MN Energy Smart

Energy Efficiency FAQ

Are there incentives for implementing energy efficiency improvements?

Yes. Your business may be eligible for rebates, a reduced interest rate loan, or a grant for energy efficiency upgrades or retrofits. These typically are available from your utility provider but can sometimes be secured through other non-utility programs. In some cases, federal tax credits are also available for energy efficient upgrades. For more information, visit our Financial Incentives.

How can a lighting or energy assessment help my business?

An energy assessment can provide important information on your business’s pattern of energy use. Whether your assessment includes all of your building’s systems or just the lighting, an assessment provides the detailed information a vendor needs to give an accurate bid on the upgrade work. For more information on energy assessments, check out What is an assessment.

What is a Minnesota Conservation Improvement Program?

Conservation Improvement Programs (CIPs) are mandated by the state. Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 revised the CIP statute to set an annual energy savings goal for all electric and gas utilities beginning in 2010. The energy savings goal is equal to 1.5% of the utility’s annual retail energy sales in Minnesota, averaged over the most recent three-year period and weather-normalized. If Minnesota utilities are to meet this goal, we all must be a part of the solution. CIPs provide financial incentives in the form of rebates and, in some cases, grants and financing programs to help offset the cost of upgrades.¬†Learn about Minnesota Energy Conservation Improvement Programs and Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act of 2007.

I’ve done an assessment and want to upgrade. How do I find a contractor?

If you have had an on-site energy assessment, you will receive detailed information on recommended upgrades. Often you can contact your business’s electrician or HVAC service provider and ask for a bid. Be sure to emphasize that the work is for energy efficient upgrades so you receive any applicable rebates. For more help choosing a contractor, visit our Finding a Contractor¬†page.

Where can I find project design assistance?

Assistance may include consultation, classes and resources related to incentive programs. In some cases, project designs may be available to help architects, engineers and building owners find energy efficient solutions. Contact your utility first to find out what programs they may offer. Other organizations also offer technical assistance for various types of energy efficient retrofits and new construction projects. In addition, you are always welcome to contact Energy Smart for assistance.

What is the difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency?

Energy conservation involves a change in behavior to save energy (turning off the lights, powering down computers at night). Energy efficiency involves upgrades like installing appliances, equipment or lighting that uses less energy (such as using compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) instead of incandescent bulbs). Energy efficiency also could include modifying or changing operational processes.

What is a compact fluorescent light?

A compact fluorescent light (CFL) is a light bulb that produces light much more efficiently than traditional incandescent light bulbs. CFLs can use up to 75 percent less energy and last up to 13 times longer than an incandescent light bulb.

What is an ENERGY STAR qualified product?

Products that earn the ENERGY STAR label meet strict criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. To earn the label, products must use significantly less energy than standard products, while offering the features and quality consumers expect.

What is an energy management plan?

An energy management plan is a single document with energy efficiency resources and steps to become more energy efficient. According to Ford Motor Company, they have saved more than $75 million through their corporate energy management plan.

The U.S. EPA offers tools and resources for developing an energy management plan. Based on the successful practices of ENERGY STAR partners, these guidelines for energy management can assist your organization in improving its energy and financial performance. For more information, check out the ENERGY STAR Energy Management Overview.