How can city environmental commissions connect with and learn more from each other? Commissioners from the Minneapolis, MN metro area and other stakeholders recently gathered to foster such connections and explore how they could increase learning opportunities with one another. Continue reading »
Minnesota Cities Charging Ahead Around Electric VehiclesFebruary 20, 2018 in Communities Author: Diana McKeown
There has been a growing interest from cities in Minnesota to explore options for adding electric vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure in their communities. Continue reading »
Q&A With UMN Energy Transition Lab’s Ellen Anderson on the Local Government Project for Energy PlanningSeptember 26, 2017 in Communities Author: Diana McKeown
GPI’s Diana McKeown, who directs the Metro region of Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Teams, interviews Ellen Anderson, Executive Director of the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, about an important new project to help communities reach and measure progress toward emission reduction goals. Continue reading »
Kristen Peterson Joins GPI as a Sustainable Communities Program AssistantJuly 20, 2017 in Communities, News & Press Author: Diana McKeown
Please join me in welcoming Kristen Peterson as the Great Plains Institute’s (GPI) new Sustainable Communities Program Assistant. Kristen will support the work of several projects, including Metro CERT, Minnesota GreenStep Cities, SolSmart, and LoGoPEP. Continue reading »
Door Knocking for Energy and Solar Assessments a Success in the Chisago AreaJanuary 18, 2017 in Communities Author: Diana McKeown
On December 1st, a small team of community members and folks from the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) went out in pairs to door-knock in Chisago City and the City of Lindstrom to encourage small business owners to participate in a free energy and/or solar assessment of their business through the Chisago Clean Energy Hub. Continue reading »
Community Efforts in the Spotlight at Metro CERT 2016 Annual EventNovember 11, 2016 in Communities Author: Diana McKeown
Greenway Office Building in Minneapolis Adds Solar Electric System Using PACE FinancingNovember 7, 2016 in Communities, Electricity Author: Diana McKeown
Built in 1999, the Greenway Office Building (GPI is a key building tenant) includes solar PV, geothermal heating and cooling, and a green roof. Constructed to many of the design points of LEED (Leadership Energy Efficient Design) this ENERGY STAR building hosts many nonprofit and for-profit tenants working toward better housing and a more energy independent future. Wellington Management recently utilized PACE financing to replace the building’s aging solar PV array. Continue reading »
Chisago Area Clean Energy Hub Partnering to Drive $40-$60M of Investments in Solar, EfficiencyAugust 5, 2016 in Communities Author: Diana McKeown
As part of our efforts to advance clean energy in the 11-county metro area, Metro CERT is supporting a community-wide effort in Chisago County to engage residents, businesses, cities, and institutions to stop wasting energy dollars and create more sustainable energy from renewable sources such as solar energy via the Chisago Area Clean Energy Hub.
While the audience is broadly Chisago County, the Chisago Lakes Area (spanning the cities of Chisago, Lindstrom, Center City, Shafer, and Taylors Falls) became one of 50 communities in the nation to receive $50,000 from the America’s Best Communities (ABC) competition to develop a Community Revitalization Plan. Then, in April 2016, the Chisago Lakes Area became one of eight finalists awarded $100,000 to implement their Plan. They are now competing to be one of the top three communities awarded $1, $2, and $3 million, respectively.
The Chisago Lakes Area effort is being led by the Chisago Lakes Chamber and Chisago County HRA-EDA which has hired Eutectics to support their efforts specifically related to clean energy (Eutectics is also supporting the City of Morris in a similar effort that received a West Central CERT Seed Grant).
The Economic Development Committee of the Chisago Lakes ABC competition has a stated goal of generating $40-$60M of investment in solar and energy efficiency projects while achieving energy self-sufficiency by 2025 for the Chisago Lake Area. To help meet this goal, the Chisago Area Clean Energy Hub was created.
The Chisago Area Clean Energy Hub provides technical assistance, pre-qualified clean energy contractors, and professional guidance from start to finish on all qualified projects. The Chisago Area Clean Energy Hub is a partnership between Eutectics, Chisago County HRA-EDA, Metro Clean Energy Resource Teams (Metro CERT), Chisago Lakes Chamber, and America’s Best Communities committee, and is sponsored by Metro CERT.
“The Clean Energy Hub is a great resource for businesses because it can help their bottom lines by lowering energy costs while attracting new businesses to clean energy,” said Nancy Hoffman, executive director of the Chisago County HRA-EDA.
The Chisago Clean Energy Hub will provide the following benefits:
- No-commitment energy assessments and technical assistance at little or no cost
- A list of Hub prequalified contractors, ensuring capable and professional service from service providers with a proven track record
- Multiple financing options to make clean energy cost-effective
- Monitoring collective progress toward the broader community goals
The Metro CERT team has been approached via applications for Seed Grants and the Clean Energy Accelerator from the Chisago Area to assist with outreach and engagement related to clean energy on the ground. As part of this project, MetroCERT has already provided support, including planning for outreach to residents, businesses and congregations, as well as other communications. Metro CERT will continue to support the project as one of four Clean Energy Accelerator projects.
About Metro CERT
The Great Plains Institute directs the Metro Clean Energy Resource Team (Metro CERT), that is part of a statewide partnership with a shared mission to connect individuals and their communities to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects.
Metro CERT serves the 11-county Twin Cities metropolitan area by empowering communities and their members to adopt energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy technologies and practices for their homes, businesses, and local institutions.
Andersen Windows: Sustainability Champs and Energy Stars!April 20, 2016 in Efficiency Author: Diana McKeown
About Andersen Corporation
Andersen Corporation is a 113 year-old Minnesota window and door manufacturing company located on the scenic St. Croix River. According to its website, the company was founded by Danish immigrant Hans Andersen and his family in Hudson, Wisconsin. Andersen is one of the most prominent window manufacturing companies in the country; most people have, or know someone who has Andersen Windows in their home or business. Continue reading »
What’s Happening with Clean Energy in the Twin Cities?January 20, 2016 in Communities Author: Diana McKeown
Clean Energy Resources Abound!
There are big clean energy happenings in Minnesota’s Twin Cities metro region of the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs)!
We started off 2016 by releasing the list of seed grant projects that were funded for this biennium that included some really exciting projects. Continue reading »