Thank you for attending the 11th Annual Green Gifts Fair! We look forward to seeing you next year!

A Quick Guide to Lighting Options for Your Home

Neely Crane-Smith Center for Energy and Environment Incandescent Light Bulbs: These old-school bulbs work through the principal of incandescence — or producing light through heat. The electricity heats a filament (that little wire in the middle of the bulb) to such a temperature that it produces visible light. Incandescent bulbs are very …

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Air Pollution and Our Health

Mark Sulzbach Minnesota Pollution Control Agency When most people think of unhealthy air, they think of a stifling, summer day, plagued by high ozone levels and a thick layer of smog over the Twin Cities. However, Minnesota’s worst recorded air alert occurred during the winter of 2005, and ozone was …

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Confronting Electric Racism

Lea Foushee Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota (EJAM) Hazardous waste, garbage incinerators and dumps have routinely been located on reservations and in communities of Color. Indigenous Peoples have experienced environmental racism for more than 500 years. Today, nuclear racism has become a most pernicious form of environmental racism. The nuclear …

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Cool Fuel: Airing the Idea of a Neighborhood Anaerobic Digester

Madalyn Cioci Linden Hills Power & Light board member In the grand scheme of halting climate change, Linden Hills Power & Light (LHP&L) isn’t on par with a national carbon cap. But this group of community residents now jokingly call themselves utility executives and their ideas are turning heads around …

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Diversifying Minnesota’s Clean Energy Future with Biogas

Amanda Bilek Great Plains Institute Minnesota is blessed with an abundance of renewable energy resources to provide a clean energy future for our state. An often overlooked renewable energy resource is biogas. Biogas holds tremendous potential to help meet our future energy needs. As a versatile and constant energy resource, …

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Energy in Minnesota: A history of progress, a future of possibility

Michael Noble and Kate Ellis Fresh Energy Over the last two decades, Minnesota has experienced a dramatic change in energy use and energy policies. We are closer than ever to achieving a new energy economy using homegrown resources that create jobs, protect our air and water, and strengthen our state’s economy …

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Energy Transition

Philipp Muessig Twin Cities Energy Transition Working Group Huge energy price increases. Tight oil supplies. Climate change. Energy conservation. Major investments in renewable energy. To many people, it looks like the world is in the midst of an energy transition. What is driving this transition, where are we going, and …

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Fossil Fuels: What Everyone Should Know

Mark Snyder Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance I attended a presentation recently titled, “The Love of Fossil Fuels: The Root of All Evil?” While the title was partly a clever play on the age-old phrase, “Money is the root of all evil,” it also had some element of truth on …

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Getting Started with Green Building and Remodeling

Michael Anschel Otogawa-Anschel Design + Build The key to successful green building lies in two things: planning and communication. One of the big challenges in green construction and design is sorting through the vast ocean of information including all of the facts, fictions, and applications. Location, climate and building type …

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Getting to the Next Level in Home Energy Efficiency

John F. Neville The SEA Group Spend a Little Money, Take a Little Time Here are some simple and inexpensive ways to make your home energy efficient. They involve minor costs and some work on your part, but the energy and cost savings make it worthwhile. Switch to fluorescents The …

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Green Building 101

Rachel Maloney Natural Built Home Store Let’s face it, green is hot. It describes everything from automobiles to energy sources. One area where the development of green products is exploding is in the field of green building. Green building encompasses initial building site selection and energy efficiency all the way …

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Greener Design and Remodeling

Michael Anschel Otogawa-Anschel Design + Build If you are reading this article, you may already know the importance of considering our planet’s resources when designing our homes. Determining the most sustainable solutions is a real challenge. Should you invest in solar panels? Should you buy the carpet with the Green …

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Healthy Schools Projects

Linda Countryman Minnesota Pollution Control Agency – Prevention & Assistance Division Three Minnesota schools reduce pollution and save energy and money. Houston Public Schools in southeastern Minnesota, Pine Point Elementary on the White Earth Reservation, and Hutchinson High School took part in a recently finished pilot project to develop a …

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Hydrogen Economy: Visualizing the Future

Corey Brinkema e4 Partners, Inc. What if hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, could power everything from automobiles and trucks to homes and office buildings with little or no toxic or greenhouse gas emissions? Welcome to the dream of the “hydrogen economy.” Does it seem like fantasy? For …

