PRESS RELEASE: CEE receives Carolyn Foundation funding

Jun 17, 2015

Center for Energy and Environment receives Carolyn Foundation funding
to build on successful Energy Fit Homes certification program


Carolyn Foundation has granted $25,000 to support the Center for Energy and Environment’s Energy Fit Homes program, a home certification program that leverages market forces to encourage energy efficiency improvements. The grant will help intensify program efforts in Minneapolis, including exploration of policy levers to further incent homeowner participation. 

Nationally, energy efficiency ranks among the most sought after features for homebuyers (NAHB, 2015 survey). In Minnesota, however, more than 400,000 homes lack adequate insulation, leading to significant energy waste despite the wide availability of cost-effective, energy-saving solutions. Currently there is no systematic way to address this issue in older home sales; at the time of sale, an existing home’s efficiency level is essentially invisible. 

Addressing this gap, Energy Fit Homes is Minnesota’s first energy efficiency certification for existing homes, rather than new construction. Established in 2014, the program certified more than 100 homes in its first year, including about a dozen that undertook specific efficiency improvements to earn certification. Certified homes must meet defined standards that are easily measured and verifiable, capitalizing on market forces to drive residential efficiency while cutting carbon emissions. Although initially focusing in Minneapolis, CEE believes the innovative certification holds potential to spread statewide and even nationally. 

CEE’s director of program development Carl Nelson explains, “Our certification offers an unprecedented, shared framework for homeowner understanding, with real promise to scale up for even greater impact.” The City of Minneapolis’ nation-leading Clean Energy Partnership underscores the region’s readiness to take on ambitious local approaches to address energy issues — important, because Nelson recognizes his program’s success will depend upon supportive public policies as well as residential engagement. 

“Carolyn Foundation supports upper Midwest efforts to mitigate climate change, which truly begin at home,” said Becky Erdahl, the foundation’s executive director. “Energy Fit Homes certification gives homeowners a powerful new tool to assess their energy gaps and opportunities. We’re happy to promote this program, and excited to see where it goes.”

About Center for Energy and Environment

The Center for Energy and Environment is a Minnesota nonprofit that promotes energy efficiency to strengthen the economy while improving the environment. For over 35 years, CEE has provided a range of practical and cost-effective programs to help Minnesota homeowners, businesses, nonprofits, and governments reduce energy waste and save money. Online at

About Carolyn Foundation

The Carolyn Foundation’s vision is to improve the lives of children/families, communities and the environment through the involvement of successive generations of the family of Carolyn McKnight Christian. The foundation makes community grants in New Haven, CT, and Minneapolis, MN. Environmental grants are made in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin to mitigate climate change. Online at

Media contact

Tim Hanrahan, communications manager, Center for Energy and Environment, 612-244-2419