Upcoming Event: Passive Solar Deep Winter Greenhouse open house

Grow crops year-round!

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Passive Solar Deep Winter Greenhouse open house - Saturday, Feb. 18th 1pm-4pm


6771 South Silver Hill Dr, Finland, MN 55603

PLEASE RSVP to schwe233@umn.edu so we can contact you with updates or weather related changes!
Contacts for more information: David Abazs 218-220-0194 or Greg Schweser 612-625-9706

The U of M Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships have been working with producers and community groups throughout Minnesota to field test a prototype design of a passive solar greenhouse that enables farmers to produce crops all winter long.
This structure contains a south-facing steeply angled glazing wall specifically designed to capture the maximum amount of solar energy possible. That heat is stored in an underground rock bed in a heavily insulated foundation. At night, that heat dissipates into the ambient air above creating an environment particularly well-suited to grow crops that thrive in low-light and low-heat conditions. This Deep Winter Greenhouse enables small- and mid-scale farmers the opportunity to grow crops for their customers year round.
The Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships have been working with pioneering Deep Winter Greenhouse producers to better understand their systems, strengthen the design elements through research, and conduct outreach to help others learn how to build and produce in these greenhouses. The result is a publicly available prototype design, future research, and production programming.

Support for this project provided by: The UMN Institute on the Enviornment, NMRSDP, Ag Coutnry Farm Credit Services, Agribank, AgStar, United FCS, and Mattson, Macdonald, Young Structural Engineers




24 people attended to learn from these informative speakers at the 2017 Builder's Workshop. Thursday, Feb. 9th, 8-4pm.

The morning session was "Demystifying Geothermal Heat Pump Technology & Economics" with Mark Sakry from Northern Ground Source. In the afternoon Nancy Schultz, Jim Larson and Sean Meyers from CR-BPS who will covered passive building techniques, thermal enclosure, airtight building techniques and energy efficient mechanical systems.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is now available in Cook County.

Solar Installation Survey If you own a solar PV system in Cook County, please fill out the Solar Survey.



Thirty people attended a variety of presentations at the Fall Energy Expo on October 1st at the Cook County Community Center.

Cook County Home Energy Auditor Mike Senty kicked off the day of events with a spirited talk about how to prepare your home or business for winter. Now that the weather is cool, it's the perfect time to have an energy audit on your home or business. For more details, visit: Residential Energy Efficiency Program

George Wilkes, representing the Cook County Citizen's Climate Lobby, briefed attendees about the Carbon Fee and Dividend solution to climate change. To join the cause, follow the link to: Citizen's Climate Lobby

After lunch, the local "solar panel" answered questions about living with solar power in Cook County. On the panel were Cook County Co-Op Manager Jennifer Stoltz, Arthouse B&B owner Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux and CCLEP Project Coodinator Staci Drouillard. For more information about going solar, see CCLEP's comprehensive guide: Going Solar Electric: A Cook County Guide.

Jason Edens (pictured above) from the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance gave a very comprehensive talk about the history and application of solar power and solar thermal heating. He shared a lot of good information about how to secure a solar site assessment and how to find financial help for making the switch to renewable energy sources.

The day was completed with three home energy tours. The all Solar PV and Solar Oven tour, Solar Thermal Heating Home Tour and a Maximum Efficiency Root Cellar tour (pictured below; potatoes in dry storage, ready for winter).  

Thank you to all who attended. Thanks also to those who offered up your homes for a tour and also to our group of knowledgeable presenters, who shared your energy related experiences with us! Finally, a big thank you to the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation for co-sponsoring the event.

In other Energy News ~
The City of Grand Marais is asking for your input on the 30-Year Comprehensive Plan. It's important to ask that a local response to Climate Change is considered and included in our local comprehensive plan and to request that our leaders make energy efficiency and renewable energy a priority when the City and County plan to build new structures, create transportation systems and plan for our future.
Here's a link to the survey. http://www.grandmaraisvisioning.org/
And thanks for taking part!

The Cook CountyLocal EnergyProject (CCLEP) is a nonprofit organization working for energy efficiency and clean, local, renewable energy development in Cook County, Minnesota.

CCLEP Action Plan

  • Engender community conversation about energy issues through public meetings, radio shows, newspaper articles, on-line postings, and a dedicated website. 
  • Build and strengthen a network of interested parties to improve communication about, and increase coordination of, local energy projects.
  • Investigate feasibility of various energy efficiency and renewable energy production options specific to Cook County.
  • Gather, organize, and make available, information about energy issues.
  • Develop and maintain a website to make energy information easy to access and useful to our community.
  • Engage with local units of government to enact policies that enhance local energy efficiency and renewable energy development.
  • Encourage the establishment of a local energy industry by assisting local businesses and non-profits with their energy projects.
  • Develop, maintain and implement a county wide Energy Plan. 

We pursue this goal in order to achieve the following community benefits:
  • Retain energy dollars in our local economy.
  • Create jobs.
  • Improve quality of life through more comfortable, less-costly, energy efficient housing.
  • Buffer our community from unstable energy supply and pricing.
  • Reduce harmful climatic and environmental effects of fossil fuel use.
  • Reduce dependence on foreign oil.
  • Increase local self-reliance.
  • Transfer wealth and power into the hands of local citizens and their local utilities.