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Invest in a Cleaner, Healthier Future: Upgrading Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

John F. Neville The SEA Group If you have the resources and are going to stay in your home for a while, you may want to invest some time and money in upgrading your home to improve its energy efficiency. Over time, investments in energy conservation return big dividends in …

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Low End Solar Produces Megawatts of Awareness

Todd Fink Best Power, International Other than a spinning meter or a monthly bill (and maybe a changing climate), the electricity we use leaves little evidence behind. If it were water, we might understand it better. Imagine a radio dripping all day or a small stream bubbling from your computer, …

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Making Your Dishwasher an Earth-Friendly Tool

Jeannie Piekos Bag-E-Wash You do not have to feel guilty about using a dishwasher. Many studies have proven that dishwashers are much more cost-effective and energy-efficient than washing dishes by hand.* Maximize your dishwasher’s environmental effectiveness with these helpful tips: Run your dishwasher when it is completely full. Do not …

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Minneapolis Residents Tackle Climate Change

Beth Bennett Center for Energy and Environment In 2007, the city of Minneapolis became the first city in the country to fund small grants for its residents to prevent climate change. The grants garnered tremendous success; Minneapolis residents pledged to prevent over 8.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually …

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Minnesota GreenStar to Take Center Stage

Michael Anschel & Corey Brinkema Green Remodeling Group & Green Institute This has been a great year of progress in Minnesota’s efforts to become a national leader in preserving and restoring our environment. From the landmark legislation in addressing climate change and developing sustainable energy resources to the growth of …

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Minnesota GreenStep Cities: Taking Action with Proven Best Practices

Philipp Muessig, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Dan Frank, Greater Pine River Area Healthy Green Communities Partnership Cities all over the state are considering ways to protect the environment and reduce costs, and many of them are looking to a new program called Minnesota GreenStep Cities. GreenStep Cities is an …

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Minnesota Wind Energy: One Size Does Not Fit All

Windustry Like rich farmland and beautiful lakes, wind is a natural resource in Minnesota and is harvested as a renewable energy source in many areas of the state. Over the past ten years, the wind industry has grown throughout Minnesota, boosting rural economic development and diversifying energy fuel resources. Minnesota’s …

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Opting for Wind Power

Don Vasatka, The School of Environmental Studies Wind power has always been present in the background of alternative energy resources – an available source of energy but one which is not used to its fullest potential because of its high costs. With increasing fuel prices and more efficient technology, the …

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Our Sun – The Ultimate Energy Source

John F. Neville The SEA Group At 93 million miles from Earth, our sun is a middling star that provides nearly all the energy on Earth. The only energy sources we have on Earth which do not come from the sun are the tides caused by the moon’s gravity, radioactive …

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Park Rapids Wind Energy Project Provides Clean Energy and Education

Mao Lee and Kathleen McCarthy Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) The Park Rapids Area Century School in Minnesota knows the importance of saving energy, producing clean, renewable energy, educating the community and raising the next generation of young leaders — grades K–8, specifically. In 2007, the school received funding from CERTs and …

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Pollution-free Heating and Cooling: Geothermal Heat Pumps

Mark Snyder Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance What is Geothermal? Many people, when they hear the word “geothermal”, think of those old plants that were built out in Western states to generate electricity using underground reservoirs of hot water or steam. Known as “direct-use” systems, they trade off dependence on …

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Public Outdoor Lighting Needs a Major Overhaul

Tine Thevenin International DarkSky Assocation Few of us give much thought to outdoor lighting because it is all around us: on our streets and parking lots, barn yards and buildings. We feel safer with lights and have come to depend on them. Outdoor lights give us a feeling of security …

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Reduce the Energy Costs of Home Appliances

Mary Morse Neighborhood Energy Connection Rein in the cost and environmental impact of common household appliances with the following tips: Identify your biggest energy wasters Households spend more money on heating and cooling than any other energy expenditure. Before investing in a new furnace or air conditioner, tame these costs …

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Shades of Green: Healthy Basement Renovations

Erin Barnes-Driscoll Green Buildings Team—Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Basements are notorious for being damp, dark, inhospitable places—the antithesis of what we like to associate with green and healthy living. As a rule, the basements in older homes were not designed to be functional living spaces. Yet for many of us, …

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Simple, Low-Cost First Steps for Home Energy Efficiency

