Friday, September 19, 2008

Home Energy Savings Series: Minneapolis Community Education

If you're like me and I am, I need a little bit more than an article on the web for me to grasp the physical motions required for the energy conservation pieces needed in my home. As if to answer my soon-to-be-chilly prayers, Minneapolis Community Ed now has a Home Energy Savings Series.

Tuesday, 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM; 5 sessions starting October 14, 2008, ending November 11, Location: Minneapolis - Roosevelt Cost is $15 per session or $60 for all.

Try community ed!

Home Energy Savings Series: Insulation, Ventilation and Ice Dam Prevention [670017]

Gain practical information regarding insulation, proper venting and where to look for attic bypasses. Know how heat travels and how to control it. Find out if you need insulation and discuss benefits of using blower doors and infrared scans.
Tuesday, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM; 1 session on November 11, 2008

Home Energy Savings Series: Lower Your Heating Bills! DIY Furnace [670018]

There are a number of simple maintenance items that you can do regularly to keep a furnace or boiler running efficiently. Gain important maintenance tips. Discuss the basics of new and old heating systems and compare technology and heat efficiency.
Tuesday, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM; 1 session on October 28, 2008

Home Energy Savings Series: Mold, Moisture & Air Quality Problems [670019]

Control of mold requires solving moisture problems. Discuss common causes of excess moisture. Control humidity levels and water vapor movement. Know causes and common sources of poor air quality.
Tuesday, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM; 1 session on November 18, 2008

Home Energy Savings Series: Window Repair & Weatherization [670020]

Focus on do-it-yourself techniques for stopping air infiltration, repairing of sash cords, reglazing, double-glazing and painting. Gain up-to-date information on cost effectiveness of retrofitting windows. T
Tuesday, 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM; 1 session on October 21, 2008

Home Energy Savings Series: Plug Leaks and Increase Comfort [670016]

Wasting energy is like throwing away money and it’s harmful to the earth. In addition, you are paying more money to be less comfortable. Find out about energy flow and ways that cold air seeps into your home. Learn how to plug leaks and get rid of those nasty drafts. Covers caulking, weatherstripping and much more.
Tuesday, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM; 1 session on October 14, 2008 Fertilizer Spill Leaks into Minnesota

DNR investigates N. Iowa Fish Kill

Solar Home Tours - October 4th & 5th

It's two, two great tours in one weekend!

On October 4th, the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society is hosting The Minnesota Solar House Tour in the Greater Metro. On October 3rd and 4th, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association is hosting it's annual 2008 Wisconsin Solar Tour (many of the exhibit homes are quite western). These tours are a tremendous opportunity to talk about solar with the homeowners themselves. I have found these knowledgeable and experienced solar users to be a tremendous resource. If nothing else, they can talk about the process without trying to sell you something. Win.

ETA: By western I mean on the west side of Wisconsin close to the Twin Cities, not in the style of a John Wayne movie. Although that would be pretty bad ass as well.

MPR: Wind Power

Minnesota, 4 neighbors plan for wind power

MPR: Cap-and-trade

Midwest Governors consider cap-and-trade option

More on the Midwest Governors Association.

More on cap-and-trade.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Recycling Organics

Since I became more diligent about my household recycling habits, the items that were still being tossed in the trash seemed extra important. Particularly when it came to food scraps. I'd long thought about starting a compost pile or a vermiculture. I couldn't get past my girly squeamishness to keep a box of worms and because I live in a townhome where the lawn service takes all my important "greens" and "browns" away from me, I didn't think I'd be able to make good compost.

That's why I'm so excited to see that Hennepin County is going to expand their Organic Recycling program to include parts of Minneapolis.

Residential organic recycling info

Organics Composting for Businesses in Hennepin County

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bike Rights

Biking can be a great commuting option but sharing the road with vehicles is not necessarily for the faint of heart. Fueled by a near miss last week and a confrontation today...

