Saturday, May 22, 2010

Energy Smart Homes

Saint Paul homeowners can now apply for zero-interest loans up to $6,500 for home energy efficiency improvements! Apartment owners can also get $200 rebates on energy star refrigerators. The application and eligibility info is available at:
Pre-applications must be postmarked by June 11.
For more details, see the news release below.

Saint Paul Launches "Energy Smart Homes"

May 19th, 2010

SAINT PAUL - Providing Saint Paul residents with the tools to lower energy consumption and cut costs, Mayor Chris Coleman unveiled the $550,000 Energy Smart Homes loan and rebate initiative today.

“By renovating their homes and replacing old appliances, our residents will save money and decrease energy usage in Saint Paul,” Mayor Chris Coleman said. “This is one more way we are improving building efficiency, lowering energy costs, and protecting our environment while solidifying Saint Paul as a national leader in environmental sustainability.”

Made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, Energy Smart Homes will provide funding for energy-saving improvements to houses and apartment buildings, thereby lowering monthly utility bills to residents, strengthening the City’s tax base, and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Energy Smart Homes will also create jobs, a key component of ARRA, by creating a need for contractors, including heating and insulation contractors.

Energy Smart Homes is a two-pronged initiative. $500,000 will be used to make no-interest loans up to $6,500 to homeowners to make energy-saving improvements to their homes. These funds will also leverage Xcel Energy rebates. Prior to making the improvements, each home will undergo a home energy audit to identify the greatest needs.

Eligible expenses may include furnace replacement, insulation and air sealing. “These are the most cost-effective improvements a homeowner can make,” said Chris Duffrin, Executive Director of Neighborhood Energy Connection, the sole provider of Xcel Energy Home Energy Audits in Saint Paul. He went on, “Before you install solar panels or even new windows, you want to be sure that you have an energy-efficient furnace, adequate insulation, and that air leaks in walls and around windows are sealed.”

Saint Paul homeowners of all incomes are eligible to apply, though incomes will affect the loan amounts and other initiative requirements.

“Cool Cash for Cold Clunkers” is the working title for the second component of the Energy Smart Homes initiative and consists of cash rebates for owners of apartment buildings in Saint Paul who replace old inefficient refrigerators in their rental units with new ENERGY STAR refrigerators.

ENERGY STAR, a joint initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, is committed to saving people money and protecting the environment through energy efficient products and practices. According to the ENERGY STAR web site (, as a result of recent improvements in insulation and compressors, today's refrigerators use much less energy than older models. In fact, replacing a refrigerator from the 1980’s with an ENERGY STAR refrigerator could save as much as $100 each year on utility bills.

Energy Smart Homes will provide up to ten $200 rebates to owners of apartment buildings. And while the building owner will benefit from the cash rebates, many tenants will realize the monthly savings resulting from lower utility bills.

It is anticipated that the demand for the no-interest loans and refrigerator rebates will exceed the funds available, so Mayor Coleman is asking interested individuals to submit a simple pre-application postmarked by June 11. Individuals will be randomly selected. Selected homeowners seeking funds for energy-saving improvements will be invited to complete a full application and selected apartment building owners seeking refrigerator rebates will be notified and informed of the process for receiving their rebates.

For details about the Energy Smart Homes loan and rebate initiative, including eligibility conditions and other requirements, go to or call 651-266-6655 for a pre-application.


The City of Saint Paul is also launching the Sustainable Saint Paul’s Energy Challenge Grants initiative. The initiative will give non-profit organizations, neighborhood and business associations the opportunity to receive Federal stimulus funds for projects that will assist Saint Paul residents and businesses in reducing their energy use and climate change impact.

Organizations must utilize the funds for projects that promote either the Neighborhood Energy Connection’s Home Energy Squads, Center for Energy and Environment’s One-Stop Efficiency Shop Program, the Minnesota Energy Challenge or other successful cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation programs.

Eligible applicants may request up to $5,000 for projects completed by June 30, 2011. Applications for the Energy Challenge Grants must be received by June 14, 2010.

For more information regarding the City of Saint Paul’s climate change efforts and to find an application, please visit the Sustainable Saint Paul website at: or call 651-266-8520.


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