CEF has helped 17 households in two projects get better deals on insulating their homes. In 2013, we are partnering with neighborhoods across the Twin Cities to work together to insulate their homes.  By doing this we will:

  • Lower the cost and improve the quality of insulation and air sealing on our homes by contracting as a group.
  • Save everyone time and effort by evaluating contractors together.
  • Save money and insulate ourselves from rising energy prices.
  • Take leadership on solutions to climate change and pollution.
  • Build community through concrete action.

Join In:

Are you interested in working with your neighbors to insulate your homes? Do you just want more information about the process? Please fill out the sign-up form at the bottom of the page or contact our community energy organizer, at or call (612) 568-2334 to join in a group insulation project. See below for more details.

This program is for you if you are:

  • A homeowner who has participated in existing audit or energy service programs but hasn’t yet taken the steps to insulate or air-seal your home.
  • A landlord looking to improve the quality and value of your property and cut the heating costs you (or your tenants) pay each season.
  • A renter who can convince their landlord to make this investment (we also refer eligible low-income renters and owners to Community Action, a free weatherization program).

To download a flyer to promote this opportunity to your friends and neighbors, click here!

Savings possible based on your current energy bills:

Current Monthly Winter Gas Bill Current Conditions in the home / Work Needed Est. Cost Est. Annual Savings **
~$400 Very drafty 3,000 sq ft 2.5 story house – needs attic + wall insulation + extensive air sealing. ~$8,000 ~$900
~$250 Somewhat drafty 1,800 sq ft 1.5 story house – needs some wall insulation + air sealing. ~$3,500 ~$450
~$100 Pretty air-tight 2,400 sq ft 2 story house – needs some air sealing and insulating a heated porch. ~$1,700 ~$150
$20-$50 No contractor needed. We can help with DIY. NA NA

* Energy savings varies based on your current costs, home conditions, and your heat use. These figures are examples only.

** This estimate counts heating only at current energy prices. If you use AC and/or energy prices rise, savings increase.

CEF will provide guidance through the decision making process, such as what parts of improvements you could do effectively on your own, what rebates and financing options are available, and other programs that can help you save energy and money.


  1. Sign up below as interested in neighborhood insulation or contact CEF Email: Phone: (612) 568-2334
  2. Optional but encouraged: Help promote this opportunity. Tell your friends! Door-knock your block or neighborhood to invite others to join in! We can help you make this happen.
  3. After you sign up, contact our current contracting partner SustainMax to schedule an In-depth energy assessment which will create a work spec for your home and provide a bid for the work. Call (612) 822-8529 or email and mention that you are part of the Cooperative Energy Futures bulk buying program and ask to schedule a home assessment. The assessment will likely be scheduled 1-3 weeks out.
  4. Optional: attend a CEF neighborhood meeting with other neighbors and help define the process for the project (if desired, this can include choosing a contractor). CEF provides information on discounts and benefits of each.
  5. Identify financing options (if needed). CEF can help you navigate options available.
  6. Become a CEF member ($25 or 10 hours volunteering) and sign with the contractor.
  7. Have your home insulated and air sealed by the selected contractor as detailed in the bid at the negotiated discount. Have them fill out the utility insulation rebate form.
  8. Send in your rebate forms to your utility – most areas in the Twin Cities can get a $300 rebate or more.
  9. Party with your neighbors to celebrate your successes and invite others to join in.
  10. Hold on to more of your energy dollars while shaping the next steps of CEF as a cooperative member.
How we make this work:

By insulating many homes within a neighborhood at the same time, we are able to help residents find qualified contractors, walk through all steps of the process, and ensure project quality at a lower cost. This approach makes this possible because:

  • Insulation and air-sealing contractors do not have to do as much work on promotion and advertising.
  • Proximity (distance between houses, sequencing adjacent projects, and by using local contractors) reduces travel times and hassle for contractors.
  • CEF’s expertise of the contracting field helps narrow the field of contractors to those who are qualified and trustworthy and provides guidance to residents in contracting processes that ensure quality. CEF can afford to provide this when done for many households together instead of one by one.
  • Buying power of many customers and long-term business that  CEF can provide by continuously hosting projects create an incentive for quality by contractors.
Through this approach, we can lower the operating costs of contractors, take a percentage for the recruitment, coordination, and quality-control process, and pass the rest of the savings on to our members.

In 2008, seven homeowners in Merriam Park received a 5% discount on insulation work through working with CEF. With a larger group of homes to insulate, we could negotiate higher discounts.

In Spring 2012, we wrapped up a group insulation project with 10 houses in South Minneapolis with a 3% discount (plus credit of assessment costs) to homeowners and a 3% commission to CEF for coordinating costs.

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