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"With the Energy Squad serving the Twin Cities area, getting around to some simple energy conservation updates is effortless, inexpensive and quite satisfying."   
- Rebekah   

"Thank you for doing the audit on our home.  All of you were very professional in your jobs and all of you did your work in a very good workperson-like manner. Your explanations and helping us understand what we needed to improve our home energy was done well and very much appreciated."
- Wayne & Jean
"Hourcar encourages a sense of community and shared values.  As part of Hourcar's car sharing plan, you are part of a pro-active effort to solve some of our current social, economic, and environmental issues that will have a long term effect. That makes me feel good every time I drive."
- Nanette  




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Spring 2014
Energy News You Can Use
The Neighborhood Energy Connection Newsletter

What's Your Energy Fit Homes Rating?



Introducing Energy Fit Homes, a new program of the NEC and Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), two local non-profits with a long history of helping homeowners improve their homes's energy efficiency. When your home is Energy Fit Homes certified, you know it has reached its energy savings potential, and you'll have the certificate to prove it.


Energy Fit Homes makes having an energy efficient home easier and more rewarding than ever. Energy experts will answer your questions and provide you with information to make smart energy improvement choices. You can be confident you're working with a skilled, reliable contractor.  


Once you've successfully completed all the energy improvement recommendations, your home will be certified as an Energy Fit Home. This program benefits all homeowners with added comfort, cash back from rebates, and energy savings. If you decide to sell your home, the Energy Fit Homes certification can help your house stand out from the rest, as buyers are trending towards energy efficient home purchases.


Contact Danielle at the NEC to learn how you can participate in the Energy Fit Homes program. Or give her a call at 651.789.5700.   


New Unsecured Energy Fix-Up Loan Available April 30th


Spring is in the air and there's no better time to get started on home improvement projects with low interest, unsecured financing available from the NEC in partnership with the Minnesota Finance Agency.  


With a 4.99% interest rate, the Energy Fix-Up loan is the lowest cost unsecured loan available in the market, and there's no income limit. You can borrow up to $15,000 for energy efficiency updates and almost any energy efficiency improvement is eligible. We offer 24-48 hour approval, low closing costs, and mail away closings. 


The Energy Fix-Up loan finances the following energy efficiency improvements at a special low 4.99% interest rate:  


* Furnaces with an AFUE of 95% +

* Boilers with an AFUE of 90% +

* ENERGY STAR qualified windows

* Attic air sealing and insulation

* Wall insulation

* Water heaters with an Energy Factor of .67+

* Tankless water heaters with an Energy Factor of .82+

* Air conditioners with a SEER of 15+ and an EER of 13+

* ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures, and general remodeling. 


For questions or to get started, contact Leanne, our Loan Manager, at 651-789-5706 or  


Download an application from our website at


EcoMetro Sustainable Living Tour

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

The MN Renewable Energy Society's EcoMetro Sustainable Living Tour on May 31st highlights eight inspirations for sustainable living in the Twin Cities with a diverse range of styles, from modest remodels to luxury living. These projects tackle the challenge of heating and cooling in a Midwest climate with smart design choices, solid building techniques, and renewable energy technologies.

In addition to being energy efficient and green built, these buildings are sustainable, and the trailblazers who live and work in them embody the sustainable lifestyle. The home and business owners and contractors will be on-site to share their insights into sustainable living and to answer technical and financial questions. Talking with these interesting and knowledgeable people is half the fun!


For more information and to purchase your ticket visit the MRES website.

HOURCAR Presence Expanding


HOURCAR's fleet is expanding in 2014! We added two new hubs in April. A red Fiat 500 is now at Mill & Main Apartments, at 501 Main Street SE in Minneapolis. This is just a few blocks from our very popular Marcy-Holmes hub. The Mill & Main addition should bring more flexibility to members living in the area.


We've expanded our presence at the University of Minnesota with a new and long-awaited hub on the Saint Paul campus. We're in Lot 101, which is at the corner of Cleveland Avenue N & Commonwealth Avenue.


HOURCAR's expansion will continue this spring-with our fleet growing to 80 cars!-so watch our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest!


HOURCAR on the U of M Saint Paul campus.
Buyers Beware


The MN Department of Commerce issued an alert to home owners considering adding radiant barriers to their home's attic. Radiant barriers are a metallic like material stapled onto the underside of the roof deck to reflect radiant heat (infrared) coming through the roof back out of the interior. Salespeople throughout Minnesota have reportedly pitched radiant barriers to home owners; however, a  U.S. Department of Energy fact sheet shows that radiant barrier benefits decrease significantly for homes in northern climates verses climates in the southern U.S. which are warmer year-round. "Radiant barriers in attics may be valid for homes in southern states, but they save very little energy in Minnesota homes. They are a dubious energy investment--a bad deal for Minnesota homeowners." said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.


The U.S. Department of Energy and Minnesota Department of Commerce agree that, in Minnesota, implementing air sealing and adding conventional attic insulation would be considerably cheaper and much more effective for saving energy than installing a radiant barrier. The great thing is that these are also the most effective ways of keeping your home warm in the winter. And with comfortable spring temperatures, now is the time to do it.


Go to the Minnesota Department of Commerce website for more information and tips on how to be an educated home energy consumer.

We Are Hiring
Home Energy Squad Crew Leader
The NEC seeks an experienced, detail oriented candidate to install energy conservation materials, interact with customers, and oversee crew members through home visits.

HOURCAR Street Team Member
is looking for high-energy, out-going, personable folks to join our Street Team.

The Street Team promotes HOURCAR and the car-sharing lifestyle through face-to-face interaction and guerrilla marketing strategies (like sidewalk chalking!). Street Team members will attend lots of fun outdoor events, like Open Streets and the opening of the Metro Transit Green Line.

Each Street Team member works just a few hours a week, so it's perfect for students or others looking for some extra income. 

Neighborhood Energy Connection | 1754 University Avenue West | Saint Paul, MN 55104 | 651.221.4462 |

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