MN’s ECO Act: 2023 CEE highlights

Feb 13, 2024
CEE staff performing building assessments

In 2021, Minnesota passed the Energy Conservation and Optimization (ECO) Act as its next step on the path to energy efficiency and sustainability. The ECO Act will update and expand Minnesota's earlier Conservation Improvement Program (CIP), which was created to help Minnesota residents, utilities, and businesses save money and energy in their natural gas and electricity use.

CIP was improved on with the ECO Act, which includes expanded funding and options for low-income households, increasing the types of qualified energy saving technologies through efficient fuel-switching, increasing investor-owned electric utility conservation goals, and more. 2023 marked the first year that Minnesota utility programs operated under the new ECO guidelines.

Let’s look back on the some of the important ECO-related work that CEE and our partners accomplished in 2023.


One-Stop Efficiency Shop

This program offers a full-service rebate program for small to midsize businesses in Xcel Energy’s Minnesota services territory, with a focus on lighting, free smart thermostat installations, and rooftop unit improvements. One-Stop provides practical solutions to energy efficiency challenges by addressing common barriers such as limited financial resources, lack of access to high-quality contractors, and time constraints. In 2023, One-Stop completed 1,862 projects including 951 smart thermostat installations, leading to the conservation of 11.4 megawatts and 42 gigawatt hours of energy, as well as $7.7 million in disbursed rebates and $4.9 million in annual savings for local businesses.

Learn more about the One-Stop Efficiency Shop

The Commercial Refrigeration program offerings will become part of the One-Stop Efficiency Shop in 2024.


Home Energy Squad

CEE delivers this service for Xcel Energy and CenterPoint, which pairs on-the-spot installations of energy-saving products with an energy assessment for greater home comfort and savings. At each visit, energy experts install upgrades like LED bulbs, faucet aerators, and smart thermostats. Home Energy Squad completed over 7,000 visits in 2023 and helped save energy amounting to about 3 gigawatt hours and 27,000 decatherms. Additionally, more than 1,024 residents used CEE’s free Energy Advisor service to complete energy efficiency projects and earn 1,936 rebates.

Learn more about the Home Energy Squad


Multifamily Energy Savings Program

This program, provided by Minnesota Energy Resources, is designed to help multifamily building owners save energy through rebate incentives and direct installation of energy-saving products like high-efficiency showerheads and faucet aerators. Since its inception, the program has served more than 12,300 multifamily units, resulting in an average savings each year of $25 per unit on natural gas bills and an additional $24 per unit on electricity.

Learn more about our multifamily work


Regional Residential Energy Programs

Among the offerings that CEE implements for Minnesota Energy Resources, more than 100 Rochester households attended Neighbor Energy Challenge workshops, a joint program of Minnesota Energy Resources and Rochester Public Utilities that connects residents to practical energy efficiency solutions and energy audits. Additionally, CEE staff delivered over 1000 energy saving kits to Minnesota Energy Resources customers at community events in Albert Lea, Bemidji, Eagan, and Worthington, and at manufactured home parks in the greater Rochester area.


Authorized Insulation Contractor Program

This program offers insulation and air sealing services in the region served by Minnesota Energy Resources. Participating contractors benefit from easy access to competitive utility-paid rebates. In 2023, the program completed 22 onsite quality assurance inspections. The program also performed four quality assurance inspections in the form of remote phone interviews and held a training for 11 people to become new Authorized Insulation Contractor crew leaders.

Learn more about the AIC program


New Homes Single-family and Multifamily Rater Services

This program offers energy consulting and rater services to single-family new and existing home builders and multifamily developers. For single-family homes, the program performed a variety of energy consulting and ratings (HERS, ENERGY STAR, and DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes) for 209 homes and 42 builders. For multifamily developers, the program completed work on four buildings with four builders and four developers and certified two affordable housing projects in 2023. This work covered seven different utilities throughout the state.

Learn more about new construction services


Successful energy conservation requires thoughtful policies, excellent customer service, and high-quality work by a well-trained workforce. We are proud to be part of the vast ECO network that delivers programs tailored to Minnesota’s diverse communities. ECO drives our mission to strengthen the economy while improving the environment.