CEE's blog year in review

Dec 28, 2023
2024 energy efficiency

CEE is wrapping up a whirlwind year of energy efficiency work, from supporting a landmark Minnesota legislative session with $13 million assigned for a residential heat pump rebate program to being named among U.S. Department of Energy new grant recipients to kicking off our groundbreaking Efficient Technology Accelerator program in Minnesota. As we reflect on 2023 and prepare to build on those successes in 2024, we want to share our top blog posts from the year. We hope they can help you take action in your homes, businesses, and communities for a more energy efficient and sustainable future for all.


Thermostat setpoints have big impacts on heating bills for businesses

Heating costs for businesses are impacted by many factors, but one of those affects overall costs the most: thermostat setpoints. Fortunately, this is something business operators can control. Scheduled thermostat setbacks during unoccupied hours are a simple and effective way to lower heating costs and save energy without compromising comfort for employees and customers.

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CEE publishes a landmark roadmap to decarbonize all 1–4 unit homes in Minneapolis

An analysis from CEE shows that weatherizing and electrifying 1–4 unit residential buildings is a feasible pathway to meet the City of Minneapolis’ science-based climate emissions targets. Electrification has huge decarbonization potential due to the greening of the grid.

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Proposed legislation would broaden MN access to efficient, high-quality home heating and cooling

Aligned with utility programs supported by Minnesota’s Energy and Conservation Optimization Ace (ECO), the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will empower more people to invest in air source heat pumps (ASHPs), a highly efficient way to both heat and cool buildings. CEE’s Director of Policy Audrey Partridge gave expert testimony to the MN State Legislature to support a bill that would provide additional rebates to increase ASHP adoption in the state.

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Large lighting upgrade made possible for Minnesota Valley Transit Authority

CEE’s One-Stop Efficiency Shop conducted an assessment for the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) that found high potential savings and rebates through lighting upgrade. The One-Stop consultant guided MVTA staff through roadblocks, paperwork, and contractor bids to move forward with the project and cost-effectively transform their workspace.

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Northfield’s sustainable housing community achieves Zero Energy Ready with New Homes team’s help

In 2020, Center for Energy and Environment’s New Homes team began work on Hillcrest Village, an affordable and sustainable housing community in Northfield, Minnesota. Hillcrest Village is a first-in-the-nation net zero energy housing community that offers a combination of emergency housing, transitional housing, and workforce housing.

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Efficient Technology Accelerator (ETA) kicks off program with first ever training

Earlier this year, CEE launched an initiative to increase adoption of luminaire level lighting controls (LLLCs), a commercial lighting technology that offers substantial cost and energy savings opportunities. To begin engaging with and learning from the commercial lighting market, the team kicked off its first-ever LLLC training event on July 27, 2023.

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CEE’s Career Training Program prepares to launch new Green Construction Training in 2024

CEE received funding from Xcel Energy to begin a career training program in 2021 and launched its first training cohort in March 2022. Since then, CEE has successfully run six cohorts funded by both Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy, with the support of multiple local community-based organizations including the Cities of Minneapolis and Bloomington, Sabathani, CAPI USA, Ujamaa Place, Urban Roots, and MIGIZI. Beginning next year, CEE will offer a second career training program, the Green Construction Training program, funded through Ramsey County’s Learn and Earn program, to help young adults learn through education and training in in-demand careers, while earning money.

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CEE leads MN partnership for next generation of efficient buildings

In September 2022, Governor Tim Walz released Minnesota’s first Climate Action Framework, a comprehensive plan for how the state can adapt to a changing climate and mitigate its effects. In response to this goal, The Minnesota Advanced Energy Codes Partnership was formed. Led by CEE, the partnership is sponsored jointly by the State's departments of Labor and Industry and Commerce, with financial and technical support from the U.S. Department of Energy, the participation of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Sustainable Building Research, and a broad-based Advisory Council including Tribal Nations and unions. 

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