Educational displays showcase energy efficiency, renewable energy

August 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

Educational displays showcase energy efficiency, renewable energy

SAINT PAUL, MN – Whether discovering money-saving energy tips or scouting out renewable energy options, this year’s Home Energy exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair promises to raise the energy IQ of visitors by about 100 megawatts.

The exhibit, located at the Eco Experience on the north end of the fairgrounds, will include educational displays to demonstrate many ways homeowners can improve the efficiency, comfort, safety, and sustainability of their homes. Visitors will be able to view all sides of one’s home—inside and out—to gain energy-saving ideas. From basic energy assessments and energy conservation measures to exploring clean energy projects, the Home Energy exhibit will provide engaging displays for kids and adults alike.

“The Home Energy exhibit will help visitors discover cost-effective, environmentally sound solutions to making one’s home more energy efficient,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Consumers will get help with energy projects, and how to plan and pay for them.”

For the second straight year, the Home Energy exhibit is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources in collaboration with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The 6,000 square-foot exhibit is a partnership of state agencies, utilities, retailers, neighborhood energy groups, nonprofits, trade organizations, finance agencies, and more. The group has the shared goal of educating the public about effective approaches to energy improvement.

Renewable energy takes center stage

Renewable energy will be prominently featured, with several displays dedicated to solar and wind energy. The solar energy area is a partnership with the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society and will include four new displays:

· Solar Electricity display that demonstrates the benefits of generating solar energy for electricity and how solar photovoltaic panels provide electricity to your house.

· Solar Water Heating display that highlights the benefits of solar energy to heat water in a home and how the sun heats water, sending it to a storage tank and then into the house.

· Solar Air Heating display that shows the benefits of solar energy as a supplemental heat source and how the panels collect air heated by the sun and distribute it into the house.

· Solar Clothesline Dryer that features articles of clothing (tee-shirts, socks, pants, etc.) air drying outdoors (and saving energy), with printed facts about solar power.

The wind energy area is a partnership with Windustry and will showcase at least two new displays:

· Frequently Asked Wind Questions display that gives fairgoers a glimpse into the world of wind power, with FAQs covering information about commercial and small wind power in Minnesota.

· Wind Fan display that provides a chance to see and feel the power of wind in Minnesota. A map shows where the best wind resources are in Minnesota and how wind turbines can capture energy to generate electricity.

A look at home energy from several views

Visitors will be able to view vignettes of an existing home, including “interior room” areas and “yard” areas that highlight specific energy topics.

A few of those topic areas include:

· Energy Use and Data area, presented by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, will provide the overall context of energy use in Minnesota, including information on typical usage, sources of energy, and distribution systems. A display called “Where Does Energy Come From?” will be highlighted, as well as interactive displays that demonstrate lighting options, rim-joist insulation, air-sealing, basic energy-related operations of a home, and thermostat choices.

· Home Assessment area, led by the Minnesota Building Performance Association, will focus on the first steps for energy home improvement: learning how a home is presently operating and what steps to take to improve its efficiency. The basic tools of energy audits (infrared cameras, blower doors) will be displayed.

· Basement area, presented by CenterPoint Energy, will display high efficiency furnaces, water heaters, and ventilation and air-conditioning equipment and will provide information on home efficiency programs.

· Kitchen area, led by Warners’ Stellian and ENERGY STAR®, will showcase efficient kitchen and laundry appliances.

· Paying For It area, led by the Center for Energy and Environment and Minnesota Housing, will answer homeowners’ questions about financing, rebates, and other options for making energy home improvements.

· Ground Source Heat Pump area, titled “Energy from the Earth,” will present three basic technologies for getting heat from the ground in

Minnesota. It will tell how the constant temperature of the soil can work to the consumer’s advantage.

The Home Energy exhibit is part of the State Fair’s Eco Experience, the largest environmental event of its kind in the country with more than 25,000 square feet of interactive experiences. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency manages the Eco Experience. More information is available on this year’s Eco Experience. A Minnesota State Fair App serves as a complete guide to the Minnesota State Fair.

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