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The GreenStep 29 best practices

  • Make planning and tracking easier: download this spreadsheet that lists all unique actions – approximately 175 – for all 29 best practices.
  • Cities that implement a minimum number of best practices organized into these five topical areas will be recognized as Step Two and Step Three GreenStep Cities. See What are Step Two and Three Recognition Minimums?
  • Cities should claim credit for best practices already implemented. Adding best practices over time will garner additional recognition.
  • For each best practice, and depending on city category (A, B or C), a city needs to complete one or more actions from a list associated with the best practice. See What category is my city in?

Buildings and Lighting

Buildings and Lighting 1. Efficient Existing Public Buildings: Benchmark energy usage, identify savings opportunities in consultation with state programs, utilities and others to implement cost-effective energy and sustainability improvements.

2. Efficient Existing Private Buildings: Provide incentives for energy, water and sustainability improvements in existing structures.

3. New Green Buildings: Construct new buildings to meet or qualify under a green building framework.

4. Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals: Improve the efficiency and quality of street lighting, traffic signals and outdoor public lighting.

5. Building Redevelopment: Create economic and regulatory incentives for redeveloping and repurposing existing buildings before building new.

Land Use

Land Use 6. Comprehensive Plans: Build public support and legal validity to long-term infrastructural and regulatory strategy.

7. Efficient City Growth: Promote financial and environmental sustainability by enabling and encouraging walkable housing and commercial land use.

8. Mixed Uses: Develop efficient and healthy land patterns that generate community wealth.

9. Efficient Highway- and Auto-Oriented Development: Adopt commercial development and design standards for auto-oriented development corridors and clusters.

10. Design for Natural Resource Conservation: Adopt development ordinances or processes that protect natural systems and valued community assets.

Transportation

Transportation 11. Living Streets: Create a network of green complete streets that improves city quality of life and adds value to surrounding properties.

12. Mobility Options: Promote active transportation and alternatives to single-occupancy car travel.

13. Efficient City Fleets: Implement a city fleet investment, operations and maintenance plan.

14. Demand-Side Travel Planning: Implement Travel Demand Management and Transit-Oriented Design in service of a more walkable city.

Environmental Management

Environmental Management 15. Sustainable Purchasing: Adopt environmentally preferable purchasing policies and practices.

16. Urban Forests: Add city tree and plant cover that increases community health, wealth and quality of life.

17. Stormwater Management: Minimize the volume of and pollutants in stormwater runoff.

18. Parks and Trails: Support active lifestyles and property values by enhancing the city's green infrastructure.

19. Surface Water Quality: Improve local water bodies.

20. Efficient Water and Wastewater Facilities: Assess and improve city drinking water and wastewater facilities.

21. Septic Systems: Implement an effective management program for decentralized wastewater treatment systems.

22. Solid Waste Reduction: Increase waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

23. Local Air Quality: Prevent generation of local air contaminants.

Economic and Community Development

Economic and Community Development 24. Benchmarks & Community Engagement: Adopt outcome measures for GreenStep and other city sustainability efforts, and engage community members in ongoing education, dialogue, and campaigns.

25. Green Business Development: Support expansion of the city's green business sector.

26. Renewable Energy: Remove barriers to and encourage installation of renewable energy generation capacity.

27. Local Food: Strengthen local food and fiber production and access.

28. Business Synergies: Network/cluster businesses to achieve better energy, economic and environmental outcomes.

29. Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience: Plan and prepare for extreme weather, adapt to changing climatic conditions, and foster stronger community connectedness and social and economic vitality.