MN Energy Smart
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Understanding Conservation Value

Your organization’s energy efficiency and sustainability efforts can be more profitable when you actively measure results, study the data, and take action to do even more in the future. As we start a new year, we encourage you to learn about your company’s use of resources last year. How? Here are two good ways to measure conservation value.   By the numbers Utility bills will tell you a lot about your organization’s progress. We recommend an annual review of electricity, gas, water, and waste hauling expenses so you can measure the cost-benefit of conservation investments already made and look for potential new savings opportunities. Adding up last year’s savings can also provide guidance on the [more…]

Minnesota Chamber Business Conference Features Waste Wise and Energy Smart

This year the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation Annual Meeting and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Business Conference are coming together to offer members expanded opportunities to network, learn, and grow. The conference, to be held October 8, 7:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Hilton Minneapolis, will also celebrate the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation’s 20th anniversary with special acknowledgement of the many companies and organizations that have driven sustainability innovation and practice in Minnesota. Be inspired! Start Here, Grow Here is the theme of the 2014 Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Business Conference. It will feature entrepreneurs who are “finding cash in trash,” with presentations by Molly Solberg, director of sales and marketing at outdoor gear [more…]

Living: Edgy Design for Artful Sustainability: Part II

Our last post explored new designs that infuse high design into energy efficient lighting. Now we look at innovative designs for sustainable living. The product designs below are 2014 winners of the Red Dot Design Awards which celebrate clever and elegant appliances, tools, fixtures and gizmos that have now reached proof-of-concept stage. Most are not yet available, but you can watch for their future release into the retail market. Let’s explore some 2014 standout designs for energy efficient living. Folding Scissor Shutter from Griesser, Austria Folding scissor shutters offer interesting new alternatives for architectural design and energy conservation. They allow for different opening angles to control light and shade in rooms, and protection against the [more…]

Lighting: Edgy Design for Artful Sustainability

Fast forward your energy efficiency and sustainability with high design! The annual Red Dot Design Awards celebrate clever and elegant appliances, tools, fixtures and other gizmos that have now reached proof-of-concept stage. We’ll be looking at energy efficient and winning designs for lighting and living. Most are not yet available, but you can watch for their future release into the retail market. First, a preview of innovative lighting designs recognized by Red Dot in 2014. Paper Silicon LED Table Lamp, from Retang Electronics, China LED efficiency, meet contemporary art form. The linear and graphic appearance of the Paper Silicon LED table lamp modernize LED design. Retang Electronics states the lamp is made from “environmentally-friendly silica [more…]

Energy Star Announces Building Efficiency Competition

More 5,500 buildings competed in the EPA’s Fifth-Annual Energy Star Battle of the Buildings. Commercial buildings around the U.S. raced to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next year. Teams at buildings in Minnesota (map) joined the competition, including Sears stores in St. Paul and Maplewood, a large office building at 10400 Viking Drive in Eden Prairie, the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, and the NOAA National Weather Service facility in Chanhassen. Energy Star says, “Competing teams measured and tracked their buildings’ monthly energy consumption using EPA’s online energy measurement and tracking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Building teams worked to optimize or upgrade equipment, retrofit lighting, and change occupants’ behaviors—all with [more…]

The 3 Biggest Turnoffs

During the last days of summer it’s good to remember to “turn off” and save! With nature providing more light and cooling breezes, you can reduce your company’s energy costs to a more appealing size this summer. 1. Turn off the air conditioning. What eats into summer profits? Running the air conditioning, that’s what. The cost of cooling a space is ten times the cost of heating it. Your business can open the window to lower cooling costs by turning off the air and using natural cooling whenever possible. There are business benefits to natural cooling, too. Many small retailers find that an open door policy encourages walk-ins and browsing. Companies such as office furniture [more…]

Industry Partnerships Positioned to Boost Energy Savings

Q. How can Minnesota advance innovation and profitability for more businesses across the state? A. By working within industries to develop energy efficiency solutions custom made for specific types of businesses. This year Energy Smart is highlighting industry-specific partnerships as a new style of community-based energy conservation. For this initiative, the “community” is businesses facing similar energy waste challenges, and serving similar customers in similar settings. Just as industry trade groups add value to participating companies working in a particular business sector, Energy Smart has promoted community-based energy conservation by working with businesses in a particular geographic area. Now the two models come together as industry-focused partnerships for reducing energy use. Which industries have good [more…]

In St. Paul, EPA Chief Praises State’s Energy Initiatives

On a recent visit to the Twin Cities, the nation’s top environmental officer said that Minnesota’s leadership in energy efficiency will jump-start efforts in other states to launch successful energy conservation programs. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy was in the state to see energy conservation technologies in action, and to meet with executives of Minnesota utility companies, including Xcel Energy and Great River Energy. As part of McCarthy’s visit, she toured the Science Museum of Minnesota where a highly efficient heating and cooling system is significantly reducing the museum’s energy use. According to the Star Tribune, McCarthy visited the museum’s boiler room to see its “heat-recovery system that recycles waste energy and is [more…]

Game Changing Computer Coolant to Cut Energy Costs

Data centers are electricity hogs, accounting for 2 percent of all electricity consumed in the US. Last week, 3M unveiled new technology for cooling large computers in data centers that has the potential to reduce supercomputers’ energy use by an astonishing 95 percent. Yes, you read that right. 3M collaborated with tech giants Intel and SGI to develop a “two-phase immersion coolant technology” that uses a liquid bath instead air conditioners, fans, and municipal water to control the high heat generated in data hubs. As more and more data traffic is created and stored, bigger and bigger data storage centers are needed to make our electronic information available, accessible, and portable. This homegrown technology might [more…]

3 Ways to Chill Out Cooling Costs

Pretend it’s a really hot day in July. Now imagine you are inside and comfortable, and relaxed about the cost of cooling your facility. This scenario can come true if you invest in energy conservation measures this spring. Energy Smart can help with a customized energy saving plan for your company, and you can get started on some actions right now. Annual maintenance makes a difference Schedule an appointment now to have your HVAC system inspected and cleaned. It’s so much easier than dealing with a costly equipment failure and so much cheaper when your system is running at its peak efficiency. Cash back with utility company saver switches Electrical utility companies will install on [more…]

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