Nearly every town, city, suburb, and county in Minnesota has a senior care facility. These facilities have a unique dual role in their communities as home for many elders and as a major employer. This role, coupled with Minnesota’s aging population and high standard of eldercare, is why now is the time to set Minnesota’s nursing homes up for future success and sustainability.
Over the next decade, Minnesota’s population of residents 65 years and older is estimated to increase by nearly 400,000 – to a total of 1.3 million people (or 21 percent of the state’s population). To put that into perspective, by 2030 the number of retired to working-age Minnesotans will climb to 37%, up from 26% in 2018. As neighbors and loved ones age, senior care facilities will increasingly be looked upon to offer quality, cost-effective care. Minimizing non-medical expenses will be critical to maintaining the long-term viability of facilities.
That’s why Fresh Energy is working this legislative session towards solutions that can cut down on Minnesota’s nursing homes’ energy costs. As large energy consumers providing care every hour of the day, nursing home communities have a lot to gain by becoming more energy efficient. Maximizing energy efficiency will allow these facilities to reduce their total operating costs, create good-paying local jobs, and reduce carbon emissions – all while improving the health and safety of their residents and workers.
Energy efficiency has a proven track record of success in Minnesota. Costing less than two cents per kWh to produce, energy efficiency is still the most affordable way to meet our energy needs in the Midwest. A recent report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) states that – through energy efficiency – the U.S. can cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, effectively getting us halfway to our national climate goals. However, forty percent of those energy savings will need to come from improving our buildings. That is great news for Minnesotans throughout the state, because energy efficiency is a major job creator. Three-fourths of all clean energy jobs in Minnesota are in energy efficiency.
By supporting energy efficient nursing homes, we can ensure that our seniors and senior care workers are healthy and comfortable in their homes and workplaces and that Minnesota is well prepared to meet the needs of its aging populations for years to come. Fresh Energy is excited to support Representative Todd Lippert’s House File 3236 and Senator Karin Housley’s Senate File 3123, which would create a competitive grant program at the Minnesota Department of Commerce to assist Minnesota’s 350+ nursing homes in identifying, developing and implementing cost-effective energy efficiency solutions.