Residential

Setting the PACE in the Midwest

Property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing is off and running in the Midwest. PACE enables homeowners and commercial building owners to finance energy efficiency improvements through a special assessment on their property that is paid back through their tax bill. To date, there are 15 active PACE programs in the MEEA footprint. PACE-enabling legislation exists in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio and Nebraska, and legislation in Illinois has passed both state legislative houses and is awaiting the governor’s signature.

This Home is a Total Zero (Good!)

There are many paths to building a highly energy efficient new home, including Passivehaus, Living Building Challenge and the soon-to-be-released ASHRAE 90.2 standard. Policies designed to save energy are also driving up demand for efficient housing. California, for example, will soon require that all new homes be zero net energy.

Given increasing interest for such innovative homes, it’s not hard to imagine a future in which people across the country are able to just pick their favorite energy efficient home from a subdivision full of zero net energy (ZNE) homes.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Here in Chicago where MEEA is based, the winter months get so cold the air hurts my face. During my walk to work a few days ago, I’m pretty sure I was close to becoming an actual Popsicle. The long nights and lack of sunshine only exacerbate the pain.

Univ. of Minnesota Students Design Ultimate Energy Efficient Home

Congratulations to the University of Minnesota’s “Team OptiMN” who won the Department of Energy’s Race to Zero Student Design Competition last month in Golden, Colorado!

The team, led by students Laurel Johnston, Peter Schneider, Cavan Wagg and Collin Coltman, bested 32 other teams from across the country in a competition to create a cost-effective home that uses little to no energy by optimizing energy efficiency and utilizing renewable resources. The team was also overseen by Professor Pat Huelman, who worked alongside MEEA on the development of Minnesota’s new building energy code.

Illinois Home Performance Receives the EPA’s 2015 Partner of the Year Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the Illinois Energy & Recycling Office at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) with a 2015 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award for its work on the Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. DCEO’s accomplishments will be recognized in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2014.