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Commerce to host Improve Your Home energy exhibit at 2014 State Fair


It seems like summer has just barely started, but the Minnesota State Fair is just around the corner—August 21-Sept. 1. For the third straight year, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources will host an “Improve Your Home” energy exhibit at the Eco Experience on the north end of the fairgrounds.

The exhibit will provide Minnesota homeowners, renters, and builders with many measures that can improve the energy-related operation of existing homes. It will demonstrate opportunities to invest in the performance, durability, health and safety of existing homes.

U of M New Home Exhibit highlighted

In addition, this year’s Eco Experience will feature a “New Home Exhibit” from the University of Minnesota’s Cold Climate Housing Program that focuses on energy opportunities for residents to implement in new and existing homes. The New Home Exhibit, with funding support from Commerce, will capture the design solutions for high-performance homes that U of M students created at the 2014 U.S. Department of Energy Challenge Home Student Design Competition. The students won three national awards for homes at least 40-50 percent more efficient than standard new homes.

Displays to improve efficiency, sustainability

The Improve Your Home exhibit will include museum-like displays to demonstrate many ways homeowners can improve the efficiency and sustainability of their homes. From basic energy assessments and energy conservation measures to exploring clean energy options, the exhibit will provide engaging displays for kids and adults alike. For instance, thanks to a Minnesota Solar Suitability App, fairgoers will be able to enter their address and identify the solar potential of their home or business. The App, developed by a University of Minnesota Solar Dream Team, will provide Lidar-derived data that will indicate the solar potential for specific locations throughout the state.

The Improve Your Home exhibit is a partnership of state agencies, utilities, retailers, neighborhood energy groups, nonprofits, trade organizations, finance agencies, and more.

A sample of displays includes:

  • Energy Info: Where does our energy come from? This display will demonstrate the many sources and uses of energy for Minnesota buildings through several interactive components, compelling graphics, and discussions with energy specialists from the Division of Energy Resources. Wind and solar resources, new smart thermostats, a book on Minnesota Energy Data, home energy guides, solar incentive programs, and more will be featured.
  • Home Assessments. Several interactive displays (including infrared camera, home air leakage models, and ice dam solutions) will encourage homeowners to learn more about their home’s operation through a home assessment or energy audit. Representatives from the Minnesota Building Performance Association will be present to answer questions about home performance and assessment options.
  • Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation. Examples of high efficiency equipment that homeowners should consider when replacing outdated furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, and more will be available. CenterPoint Energy staff will answer questions.
  • Efficient Lighting. This interactive display features 32 different LED and CFL bulbs that fairgoers can sample to compare brightness, color temperature, efficiency, and more. Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Team staff will be on hand.
  • New Laundry Options. Examples of efficient laundry appliances, including new top-loading high efficiency washers, will be shown. Fairgoers can sign up for a drawing for a $500 certificate from Warners’ Stellian Appliances and learn more about efficient laundry options.
  • Energy Fit Homes . Representatives from the Neighborhood Energy Connection and the Center for Energy and Environment will be on hand to describe Energy Fit Homes, a new program to help homeowners make smart energy improvement choices and earn an “Energy Fit Homes Certificate.”

The State Fair’s Eco Experience is the largest environmental event of its kind in the country with more than 25,000 square feet of interactive experiences. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency manages the Eco Experience. A Minnesota State Fair App serves as a complete guide to the Minnesota State Fair.