During fall 2007, Minnesota's Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) held regional listening sessions around the state to discuss community-based energy opportunities and the state's Next Generation Energy Act of 2007. The idea was raised of creating a sustainable cities program, free to cities, that would challenge, assist and recognize cities that were "green stars." This idea was taken up by the 2008 Legislature, which directed the MPCA, the Division of Energy Resources at the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and CERTs to recommend actions cities could take on a voluntary basis.
Those recommendations are contained in the report Minnesota GreenStep Cities. Representatives from dozens of cities, non-profit organizations, businesses and state government agencies provided the outline for what has been developed as the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program, which began in June 2010.
In May 2012 the GreenStep Cities program received awards in the categories of Sustainable Communities and 2012 Partnership of the Year from the Minnesota organization Environmental Initiative. The awards honor partnerships, inspire other organizations to create similar projects, and encourage collaborative approaches to environmental problem solving. Over 340 attendees at the awards dinner voted among the 15 finalists nominated for the 2012 Partnership of the Year.
In 2016 the Humphrey Institute School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota presented GreenStep with a State Government Innovation Award: one of ten awards to recognize state government entities engaged in innovation and service redesign.
Of the organizations that created the 2009 report to the Legislature, this working group below meets monthly as the GreenStep Cities steering committee, contributing time and funding to implement the GreenStep Cities program.
|Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Philipp Muessig, GreenStep Cities Coordinator
|Great Plains Institute
Lola Schoenrich, Vice-President, Energy Efficiency
|Clean Energy Resource Teams
Lissa Pawlisch, Statewide Coordinator
|Urban Land Institute Minnesota
Peter Lindstrom, Mayor, Falcon Heights
|League of Minnesota Cities
Don Reeder, Public Relations Manager
|Izaak Walton League - Minnesota Division
Jill Crafton (Mark Owens)
|Minnesota Dept. of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources
||Preservation Alliance of Minnesota
Emily Northey, Vibrant Communities and Education Director
In addition to staff time and funding contributed by the MPCA and the Division of Energy Resources to work on the GreenStep program, several funders support the staff time of personnel from the six non-profit GreenStep partner organizations. Others wishing to support the program may contact Lola Schoenrich of the Great Plains Institute. The GreenStep program greatly appreciates the support of the following major funders:
|McKnight Foundation||The Metropolitan Council|
|Xcel Energy: workshop series sponsor|