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Uncover Your Home’s Energy Secrets at the State Fair

8/19/2015 10:14:43 AM

Is your property suitable for solar power? Is your home leaking energy?

Find answers at the ‘Home Energy Improvements’ exhibit

SAINT PAUL — High-tech, interactive tools to uncover the energy secrets of your home are among the highlights of this year’s “Home Energy Improvements” exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair.

Located at the Eco Experience Building on the north end of the fairgrounds, the exhibit will demonstrate the many ways Minnesota homeowners can improve the energy efficiency, comfort and safety of their homes. 

The exhibit is coordinated by the Minnesota Commerce Department, Division of Energy Resources, with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

“State fairgoers can explore how to save both energy and money on renewable energy and home improvements at our department’s exhibit,” said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “We have demonstrations on the solar power potential for everyone’s property in the state and how much energy may be leaking from their homes on hot summer days and cold winter nights, with experts on hand to answer questions.”

Is your property on the sunny side of life?

Fair-goers will have the opportunity to use the Minnesota Solar Suitability App, a convenient online tool to measure the solar power potential of any property in Minnesota. Developed by a team from the University of Minnesota, the app is the first to offer a detailed statewide solar map.

Just type in your address to view a high-resolution aerial image that shows the amount of solar radiation reaching your home or business. The tool can pinpoint specific areas of your roof or yard that may be best suited for solar panels.

If you’re thinking about a solar energy project, the exhibit also features information on the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program, which offers financial incentives for both solar electric and solar thermal installations. 

Do you have a “leaky” house?

Another tool to uncover the energy secrets of your home is an infrared camera that uses thermal imaging to identify energy leaks caused by inadequate insulation or unseen gaps in walls, around windows or on the roof. 

With help from the Minnesota Building Performance Association (MBPA), fairgoers can use an infrared camera to “search for the missing heat” in an interactive display.

Searching for energy loss is a key part of an advanced home energy assessment, the first step you should take when making any energy-related home improvements. MBPA and Commerce staff can help you learn more about what an assessment should include and how to arrange one for your home.

Four utility companies, including CenterPoint Energy and Minnesota Power, are offering a special 25% discount on home energy assessments for their customers at the fair.

Other features at this year’s State Fair exhibit include information and demonstrations on:

  • Air sealing and insulation
  • ENERGY STAR® appliances and high-efficiency lighting
  • Low-cost window improvements
  • Programmable thermostats
  • High-performance new home construction
  • The dangers of an “orphaned” water heater (when it’s the only combustion appliance venting to a chimney after a furnace or boiler is replaced)

The State Fair’s Eco Experience is one of the largest environmental events of its kind in the country. Last year’s Eco Experience attracted about 250,000 visitors. For more information, check out the 2015 Eco Experience webpage.

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