Gas is over three dollars a gallon. Prices on everything are going up. Even prices on fresh meat are soaring, as the demand for feed corn competes with the demand for corn for ethanol. Minnesota isn’t exactly a cheap place to live, when it comes to energy bills. High energy bills for the cold winters and humid summers are part of the Minnesota lifestyle. Our homes waste and burn up incredible amounts of energy. Anyone who writes a check to Centerpoint knows this well.
How can homeowners reduce their demand on the environment and find relief for their pocketbooks? That’s where a program called Minnesota Greenstar moves to center-stage. Minnesota Greenstar is a coalition of builders, contractors, remodelers, and committed environmmental experts who came together to establish a voluntary home checklist and certification program. The program’s checklist shows where to start on tackling the environmental and energy consumption issues and makes going “green” a whole lot easier. The MPCA gave Minnesota Greenstar a grant to kick-start the program.
Indoor air quality standards, energy conservation, reduction of waste, and use of recycled materials are hallmarks of the program. Besides saving energy costs, many consumers are interested in the program because they are interested in creating a healthier indoor environment. If you were looking at a Minnesota Greenstar Home, you might see things like radom remediation systems, use of recycled lumber, bamboo flooring, countertops made of recycled paper(!) and maybe even a rain barrel collecting run-off water from the roof.
None of these items add significantly to cost. Some of the measures actually reduce cost; for example, fewer studs are used around windows so the can be better insulated. In fact, the use of lumber is greatly reduced without compromising structural integrity.
Here is a partial list of benefits provided by adhering to Greenstar standards:
- Promote healthier indoor environment
- Reduce water use and waste
- Use energy and resources more efficiently
- Increase durability and the value of the home
- Conserve and protect natural resources
- Add value through certification
For more information, check out the Minnesota Greenstar Website