Energy Efficiency


Energy conservation programs help Minnesotans save money and energy, reduce pollution, and create jobs. Efficiency projects make our homes and businesses more comfortable and reduce our bills. System-wide energy savings mean Minnesota utilities don’t need to build expensive new power plants. 

Minnesota’s “Conservation Improvement Program”

The main program Minnesota uses to invest in energy efficiencies is the Conservation Improvement Program (CIP). CIP helps Minnesota households and businesses use electricity and natural gas more efficiently – conserving energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

How CIP works

Under CIP, Minnesota requires its gas and electric utilities to set aside a portion of their revenues for projects that reduce the consumption of electricity and natural gas. With these funds, the utilities offer rebates to their customers who purchase energy-efficient products, such as furnaces, motors, and light fixtures. Conservation Improvement Programs offer incentives for a wide variety of projects in homes, farms, commercial buildings, and manufacturing facilities.

Over the last 20 years CIP has saved Minnesotans $6 billion.

CIP’s Benefits

This investment benefits not only the energy customers who purchased energy-efficient products but also the larger Minnesota community. The Center for Energy and the Environment estimates that over the last 20 years CIP has saved Minnesotans $6 billion.

Customers benefit from CIP by consuming less energy and having lower energy bills. Communities benefit by having utilities avoid the costs of constructing new power plants, transmission lines, natural gas pipelines, and distribution systems. Without conservation, the utilities would need additional infrastructure to meet their customers’ energy needs and would pass the resulting costs on to all customers. Experts believe 9 additional power plants would have been needed to meet energy demand in Minnesota if not for energy efficiency projects supported by CIP.

Minnesota communities also benefit through added jobs and opportunity. The energy efficiency industry provides over 47,000 Minnesota jobs in companies that analyze, manufacture, and install energy efficiency improvements. Energy efficiency solutions create new economic opportunities, spur new companies, help established businesses expand, and drive job growth across the state.

All of Minnesota benefits by reducing the environmental damage caused by burning fossil fuels. In the past 20 years, efficiency programs have prevented about 100 million tons of carbon dioxide (and other emissions) from polluting our air, and kept tons of mercury from our rivers and lakes.

Examples of CIP’s Programs

  • Energy audits, where a trained energy consultant examines your home and offers specific advice on energy improvements
  • Rebates on high-efficiency heating, cooling, and water-heating appliances; CFL and LED lighting; and low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators
  • Air-conditioner cycling programs, which allow the utility to manage its peak energy demand in return for discounted electric bills for participating customers
  • Rebates for high-efficiency boilers, chillers, and rooftop units; high efficiency motors and drives; high-efficiency lighting and lighting control systems
  • Building recommissioning studies
  • Manufacturing process improvements that reduce energy intensity and improve productivity