise awareness among tenants, management, and community members about the importance of the responsible use of natural resources such as energy and water turned out to...
From the winter of 2012 through the spring of 2013, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance conducted a study on the use of open loop air ventilation systems as well as solar-powered furnaces (SPF) in high tunnels. The study used three high tunnels—one each with the aforementioned heating sytems respectively, and one with no supplemental heating in order to...
Residents & Neighborhoods Project Planning

Looking for technology resources?

Explore technology resources
If you’re looking to learn more about a specific technology, like energy efficiency, solar, or wind, we have what you’re looking for. Our technology resources include everything from basic introductions and frequently asked questions to CERTs case studies to recent reports and organizations that can help you go deeper. Learn more.

CERTs Supported Projects

See CERTs-supported projects
CERTs awards Seed Grants to community groups for energy efficiency and clean energy projects. See projects or learn more about grants.

Detailed Resources for Residents & Neighborhoods

Energy Guides

Home Energy Use Information & ToolsUS DOE
Homeowners and renters know saving energy means saving money without sacrificing comfort. There are many things you can do to save energy in your current home, or when designing and building a new energy-efficient house.

Home Energy GuidesMN Department of Commerce Energy Info Center
The Energy Info Center offers 19 easy-to-use pamphlets with tips, suggestions, and instructions about a variety of energy related issues around your home.

Home Advisor Efficiency ToolENERGY STAR
Let ENERGY STAR guide you in making your home more energy efficient, reducing high energy bills, improving comfort, and protecting the environment. This tool is a great start.

A Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable EnergyUS DOE EERE
This guide will help you learn how to use the energy in your home more efficiently, and also how to use renewable energy to provide your home with electricity, heating, cooling, and water heating.

Green Home GuideUS Green Building Council & American Society of Interior Designers’ Foundation
This resource features best practice guidelines and targeted educational resources for sustainable residential improvement projects. This program will increase understanding of sustainable renovation project practices and benefits among homeowners, residents, design professionals, product suppliers and service providers to build both demand and industry capacity.


Energy Information CenterThe Office of Energy Security, MN Dept. of Commerce
The Energy Information Center specializes in consumer and contractor energy issues, and are an incredibly helpful reference for residents. They also provide information about renewable energy sources.
1-800-657-3710 (MN only)
651-297-7891 fax

The Center for Energy and Environment
CEE offers a variety of financing, rehabilitation, and audit services to thousands of Minnesota property owners in both the seven county metro area and statewide. They have a number of excellent resources for homeowners.

Minnesota Green Communities
Minnesota Green Communities is a collaboration of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, the Family Housing Fund, and Enterprise designed to foster the creation of affordable, healthier, and more energy efficient housing throughout Minnesota. The initiative supports the production of affordable housing with markedly reduced energy costs, use of materials beneficial to the environment, conservation-minded land use planning, and attention to the creation of healthy environments and lifestyles for individuals, children, families, and communities.

Minnesota GreenStar Homes & Remodeling
Minnesota GreenStar is a Green building standard and certification program for both existing and new homes that promotes healthy, durable, high performance homes. MN GreenStar was designed from the ground up to be the best system for Minnesota, giving builders and remodelers the tools to excel, and providing homeowners the knowledge with which to compare the performance of their homes. MN GreenStar embraces Minnesota’s climate extremes and natural resources and leverages its building codes and national leadership in such areas as clean water and combating climate change.


Residential Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Incentives in MinnesotaOffice 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.

Minnesota Solar Electric and Solar Hot Water Rebate ProgramsMN Office of Energy Security
Both programs are open to all residential property owners in Minnesota. Funds are now available for both programs and will be awarded on an on-going basis until funds are exhausted. Because hiring a renewable energy contractor is one of the requirements for both rebates, the Minnesota Office of Energy Security’s Web site also includes a list of questions to ask a renewable energy contractor and a list of solar energy contractors in Minnesota.

Research & Information Resources

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.

CERTs Technology Resources
The following technologies are quite applicable to most residential settings:

Residential Building Research ProjectsNational Renewable Energy Laboratory
NREL’s research objectives in the area of residential buildings are to develop integrated energy efficiency and onsite renewable energy power solutions that can be successfully used on a large production scale to reduce whole-house energy use in new homes by 50% in 2015 and by 90% in 2025.

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