Rules regarding bicycling in Minnesota can be confusing because they represent an amalgam of the rights and responsibilities of both motorcycles and pedestrians. To clarify some of these often confused items, below is a checklist of things I’ve encountered as a cyclist. This information is gathered from, Minnesota Statute 169: Operation of bicycle; Minnesota Passing Law; and Minnesota Pedestrian Law.

• To ride in a traffic lane, not the shoulder, even when there is a bike path present
• To be left no less than three feet clearance when being passed by a motor vehicle
• To have the right-of-way at crosswalks when riding on the sidewalk
• To park at bike racks and sign posts
• To have a bike lane respected as if it were another lane of traffic


• Obey traffic laws
• Yield to pedestrians
• To give an audible signal when passing pedestrians on a crosswalk
• To ride where cars can see you, even if that means riding far away from the right

The most confusion seems to stem from where cyclists are allowed to ride. I’ve been told to get off the street and get off the sidewalk. While it’s generally safer to ride in the street (more so than a bike lane even) it is acceptable and legal to do both.

Bicycles can ride on the street,
to the right, except:
• When passing
• When turning left
• When reasonably necessary to avoid hazards

Bicycles can ride on the sidewalk,
• When in a business district – which is defined as having more than half the block occupied by businesses.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Define surplus?

'It is certainly a vintage vehicle. And now Prince Charles' beloved 1970 Aston Martin DB6 is running on vintage too,'' according to a recent article in ''A nice little white from a vineyard in Wiltshire, to be precise.'''

As part of cutting his carbon footprint, the prince has converted the 38-year-old classic car - a 21st birthday present from the Queen - to run on 100 per cent bioethanol fuel distilled from surplus British wine.

"The car - which is kept at Highgrove and clocks up just 300 miles a year - averages ten miles a gallon, the equivalent of 4.5 bottles of wine for every mile."

Personally, I'd rather stay in one place with 4.5 bottles of wine. Call me a soak if you must.

I'd much rather sacrifice a bushel of precious, power-packed soy beans than an ounce of vino. Soy beans can be brewed to form biodiesel in as little as nine months, and is a product that can help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, stimulate the local economy, and is significantly more environmentally friendly than traditional petroleum.

As of September 29, 2005, all diesel retailers in the State of Minnesota began offering 2 percent biodiesel. The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association also has some great information on their website regarding the creation and use of soy-based biodiesel as well as a list of retailers who offer a higher blends at the pump.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bike 2 Benefits

Metro Transit has a program called Bike2Benefits where you can register and track your commute. By entering your mileage it keeps a running total of estimated cost savings, CO2 reduced and air quality pollution reduced.

One curious thing I've noticed is that it doesn't include how much you save in bus fare in the tally! So far I've saved $24 more than they claim!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Recycling Plastic

Most curbside recycling programs in the metro will only take plastic bottles marked with resin code 1 or 2 and "have a neck." I've found this to be a relatively small amount of my recycling. For better or for worse, I go through a lot more sour cream than I do bottled water.

Here are some resources for recycling other types of plastic not usually picked up by curbside recycling:

Plastic Nursery Pots can be dropped off at these local garden centers between April 15th & November 1st.

Plastic Bag collections at local grocery stores sponsored by Minnesota Waste Wise.

Plastics #1 - #6 at the Coon Rapids Recycling Center. You have to sort them yourself, but it's most likely the only place in town to recycle all those plastics not picked up curbside.

NEW: Eastside Co-op is now a pilot program for a city of Minneapolis expanded plastic recycling.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Midwest Renewable Energy Association's Energy Fair

Welcome to Minnecology!

This weekend is 19th Annual MREA Energy Fair. The Energy Fair is being held June 20th through the 22nd at MREA's headquarters, the ReNew the Earth Institute, located in Custer, Wisconsin, and features hundreds of workshops and exhibits all emphasizing clean energy & sustainable living. In 2007, the Energy Fair hosted 19,500 attendees. This is the real deal, hippies! Don't miss it.

Further information is located on the MREA website.