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New TV program shows Minnesotans how to plug a ‘leaky’ home & maximize energy performance

Improving Your Home’s Performance’ will premiere August 9

7/28/2015 10:14:43 AM

SAINT PAUL — In Minnesota, there are few things more aggravating than a home that “leaks” energy. In the summer, the heat comes in. In the winter, the heat goes out. Either way, your utility bill goes up.

How Minnesotans can plug their “leaky” homes is the focus of a new 30-minute program that will air Sunday, August 9, at 8:00 p.m. on public television stations across Minnesota. The program, called “Improving Your Home’s Performance,” guides homeowners through the process of getting an energy assessment to identify problem areas and then taking steps to maximize a home’s performance.

“A high-performance home offers Minnesotans many benefits,” said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “It makes your home more comfortable, improves indoor air quality and increases energy efficiency. Maybe best of all, it pays off in dollars and cents as your monthly utility bill goes down while the value of your home goes up.”

“Improving Your Home’s Performance” is produced by Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) and the Minnesota Building Performance Association (MBPA), a nonprofit organization that promotes safe, healthy, comfortable, durable and energy-efficient homes. The program is made possible with support from the Minnesota Commerce Department (with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy) and six Minnesota utilities.

The program showcases the benefits of an energy assessment and follow-up home improvements through the eyes of several homeowners who have faced home performance issues such as ice dams, drafty windows and rooms, and moisture damage in ceilings and walls.

Rebecca Olson, with the Neighborhood Energy Connection in St. Paul, explains to viewers what a home energy assessment is, how much it costs and who does them. In many instances, local utilities will help arrange for and subsidize a home energy assessment.

Some elements of a comprehensive energy assessment include:

  • A review of energy bills to identify energy use and savings opportunities.
  • A blower door test to determine air leakage rates.
  • Infrared camera scans of a home’s walls, attic space and foundation to assess insulation levels and locate air leaks.
  • Efficiency and safety testing for combustion appliances such as furnaces and water heaters.
  • A thorough visual inspection for attic, wall, crawlspace, foundation, basement, window, door and roof problems.

To follow up on an energy assessment, several local contractors demonstrate home performance improvements such as air sealing, insulation, window replacements and mechanical upgrades. The program also highlights do-it-yourself opportunities for homeowners such as weather-stripping doors, replacing furnace filters, installing programmable thermostats and adding LED lights.

Where and When to See the Program  

“Improving Your Home’s Performance” will premiere on Sunday, August 9, at 8:00 p.m. on public TV stations statewide on tptMN - The Minnesota Channel. It will also be rebroadcast several times. Check local listings for additional program times.

The program will also be shown at the Home Energy Exhibit of the Eco Experience Building at the Minnesota State Fair (Aug. 27-Sept. 7). Minnesota Commerce Department staff and Minnesota Building Performance Association members will be available at the Fair to provide information on home energy assessments.

Where to Get More Information  

Minnesota Department of Commerce  
Energy Information Center
651-539-1886 or 800-657-3710 (outside Twin Cities metro area)  

Minnesota Building Performance Association




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