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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…]

Energy Use—By the Numbers

Do you know the energy use stats for your business? Many organizations don’t conduct regularly scheduled energy check-ups, and may be missing opportunities to reduce energy use and save money. To reach your energy use goals, let Energy Smart help with the numbers and calculations that point to the best energy investments and solutions for your facility. Here are some great resources. Energy analyzer The free energy analyzer from ENERGYGuide offers an eye-opening first step in calculating your current energy use. Like many online tools, this self-guided tool for small- and medium-sized businesses will provide approximate numbers that point to next steps in energy savings. Lighting calculator This lighting calculator from Minnesota Power allows you to [more…]

Appliance Efficiency Standards Cost Less than DOE Estimates

When energy efficiency standards for appliances are set, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates the price impact of the standards on the cost to manufacture the appliance. The agency weighs the expected increase in cost against the potential gain for consumers in energy saving. The DOE only implements standards it finds to be cost-effective for consumers. It turns out that the DOE has been consistently overestimating the added cost, and that consumers and businesses are benefiting more than anticipated, according to a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). “Based on market data, the prices of many appliances have gone down even as [more…]

Sustainable Gizmos for the Office

We can’t get enough of red-dot design award winners—the annual competition for high-end product design. We recently shared innovations in energy efficient lighting [link to blog post “New and Cool in Lighting Design”]. Now here are more stylish options for saving energy and choosing sustainable products.     Plug Pot One complaint with standard power strips is that every device plugged into them goes off when you flip the switch. If one piece of equipment needs to stay on, they all stay on. The Plug Pot is a power strip with individual power buttons for each device, making it easier to save energy consumed by office equipment and lighting when not in use. With the [more…]

Are you a Waste Wise leader?

Nominations are now open for the 2013 Waste Wise Leader Awards which will be presented at the 2013 Waste Wise Annual Meeting in October. Award celebrates leaders in waste reduction and energy efficiency The Minnesota Waste Wise Leader award is given to a Minnesota Waste Wise member that has shown true leadership in environmental sustainability. Leader Award winners are chosen once a year by a panel of judges comprised of the Minnesota Waste Wise Board of Directors, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce staff, and Minnesota Waste Wise staff.  Winners serve as environmental role models for their own communities, the Minnesota business community, and the Minnesota Waste Wise program. The award recognizes achievements in: Source reduction Transport [more…]

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