Minnesota new homes energy research study

Slipstream, a non-profit research company with 30 years of experience conducting energy efficiency research, is recruiting households to participate in a study of the energy characteristics of new homes. The study is funded by the Minnesota Department of Commerce Conservation Applied Research and Development Program. The purpose of this study is to collect information on energy-related features and construction practices for new homes and renovation projects.  Results from the study will help Minnesota utilities to better develop or enhance energy efficiency programs for their customers.

Information for Minnesota households

We are looking for new homes (built after 2016) or homes that have been substantially renovated after 2016. If your home qualifies for our study, we’ll schedule a time for our field technician to visit your home. The site visit will take about four hours and will include:

  • Asking a few questions about your thermostat settings and other aspects of how you operate your home
  • Walking through your home to record information about insulation levels and lighting and appliance characteristics
  • Measuring the square footage of your home
  • Conducting an air-leakage test (the technician temporarily installs a device called a blower door on your home’s exterior doors to pressurize your home to measure its leakage rate
  • Using an infrared camera (if conditions are amenable) to look for areas of missing or ineffective insulation.

At the completion of the testing, the technician will discuss any notable findings with you, and provide you with a $100 Visa gift card as a thank you.

Would you like to participate in the study?

We are currently recruiting study participants. To find out if you qualify for the study, please take this short survey. We’ll contact you to schedule a site visit if you qualify for the study.

Frequently asked questions

Are you trying to sell me something? 
No, this is just a research study to better understand construction practices in Minnesota.

How long will the visit take?
Most of the time, we can complete the visit in four hours, but it could take an hour or so more if your home is large or has complicated geometry.

Does someone need to be home for the site visit?
Yes, we need access to your home so that we can do our testing, and record information about appliances. You are free to go about your business while our technician collects this information.

What kind of gift card will I get?
We’ll provide a $100 Visa card that is good anywhere that credit and debit cards are accepted.

What information will you collect?
We will look at insulation levels, window characteristics, and details of your heating, cooling and water heating equipment. We’ll also do an air leakage test, a ventilation test and scan your home with an infrared camera.  Finally, we’ll look at the types of lighting that you have in your home and ask you a few questions about how you operate your appliances.

Will I get a report?
Our technician will inform you of any noteworthy findings at the completion of the visit. We will not provide a written report on your home.

Will my information be kept confidential?
Yes, any personal information that could be used to identify you will be removed before we share data files with others, or the results of the study are made public.

How did you get my name and address?
County assessor’s offices provided us with property tax data for homes constructed in 2016, 2017 and 2018. City building departments provided us with building permit data. We’re contacting these homeowners to conduct a study funded by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources Conservation Applied Research and Development Program.

How will this information be used?
The study will be used to help Minnesota utilities to better develop or enhance energy efficiency programs for their customers.

How many homes are you visiting?
We are visiting a total of 100 homes across Minnesota.

Who is paying for the study?
The study is funded by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources Conservation Applied Research and Development Program.

Who is Slipstream?
Slipstream was hired by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources through a competitive request-for-proposals process to complete this research study. Slipstream is a non-profit organization headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. Slipstream conducts research, manages energy efficiency programs and provides training and education on energy efficiency in buildings.

How can I be sure the study is legitimate or learn why the study is being conducted or how it will be used?
Please contact Lindsay Anderson at the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources, 651-539-1771 or Lindsay.anderson@state.mn.us

Who do I call if I need to reschedule or have more detailed questions about the study or site visit?
Please contact Melanie Lord at Slipstream, 608-210-7134 or mlord@slipstreaminc.org