Green digest // Reuse and save

Reuse and save

A free coupon book containing discounts at area businesses in Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse Today program was set for a late-September release, the county reported.

Businesses enrolled in the program offer rentals and sell used products, helping to reduce the amount of waste produced by county residents by offering an alternative to buying new products, the county reported. Hennepin County estimates its residents throw away 32 million pounds of usable clothing and household goods each year.

The special discounts offered by more than 70 area businesses in the annual Choose to Reuse Today coupon book are good in October and November. The county also maintains an online Choose to Reuse Directory (, a searchable database with information on businesses and organizations that offer rentals, repair or sell used items or accept donations.

Southwest retailers appearing in the 2010 coupon books include: Everyday People Clothing Exchange, 2912 Hennepin Ave. S.; Electric Fetus, 2000 4th Ave. S.; Magers and Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S.; and Flanders Bros. Cycles, 2707 Lyndale Ave. S.


Rebate offered on programmable thermostats

Homeowners who purchase a Honeywell programmable thermostat by Nov. 30 may be eligible for a mail-in rebate.

Honeywell and Clean Energy Resource Teams, known as CERTs, co-sponsored the rebate program. The mail-in rebate was worth $10 for thermostats valued at $50 or more or $5 for thermostats valued at less than $50.

Programmable thermostats cut home energy use by limiting heating or cooling to the hours when the home is occupied. The thermostat automatically adjusts temperature settings on a schedule set by the homeowner.

CERTs, a network of Minnesota groups promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, estimated the average upper Midwest homeowner could save up to $200 a year on energy bills by upgrading to a programmable thermostat from a traditional thermostat. Honeywell programmable thermostats were designed to be installed in 15 minutes or less, CERTs reported.

Mail-in rebate forms must be postmarked Dec. 31 at the latest. To download and print a rebate form, visit


Make schools a no idling zone

The city picked the start of a new school year to issue a request to parents to shut off their vehicles while waiting to pick up children from school.

Noting the impact of motor vehicle emissions on local air quality and vulnerability youngsters’ still-growing lungs to air pollution, the statement issued Sept. 3 urged parents to limit unnecessary idling. Exhaust emissions are a primary source of air pollution, and idling an engine even 10 seconds will use up more fuel than restarting a vehicle in many cases, the statement added.

Air quality is one of the city’s “sustainability indicators” tracked in its 2010 Living Well Annual Report, available for download at That report noted Minneapolis air quality “is among the best of large metropolitan areas in the U.S.”

City ordinance limits idling to 3 minutes in most cases.


Southwest groups win climate change grants

Three Southwest-based organizations were among the winners of eight city climate change grants awarded in September.

It was the fourth year Minneapolis awarded grants to support energy conservation and renewable energy at the local level. A total of $75,000 was dispersed this year, with individual grants ranging from $7,500 to $10,000, the city reported.

City of Lakes Waldorf School received a grant to promote energy efficiency and transportation alternatives to school families and residents in the surrounding Whittier neighborhood. They planned to share information in the classroom and also through school newsletters, the school’s website and social media, the city reported.

Kingfield Neighborhood Association’s grant may help some neighborhood businesses install solar energy systems. Grant funds were earmarked for outreach to businesses, commercial energy audits and solar energy assessments.

The grant going to Linden Hills Power and Light, a citizen-led organization promoting environmental projects in Linden Hills, will fund a marketing campaign aimed at increasing neighborhood residents’ use of public transit.