City offering no-cost Home Energy Squad participation

The city of Minneapolis is offering homeowners and renters the chance to participate in the Home Energy Squad program for no cost, provided they sign up by Dec. 31.

The city is also offering program participants an interest-free loan of up to $10,000 for insulation improvements.

Residents must sign up on or before Dec. 31 to guarantee no-cost participation in the program. The city will pay for a homeowner’s or renter’s participation in 2019, provided he or she signs up by Dec. 31.

Home Energy Squad is an Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy program that helps homeowners and renters reduce their energy use, save money and make their homes more comfortable. The program is available to homeowners and renters in buildings that are one to four units, according to Ashley Robertson, assistant marketing manager for the nonprofit Center for Energy and Environment. The center administers the program on behalf of the utilities.

Program participants must have a CenterPoint Energy or Xcel Energy account.

The program includes a home visit by the Center for Energy and Environment’s energy consultants. The consultants will install energy-efficient materials such as door weather stripping, programmable thermostats and LED light bulbs. They will also conduct an insulation inspection, measure a home for air leaks and assess the safety of a home’s heating system and water heater.

The consultants will provide a quote for recommended work and connect homeowners to qualified contractors who will honor the quote, should a home need insulation or air sealing. They will also connect homeowners to qualified contractors, specialized financing and utility rebates if a home needs larger improvement projects.

Robertson said adding insulation tends to give homeowners the biggest bang for their buck, adding that it costs less compared to other projects, such as improving the efficiency of windows. She said a lack of insulation is usually the reason why older homes have drafts or areas that don’t maintain their temperature as well as others.

More than 90 percent of single-family homes in Minneapolis are at least 58 years old, according to a Center for Energy and Environment report. That means most were built before the adoption of a residential energy code requiring minimum levels of insulation and other efficiency features.

Call 651-328-6220 to schedule a Home Energy Squad visit or go online to mncee.org/home-energy-squad/Minneapolis.

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