While most folks will be paying higher energy bills during the dog days of summer, Roseville resident Matt Anderson will be cashing checks from Xcel Energy.
Anderson had solar panels installed on the garage roof of his 1950s rambler last year, generating his own clean energy as well as a little extra cash. Any extra power he generates Xcel pays back. It’s one of the ways he’s leaning into sustainability.
Anderson was honored with one of Roseville’s newly revamped sustainable steward awards. The solar installation is just part of his efforts.
“I have been doing some work on the house to tighten it up, adding insulation, and making it more energy efficient,” said Anderson, who works as a web developer for the Metropolitan Council.
He’s made changes to his HVAC, water heater, and clothes dryer to reduce energy use. For the past nearly two decades, he’s slowly reduced the amount of turf grass on his half-acre lot and added native landscaping to his yard. Native plants require less watering and entices wildlife including songbirds and pollinators.
“I came across some information on designing landscapes with native plants to benefit local wildlife. I was surprised to find out what a backyard is capable of, even in an urban area. And it seemed like a fun idea,” Anderson said. “Since then, I've been gradually working on filling up the yard with native plants.”
He’s nicknamed the project Chickadee Park and hosts the website chickadeepark.com, which includes a master blueprint for his yard, project updates, native planting tips, and photos of some of the flora and fauna in his own backyard.
Anderson has spotted 60 species of birds in his yard since starting the transition a year ago.
He avoids pesticides and minimizes herbicides to better nurture the visiting wildlife, noting, “a pair of chickadees need 6,000 to 9,000 caterpillars to raise a batch of babies.”
“I enjoy every part of it - the planning and planting. I enjoy seeing the pollinators and the birds that show up,” he said. “I like working on it as much as I enjoy seeing the results.”
Click here to learn more about the City of Roseville's sustainability initiatives.