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M State - Wadena builds weatherization skills with contractors

Mike Wilson of Dakota Supply Group's Technical Training/Service demonstrates potential air leaks on a model house built specially for that purpose.

The Wadena campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College recently hosted local contractors at a training session that focused on reducing energy consumption in older homes and a grant program that is funding such renovations.

Federal stimulus dollars are available through Project ReEnergize, which is providing local communities with weatherization funds for older homes. Funds can be used for air sealing in attics, attic insulation, exterior wall insulation and correcting safety issues with vented gas water heaters.

Homeowners can qualify for up to $4,000 for energy efficiency upgrades with attic air sealing and up to $2,500 for upgrades without attic air sealing.

Alan "Lindy" Linda, an HVAC instructor at M State -- Wadena, assisted in the training, which focused on the technical aspects of weatherizing older homes, including air-tight attic sealing of light fixtures, ductwork, exhaust ducting and vent sealing.

"We've been paying way too much attention to new housing," Linda said. "For every new nice tight house, there are thousands that need attention."

With the slowdown in new construction, he added, there has been an opportunity to focus on upgrading older homes.

For more information about Project ReEnergize, visit the program's Web site at

As a member of the Minnesota State College and Universities System, M State serves more than 6,500 students in credit courses each term through more than 120 career and liberal arts programs at its four campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena, and online. By partnering with communities, the college also provides custom training services and other responsive training programs.