Energy audits can help

Last winter’s record snow inspired a plethora of ice dams on houses throughout the metro.

One way to prevent ice dams from growing again is a home energy audit, according to Mike Holsinger, Partners in Energy community facilitator, who updated the Rosemount City Council on Tuesday on its Energy Action Plan goals.

Among the goals of the plan was to have more homeowners and business sign up for home energy audits.

“(A home energy audit) is an opportunity to have energy professionals come into your home and very quickly and efficiently look for ways to save you a tremendous amount of energy and money with some simple improvements,” he said.

Holsinger said the city has seen a 12 percent increase in residential electricity savings compared to 2018 after the Energy Action Plan was implemented.

Holsinger said he found 371 new participants in Xcel Energy residential energy programs since the launch.

There’s also been a big increase in programs serving low income households.

The effort also involved outreach to area businesses and nonprofits. A group of volunteers visited area businesses and found 35 were interested in energy assessments.

One of the goals of the Energy Action Plan was to reduce community-wide energy usage by 5 percent by 2020 and 15 percent by 2030.

He said Rosemount is unique because there are a lot of older homes that could use some updates, and new construction that can implement best practices when it comes to energy efficiency.

A major goal of the Energy Action Plan is to increase participation in energy and money saving programs offered by area utilities.

Rosemount has been one of Xcel Energy’s Partners in Energy since 2017.

City officials along with the Rosemount Environmental Task Force, utility partners, business leaders and other members of the community put together the Energy Action Plan.

Rosemount is one of a dozens of cities in Minnesota and Colorado to commit to reducing energy use, save money and invest in clean energy.

Energy audits

Updating light bulbs, shower heads and making other changes, energy audits can help lower bills and decrease energy use. The program also looks at insulation quality and a home’s air seal.

“A lot of times when you see ice dams in the winter time, it’s not a question of poor insulation but actually a poor air seal where warm air from the home is penetrating to the attic,” Holsinger said.

Home energy auditors have equipment to identify leaks and can suggest qualified contractors to help.

The value of getting an update can be upwards of $600, Holsinger said.

There are four energy utilities that operate in Rosemount.

For information on the audit, visit http://www.ci.rosemount.mn.us/EnergyRebates. On the website, the city has also complied a list of energy rebates and guides for residents and businesses.

Andy Rogers can be reached at andy.rogers@ecm-inc.com.

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