The Science Museum of Minnesota's Patrick Hamilton joined this week's Climate Cast to suggest some ways the average Minnesotan can prepare for changes to weather and temperature patterns.
1. Sign up to power your home with renewables through Xcel Energy. Hamilton said it costs a little more, but you also don't have to pay Xcel's fuel charge. He said his October bill was $6 more, but he didn't have to pay $4 fuel charge.
2. Update gutters on your home to handle heavy rains. Extreme rainfall events will be more prominent in Minnesota due to climate change. If a rainstorm exceeds the capacity of your gutters, the water runs down the exterior of your home and can cause damage. You should also monitor your spouts to make sure the water is flowing far away from your foundation and slow enough to be absorbed into the soil. You can also consider adding rain barrels.
3. Don't store valuables on your basement floor. Heavy rainfalls could flood your basement, ruining anything you store there. Take those items off the floor or purchase waterproof storage containers.
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4. Plant more trees. Consider planting a tree in your backyard or "adopting" a public tree and caring for it during drought situations.
5. Upgrade to a boiler and furnace with condensing technology. "These systems are very energy efficient and have the added benefit of being small enough to mount on a basement wall rather than sitting on the floor and thus reducing the likelihood that the heating plant will be ruined and a house made uninhabitable if water gets into a basement," Hamilton wrote.
6. Check your street's storm sewer drains. Keeping them clean of trash and debris helps prevent localized flooding in a storm.
We also asked for ideas from the audience. Here are some suggestions: Install solar panels, insulate your home, use LED lights, try to limit flights for work meetings, eat less meat.
What do you do to limit your energy use? Have you updated your home to better withstand climate change? Leave your comments below.