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Free water conservation kits available locally

WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota Energy Resources has launched a new campaign offering free water conservation kits to its natural gas customers in Worthington. The kits, which contain a low-flow showerhead, kitchen faucet aerator and bathroom faucet aerator, not only conserve water, they also help to reduce the amount of natural gas customers use to heat their water.

Jeff Larson, senior external affairs manager for Minnesota Energy Resources, said the program was last offered through an insert in energy bills a year ago in Worthington. The free distribution is made possible through Minnesota Energy Resources' conservation improvement program, which is mandated by the state.

"Every time we send it out, we get a good response," he said. "It's a nice kit."

Larson, who installed the devices in his own home a couple of years ago, said people will not likely notice they're using less water, and it's a good way to save money.

Installation is easy for both the low-flow showerhead and the faucet aerators, he added.

"It's just a matter of unscrewing the shower head that's there and screwing in the new one -- the same with the aerator," Larson said. "There are instructions that come with the kit, and they are online as well."

The free kits are offered only to Minnesota Energy Resources customers who have a gas water heater. New construction does not qualify for the units. Customers may complete an online form at and clicking on free water conservation kit, or by calling toll-free 1-877-831-6050 (have your account number ready) to receive a free kit. There are two options for the kit. Kit A includes two low-flow shower heads, two bathroom faucet aerators and one kitchen faucet aerator; while Kit B includes one of each item.

"It is really good for society as a whole if we can save energy and lower the impact of burning fossil fuels," Larson said. "It also helps with keeping the volume of gas down, which helps keep infrastructure costs down, which results in lower prices."

"It's just a good, free way for (people) to save money for themselves," he added.

CERTs offers bulk-buy for businesses

The Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) have partnered with Niagara Conservation to offer a bulk-buy program for Minnesota restaurants, hospitals, schools, office buildings and cities to also save energy and conserve water.

This program offers pre-rinse spray valves and faucet aerators, along with education and technical assistance, for those interested in helping conserve water. Use of the valves and aerators will be rewarded with discounts and utility rebates.

The latest models of pre-rinse spray valves are designed to decrease the amount of water needed to achieve the expected level of water pressure, saving owners of restaurants, commercial and municipal buildings, hospitals, schools and churches hundreds of dollars per year on water and energy bills, according to a press release issued by CERTs.

The pre-rinse spray valves, which typically sell for $68, are $28 through the bulk-buy program. The cost is even less with the rebate offered through Minnesota Energy Resources. Typical energy and water savings for major water users are $400 per year. Faucet aerators through the bulk-buy program are 50 cents each, but the average Minnesotan can save 21,000 gallons of water and approximately $180 per year.

For more information on the bulk-buy program, visit

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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