on Monday, October 17, 2016

Earlier this month, the Building Performance Institute (BPI) announced a nationwide launch of the Healthy Home Evaluator (HHE) certification. The certification was developed to help home performance, weatherization, and healthy housing workers detect conditions that may adversely affect occupant health and safety.

WECC is excited to have three staff members—Greg Nahn, Bob Pfeiffer, and Cory Chovanec—already certified as Healthy Home Evaluators. Earlier this year, our building science specialists participated in the pilot phase of BPI’s HHE certification, completing the required training and exam. Professionals must hold BPI Building Analyst (BA), Energy Auditor (EA), or Quality Control Inspector (QCI) certification prior to pursing the HHE. 

"BPI has always focused on health and safety issues such as carbon monoxide and natural gas leaks," said BPI CEO Larry Zarker. "Now with the HHE, we are including a deeper look at home issues that could negatively impact the health and safety of America's families."  HHE certified building science professionals are trained to assess hazards such as asthma triggers from dust, moisture and mold, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), lead-based paint, asbestos, radon, and carbon monoxide leaks, as well as potential fire hazards, trip and fall hazards, and pest management issues.

WECC is proud to be at the forefront of this initiative, and we look forward to utilizing our HHE certification in home performance assessments!

Visit BPI’s website to learn how to obtain certification. 

on Monday, October 3, 2016

Energy Awareness Month was established in 1991 as a national effort to spread awareness of energy issues, show the positive impact of energy efficiency, and underscore the importance of sustainably managing our energy resources.
To celebrate Energy Awareness Month, WECC staff shared some of the ways they save energy at home and at work. We’ve compiled these tips and tricks below, and encourage you to incorporate some or all of these into your daily routine!

• Use LED or CFL bulbs in as many fixtures as possible.
• Keep unnecessary lights turned off as much as possible. As a bonus, the right type and timing of lighting can also have mood and health benefits!
• When remodeling or building a home, consider changing out standard light switches for dimmer switches.

Heating and Cooling:
• In the fall/winter, set your home’s temperature to be cooler at night (and also when away from home).
• Keep your garage door closed to block out winter winds.
• Close the doors and vents to any unused rooms to avoid heating or cooling unneeded space.
• Consider purchasing ENERGY STAR® HVAC equipment. A guide to finding certified products can be found here.

Transportation, Shopping, and Public Places:
• Consider driving an electric or eco-friendly vehicle.
• Save energy and get some exercise by walking or biking to work or to run errands.
• Always bring reusable cloth bags to the grocery store. By leaving them in your car between shopping trips, you’ll avoid forgetting them at home!
• Combine errands into one trip whenever possible, cutting down on fuel usage.
• Try to purchase locally-grown food as often as you can to sustain the community in which you live.
• Automatic doors use energy to open for us. When entering or exiting buildings with automatic doors, consider using the manual doors instead.

Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling:
• Keep a small recycling bin in the bathroom for toilet paper rolls or empty shampoo bottles. This prevents people from throwing these items into the trash out of convenience.
• Use empty baby wipe containers to hold small items like crayons or Legos.
• Shoe boxes work well for wrapping holiday or birthday gifts. Even better, use old newspaper as stuffing.
• When hosting parties, use washable dinnerware instead of paper or plastic products.

Stay tuned for additional energy saving tips and information throughout the month. Remember, even small changes can add up to big savings!

on Thursday, July 28, 2016

WECC is excited to serve as the new implementer of Spencer Municipal Utilities' Iowa Be Bright residential lighting program. Launched on July 1, Iowa Be Bright provides instant rebates toward the purchase of a variety of high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® LED bulbs at select retail stores throughout Clay County.

Spencer Municipal Utilities is the community-owned provider of electric power, water, and telecommunications to Spencer, Iowa. The utility, founded in 1942, serves more than 6,000 customers throughout the greater City of Spencer.
WECC currently implements the Iowa Be Bright program in a number of other markets across the state. In 2015, point-of-purchase advertising, educational materials, and promotional events helped drive customers of participating utilities to purchase more than 2 million CFLs and nearly 565,000 LED bulbs—totaling 100,000 megawatt-hours in energy savings.

on Thursday, July 14, 2016

WECC was recently chosen to implement a residential lighting program for Freeborn Mower Cooperative Services in Southeastern Minnesota! Launched on June 1, the program—branded "Be Bright"—provides instant rebates toward the purchase of high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® CFL and LED bulbs at select retail stores throughout Freeborn and Mower Counties.

Founded in 1936, Freeborn Mower Cooperative Services is a member-owned electric provider serving more than 18,000 members.

on Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dan Streit, program manager at WECC, was recently certified as a Greenhouse Gas Inventory Quantifier (GHG-IQ). This certification assesses professionals in the field of greenhouse gas inventory development and calculation, and is designed for international applicability.

Streit’s GHG-IQ certification enables him to calculate carbon footprints of both direct and indirect emissions, adding credibility to WECC’s Environmental Sustainability Services—while also demonstrating Dan’s personal commitment to sustainability.

Congratulations, Dan!

on Monday, May 16, 2016

Congratulations to our client and partner, Otter Tail Power Company, who was recognized as a leading energy efficiency program administrator in ACEEE’s “Big Savers” research report last month! The Minnesota-based electric utility was acknowledged for highly cost-effective program delivery and diversification of the program portfolio (savings from residential programs more than tripled over a five year period).

Savings from lighting programs increased from 16 percent of their total portfolio in 2009 to 43 percent in 2014. WECC is proud to have contributed to the success of Otter Tail’s residential lighting program—helping increase energy savings from 4 percent to 13 percent throughout the same five year time frame! Read more.