John F. Neville The SEA Group Here are a few easy things you can do to cut your home energy use. Convince the entire family to follow these steps, and you may find that it doesn’t take any time or cost any money to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Electricity …

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Spiritual Progress: Congregations Going Green

By Sean Gosiewski & Wanda Copeland Congregations Caring for Creation (C3) Congregations Caring for Creation (C3) is an interfaith network of more than 80 congregations that are making the active care of Creation integral to spiritual life and social justice in their congregation. C3/MNIPL is the Minnesota chapter of a …

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Teaming Up for Clean Energy

Diana McKeown Metro CERTs Network Coordinator What is CERTs? No, it’s not a breath mint! It is a resource for communities across Minnesota who would like to plan and implement local energy projects. CERTs (Clean Energy Resource Teams) was launched in 2003 with the mission of connecting people to the …

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The Coming of the Solar Age & Clean Energy

Carl Nelson Director of Community Energy, Green Institute We are slowly moving from the dinosaur fossil age to the solar age, but is it fast enough? Minnesota still gets the vast majority of its energy from fossil fuel sources. As we near the peak of world oil production, we can …

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The Foothills of Peak Oil: Hard Times Come Again

Brian Merchant MN Post Carbon The world may look the same, but it has changed. The combination of $4.00/gallon gasoline, $130/barrel oil, and $12/BTU natural gas in the first half of 2008, sent a shockwave through the economy. The term peak oil, or the point when the maximum rate of …

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The Future of Energy is Conservation

Mary Morse Neighborhood Energy Connection Americans have been on a century-long energy spending spree. From automobiles to architecture, as long as energy costs have stayed affordable relative to our incomes, neither wastefulness nor environmental implications figured into our buying and building decisions. But with skyrocketing energy costs, people are beginning …

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The Price to Pay for Fluorescent Lighting

Compiled by DO IT GREEN! MINNESOTA Lamp manufacturers believe that price is a major barrier to more widespread use of CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps). Consequently, they have outsourced production from the United States to China and other developing countries. As a result, US workers lose jobs while US manufacturing capacity …

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The Reality of Carbon Offsets

Eli Effinger-Weintraub Do It Green! Carbon offsetting is a method of counteracting the environmental impacts of carbon emissions by investing in carbon-reduction efforts. While reducing your fossil fuel consumption should be your first focus, individuals can purchase carbon offsets for air travel, cruises, big events, cross-country road trips, or everyday …

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The Transition to Energy Efficient Living

Sara Grochowski Do It Green! Minnesota Since the advent of the industrial revolution, worldwide energy consumption has been growing steadily. With the decreasing availability of current non-renewable energy sources, we are moving towards an energy transition to renewable energy options. There are arguments for and against the many energy sources …

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Tips on Working with Your Landlord to Green Your Apartment

Amy Pickett and Chad Skally Skally Management Too often when we talk about living green, we focus on homeowners rather than renters. At Skally Management, a family-owned and -operated real estate management company in St. Paul, we’re changing that concept by finding innovative ways to practice Eco-Management: sustainable, responsible real …

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Using the Sun Wisely: Solar Shades & Energy Saving Awnings

Todd Fink Best Power, Intl. It’s 10 a.m. on a Saturday and I’m cooking an egg on the sidewalk, not in Death Valley but in St. Paul, and in a solar oven. The pace of solar cooking allows me to parent, write and ponder our civilization’s future without burning my …

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What Minnesotans Can Do About Climate Change

Will Steger Polar Explorer As a Minnesotan, I am proud of our state’s can-do spirit. It gives individuals the ability to overcome challenges that may seem impossible. When I was young, this spirit is what inspired me to become an arctic explorer, and today it continues to push me toward …

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What You Should Know About Energy Efficient Lighting

John Gilkeson Prevention and Assistance Division, MN Pollution Control Agency More and more, people are asking if they should purchase and use energy-efficient lighting in their homes. The answer is definitely “YES,” because doing so will save money, reduce electrical consumption, contribute to energy conservation and reduce the environmental impacts …

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Worry Less About Gas Prices and Consider Alternatives

Sara Grochowski Do It Green! Minnesota For many of us, daily commutes to and from school or the workplace is an accepted part of life. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Minnesotans spend an average of 5.79% or $2,377 of their annual income on gasoline expenses. Considering these rates …

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