MN Energy Smart
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Energy Smart’s #1 Energy Tip

What’s the easiest, most transformative action a Minnesota company can take to reduce energy use? It’s contacting Energy Smart to schedule an onsite energy consultation. Consultations are free. When you invite us to your facility, our experts will identify potential strategies for reducing energy use. The staff member will record information (such as the number and type of lights or motors) so he or she can develop customized, in-depth recommendations for saving you money by cutting energy costs. Shortly afterward, you’ll receive a summary of your top energy-saving opportunities, suggested next steps, a list of the financial incentives that may be available to help pay for an upgrade, and other useful guidance. Customers tell us [more…]

Multifamily Buildings Cut Energy Costs, Gain Competitive Advantage

The least-efficient multifamily dwellings may be spending upwards of $165,000 in energy costs over the highest-efficiency buildings, according to a recent report issued by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). “The multifamily sector remains an untapped opportunity for energy efficiency,” writes Lauren Ross, Senior Analyst at ACEEE. Two years ago, ACEEE launched its Multifamily Energy Savings Project, and estimated potential energy reductions in multifamily buildings at $3.4 billion in unrealized savings. The ACEEE project continues to track and report on opportunities and challenges in this sector. Also, Fannie Mae has now released the results of its Multifamily Energy and Water Research Study, the first nationally representative snapshot of multifamily energy and water use. [more…]

Finding the Right Financing for Your Energy Plan

What’s the biggest barrier to making an energy upgrade? For many businesses, it’s funding the project. Fortunately, Minnesota companies have options and financial incentives designed to make energy improvement projects more affordable. Your Project May Qualify for a MN Chamber Grant Minnesota businesses have access to a wide range of financing choices to help pay for energy efficiency investments. A new option making upgrades affordable for numerous Minnesota companies is the Business Environmental Sustainability Finance Program (BESFP) launched by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce in July 2014. Grants are available for pre-qualified energy efficiency and waste management projects. The BESFP grant finances one third of the total project cost up to $4,000 for each pre-qualified [more…]

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…]

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