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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…]

Spring is Rebate Fever Season

New energy efficiency rebates and financing programs are announced throughout the year, and it pays to keep an eye on the Energy Smart website for the latest incentives. Check the Energy Smart Utility Rebate Finder whenever you’re considering a new building project, upgrades to heavy manufacturing equipment, or strategies for reducing energy use every day. Get moving—Xcel Energy’s newest incentives expire in June Improve energy management systems and efficiency controls at your business and Xcel Energy will reward you with a 30% bonus rebate. More efficient building controls give facilities managers the capability to monitor, measure and manage industrial equipment and building systems for maximum energy savings. Facilities that take advantage of the 30% bonus [more…]

Join the ENERGY STAR® LED Bulb Challenge

Be one of the many businesses across the country that will be seeing green by Earth Day, April 22. That’s the target date for America to have replaced 20 million old bulbs with energy champion LED bulbs through the ENERGY STAR LED Bulb Challenge. Game on! Team USA will win with every high-efficiency bulb we install. Companies that upgrade their lighting will win when they realize immediate savings on their electricity bills because ENERGY STAR-certified LED bulbs use up to 75% less energy to generate the same amount of light. Businesses that have already upgraded to LED say they also win by reducing hassle. “One of the biggest benefits is not having to spend so [more…]

Ready for that January energy bill?

While many Minnesotans are tough enough to brave the deep chill, it takes Gopher State grit to open the steep bills that follow a cold snap during a dark month. It need not be so. If your business sets clear energy efficiency goals for 2014, you could be looking at lower bills next January. Cut energy use 10-25% Companies can and do significantly reduce their energy bills in just one year through strategic energy management. In fact, Energy Smart has helped many organizations set and achieve conservation goals and our staff members are ready to assist you. If you’re just getting started, an achievable goal is to reduce energy use by 25 percent. If you’ve [more…]

3 Ways to Recharge as an EE Leader

Are you an enthusiastic and effective leader who can make the difference between a lively energy efficiency program and a fizzling one? If your leadership needs a little boost, see if these tips will help. 1. Know your own leadership style. Are you strong on process, or better at organizing people to complete tasks? Are people drawn to you for inspiration and motivation? Are you driven by integrity and ethics, ensuring promises are kept and goals are met? Or are you all about the strategy? No one leader uses all leadership styles, so seek out other internal leaders and teams with complementary styles that will collaborate with you. Leaders are more effective when they build [more…]

Minnesota Ranks 11th in 2013 Energy Efficiency Report

Minnesota ranks 11 among U.S. states for energy efficiency, placing ahead of all its neighbors. The news is mixed, however: While our state is making strides in some areas, we are stagnant in others, according to the annual report from Americans for an Energy Efficient Economy. The 2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard praises Minnesota for utility policies and programs that promote electrical and natural gas efficiency. Our state has seen a slight increase in electrical savings since 2011, and state policy sets efficiency targets as part of its energy efficient resource standards. Another bright spot in the report highlights state government-led initiatives, including programs such as Minnesota Energy Smart, and affordable financing to encourage investments [more…]

How Can I Optimize Energy Management?

Smart energy use does not end with installing more efficient HVAC equipment, changing to energy-saving lighting, or switching to motion-sensing switches. There is an art and science to energy management that comes from knowing the data, looking at the big picture, and tracking performance to ensure measurable improvement. The beginning of a new year is a great time to put energy management to work for you. Energy Smart has helped many businesses, especially manufacturers, to achieve results through energy management knowledge, tools and resources. Here are great online resources you can access anytime. Energy savings manual The U.S. Department of Energy offers its ENERGY STAR Building Upgrade Manual that includes tools for cash-flow analysis, benchmarking, retrocommissioning, [more…]

China Poised to Lead Eco-innovation in 2014

China has been pushing large-scale innovation to address the country’s over-sized environmental challenges, especially in areas such as energy, transportation, green construction, and mobile technology. Starting in 2014, we can expect China to begin stepping forward as a global leader in eco-innovation, according to the December 2013 Trend Briefing released this month by Trendwatching.com. Here’s a look at several Chinese eco-developments. New “smart” window saves and stores solar energy Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have succeeded in developing a window that intelligently regulates the amount of solar heat energy that passes through to the interior. At the same time, these “smart” windows use solar cells to collect surplus energy for other uses. While [more…]

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