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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…]

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…]

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