Klobuchar MN Energy Summit – PART II

12:30 continuing the live blogging. part I is here

Panel II: Made in MN

Prof Paul Vaaler – Carlson School- moderator. Gotta have a compelling narrative/be cool to get traction

Michael Roman – 3m: better living through chemistry and material science – wind films, reflective materials, LEDs, ethanol osmosis membranes, glass bubbles to save weight on cars, high capacity transmission lines.

Steve Tourek – Marvin Windows: stories that connect people with new windows (family owned, 100-years, HQ in warwick MN employs 75% of folks in that town) half of all employees in MN. Jobs are mostly in small businesses.

Most architects and customers don’t want to pay extra $$ to get better performance and so spec clear glass single-pane windows. Opportunity to retrofit older buildings with new products. We don’t need to wait for new technology – the existing

Durability is an ignored factor in the sustainability discussion. new window tech include high performance frames/sashes, switchable glazing and new films. As a private company, they managed to not lay off any staff, by accepting lower profits and salaries and energy efficiency programs.

One criteria doesn’t fit all climates for tax credits and a big flaw with current tax rebates versus energy star.

Steve Van Tassel – packet power. Interpreting energy bills for consumers. wireless smart power cords to track usage. now deploying to data centers – a huge energy user 1 1/2% of energy in US and waste 1/2 of energy because of poor management.

Michael – lots of competition in the energy efficiency sector.

Steve T – windows can’t easily be outsourced. challenge is the arms race with regulators and making a one size fits all for all regulations so they can plan. replacement is a major capital expense – need for financing an

Steve VT – capital/funding is an challenge.

Training and preparation for innovations for workers and customers?

Micheal – 3m has lots of enthusiasm for changing the world.

Steve T – Marvin educates architects and customers

Steve VT – 1st: 60% of data centers are running out of power. 2nd: most want to increase efficiency. 3rd: is environmental motivation.

Reagan’s “I’m from the govt..’ being scary needs to be overcome. Government is now part of the solution!

Most folks are well meaning and well intentioned – this is non-partisan. Arms race of claiming high ground and ownership of potential success that is undermining collaboration between gov’t, NGOS/non-profits, and business. Rapidly changing standards are causing delays in implementing better products and practices as the churn of regulation drives up costs.

DOE is funding improvements in data centers energy consumptions – so gov’t is helping.

Next up – Policy!

1:45 – Panel III

Klobuchar is back moderating. MN got award for being one of the top 5 states for weatherization (MN, Ohio, Maine are other leaders).

Gil Sperling – EERE advisor to Cathy Zoi. Unprecedented collaboration between local, state, and fed gov’t to implement energy efficiency. Its about saving money, and making buildings more comfortable. VP Biden prompted getting weatherization funds for middle class. Jobs, economic development, and saving the planet. THE US IS BEHIND EUROPE AND ASIA. the key is policy. Now there is an interagency task force to get folks to weatherize: Recovery through retrofit Report charts a roadmap around obstacle. Savings need to exceed monthly payments – policy is being enacted to make this possible with out new legislation. Not just tax payer financed subsidies. Also certification of workers and builders.

block grants will help mobilize neighborhood wide retrofitting by single contractor. Cash for Caulkers – tie rebate to efficiency of retrofit. Klobuchar is debating the name with her colleagues in the senate. the state of Maine is selling offsets from the weatherization that were funded by the state.

Ellen Anderson – MN State Senator. Other MN legislators in audience. new MN law that measures success based on outcomes, not just money spent by utility efficiency programs. States have been leading the charge over the past decade – now fed is trying to catch up. State of MN is trying to improve efficiency of state buildings. MN has spend $200m federal energy funds – $130m on weatherization changed limits to 200% of poverty an extra 200k households getting caulked. alread 17k homes improved. 90% of other funds went to energy efficiency across the entire economy including homeless shelters, retrofitting foreclosed homes, public buildings, job training targeted on communities in need.

Trillion BTU program inspired by Rock Ten (100 year old cardboard recycling plant) program from Saint Paul port Authority. Unintended consequence of conversion from coal to nat gas at power plant was loss of district heating – so Rock Ten found new solution via community engagement in energy efficiency – now leader in the industry 20-30% savings with payback in under 6 months. Now also has anaerobic digester too.

Invest in innovation will lead 21st century.

Peter McLaughlin – Hennapin County & Cool Counties.

glad to see the national government stepping back into having an energy policy after 2 decades. hennepin county had a ‘cool’ county attorney (that was Klobuchar before she ran for senate).

Working on improving county buildings including county hospital and libraries. Folks can still vote for better efficiency even if you don’t believe in human caused global warming/greenhouse gas emissions. working on making 21st c. transit system and improving land use adjacent to public transit.

Q & A :

what can be best done at a national level? States are laboratory of democracy in action – Justice Brandies.

Gil- DOE is trying to improve response of their staffers in deploying, new web site, set up 2300 grants to local gov’ts, lots of webinares, hiring new staffers in Pittsburgh and Colorado to admin the grants. Changing the culture of the DOE to help. Quantifying carbon savings and selling the offsets is a great program for Maine, need to give tools to other states – lots will be in the upcoming state of the union address. Transmission line limits are big issue – need to upgrade as new corridors are very hard to create. DOE is finding the right way to fund the best projects.

Q – More about MN’s energy policy and programs?

Ellen – trying to limit rate of growth of energy use at a utility level. focus on outcomes not spending. pushing utilities to do more – is decoupling the future? or will they be forced to accept lower sales/profits with increased efficiency attempt to balance between consumers and for-profit utilities.

Q- about engaging designers?

progress, energy eff is now selling point. leading by example. the arch community with LEED and B3 is coming on line to make investment.

DOE requires necessary assurances including current building codes that 90% will comply in next few years. Net zero by 2020 at DOE is mandated by CA in 2025. these require use of architects and other professionals!

B3 requirenment are getting imp. MN passed arch 2030 sets in motion standards to a net zero future!


Wrapping up, Klobuchar is thanking everybody that helped pull this together.

All questions will be posted at the center for integrative leadership www.leadership.umn.edu


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