Green digest // 2,000th home energy visits

Minneapolis marks 2,000 home energy visits

A city partnership with the Center for Energy and Environment to offer low-cost home energy audits reached its 2,000th Minneapolis household in October.

Ward 11 homeowners Mike and Breanne Rothstein got a visit from Mayor R.T. Rybak, their City Council Member, John Quincy and officials from the Center for Energy and Environment to celebrate the landmark Oct. 14, the city reported.

The Center’s Community Energy Services program offers homeowners an estimated $400 worth of energy-saving goods and services for a co-pay of $30. A homeowner who first attends a Community Energy Services workshop may sign up for visit by home energy professionals who conduct a blower door test and identify ways to save energy in the home.

The program began in 2009 in Minneapolis and is supported in part by a federal economic stimulus grant through the Department of Energy. The program will expand, with the goal of reaching 6,000 Minneapolis households, the city reported in October.

In addition to the home energy audit, participating households can get free energy-saving materials such as low-flow showerheads, compact fluorescent light bulbs and pipe insulation. Homeowners receive an energy use inventory for the previous year and advice over the next 12 months on low-cost steps to further decrease home energy use.

The Center also assists homeowners interested in investing in larger home-energy projects in finding applicable financing, incentives and rebate programs.

The first step, though, is to attend a free Community Energy Services workshop.

To find an upcoming workshop, visit mnenergychallenge.org and click on “Community Energy Services” at the top of the page. From there, follow the link to “Sign Up for CES.”

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CenterPoint offers low-flow for free

CenterPoint Energy is offering its customers free low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to help reduce home energy use.

CenterPoint home natural gas customers each are eligible for up to three free showerheads and three free aerators if they apply before the end of the year. Installing just one low-flow showerhead could reduce the average household’s hot water use by up to 3,000 gallons a year and cut energy costs by about $24, the utility reported.

Use of the water-saving devices also eases demand on city sewer and water resources, the utility added.

The low-flow showerheads were available in either a chrome or ivory finish. Faucet aerators for both kitchen and bath applications also were available.

CenterPoint customers who wish to place an order should call 866-418-0658 or apply online at centerpointenergy.com. The quickest Internet path to the online order form may be through the Clean Energy Resource Teams website (cleanenergyresourceteams.org), where a link to the offer was posted under “Blog & Press” on its main page in October.

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Minnesota still near the top for energy efficiency

Minnesota once again was near the top of an annual ranking of state energy-efficiency efforts released in October by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Ranked eighth among all states, Minnesota was the only Midwestern state to earn a place in the top 10 on the 2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard prepared by ACEEE — although, to be fair to our neighbors Wisconsin and Iowa, they were not far behind at 11 and 12, respectively.

A nonprofit organization that promotes the economic, security and environmental benefits of energy efficiency, ACEEE once again ranked California at the top of its annual list. This was the fourth State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, and California has ranked number one each time.

The scorecard ranks states in six areas of energy efficiency policy: utility and public benefits programs; transportation; building energy codes; combined heat and power; state government initiatives; and appliance efficiency standards.

ACEEE offers free online access to its database of energy efficiency efforts in all 50 states ant the District of Columbia at aceee.org. The full 2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard also was available for download on the website.

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Metro Blooms seeking ‘Give to the Max’ donations

Metro Blooms, the nonprofit that holds rain garden workshops across the Twin Cities, is one of the groups seeking to jump-start donations on Give to the Max Day Nov. 16.

GiveMN.org, the giving website that sponsors the event, reported last year’s first-ever Give to the Max Day raised more than $14 million for 3,434 of the state’s nonprofits. At the time, it shattered the record for one-day online fundraising, previously set at $3.8 million, GiveMN.org reported.

Metro Blooms aimed to bring in “100 donations of any size,” according to a posting on its website, metroblooms.org. A number of metro-area nonprofits are participating in the event this year, and the two that collect the most donations will win $20,000 and $10,000 grants in addition to the funds raised.