Make no/low cost indoor lighting and operational changes in city-owned/school buildings to reduce energy costs.
Search best practice actions by a related area
Buildings and Lighting
Benchmark energy and water usage, identify savings opportunities in consultation with state programs, utilities and others to implement cost-effective energy and sustainability improvements.
Invest in larger energy efficiency projects through performance contracting or other funding or through smaller retro-commissioning/retrofit projects in city-owned/school buildings.
Implement IT efforts and city employee engagement to reduce plug loads, building energy use and workflow efficiency.
Improve the operations & maintenance of city-owned/school buildings and leased buildings by using a customized online energy efficiency tool, asset management tool, green building framework or green lease.
Install for one or more city-owned/school buildings one of the following efficiency measures:
Provide incentives for energy, water and sustainability improvements in existing residential, not-for-profit and commercial buildings/building sites.
Create or participate in a marketing/outreach/incentive program to promote/achieve residential energy/water use reduction and energy efficiency.
Conserve/protect drinking/groundwater resources by creating a water-wise landscaping ordinance/guidance, WaterSense purchasing program, or guidance on rainwater harvesting and home water softener use.
Provide a financial or other incentive to private parties who add energy/sustainability improvements, meet the SB 2030 energy standard, or renovate using a green building or energy framework.
Customize a model sustainable building renovation policy that includes the SB 2030 energy standard and adopt the language to govern private renovation projects that:
Construct new buildings to meet or qualify under a green building framework.
Require by city policy that new city-owned buildings be built using the SB 2030 energy standard and/or a green building framework.
Work with the local school district to ensure that future new schools are built using the SB 2030 energy standard and/or a green building framework.
Adopt a sustainable building policy for private buildings; include the SB 2030 energy standard; adopt language governing new development projects that:
Provide a financial or other incentive to private parties who build new buildings that utilize the SB 2030 energy standard and/or a green building framework.
Improve the efficiency and quality of street lighting, traffic signals and outdoor public lighting.
Require energy efficient, Dark-Sky compliant new or replacement outdoor lighting fixtures on city-owned/private buildings and facilities.
Purchase LEDs for all future street lighting and traffic signals.
Replace the city's existing street lighting with Dark Sky-compliant LEDs, modifying any city franchise/utility agreement and adding smart grid attributes.
Coordinate traffic signals and/or optimize signal timing to minimize car idling at intersections yet maintain safe and publicly acceptable vehicle speeds.
Use LED/solar-powered lighting for a flashing sign or in a street, parking lot or park project.
Relamp/improve exterior building lighting for city-owned buildings/facilities with energy efficient, Dark-Sky compliant lighting.
Replace city-owned parking lot/ramp lighting with Dark-Sky compliant, energy efficient, automatic dimming lighting technologies.
Replace the city's existing traffic signal indications with LEDs.
Create economic and regulatory incentives for redevelopment and repurposing of existing buildings.
Adopt an historic preservation ordinance/regulations and encourage adaptive reuse.
Implement the Minnesota Main Street model for commercial revitalization.
Plan for reuse of large-format retail buildings, or work with a local school, church or commercial building to either add-on space or repurpose space into new uses.
Create/modify a green residential remodeling assistance/financing program to assist homeowners in adding space or features such as EV charging, renewables to their existing homes.
Adopt development/design standards and programs that facilitate infill, redevelopment, and adaptable buildings.
Increase financial and environmental sustainability by enabling and encouraging walkable housing and retail land use.
Achieve higher density housing through at least two of the following strategies:
Achieve higher intensity commercial/industrial land uses through at least one of the following strategies:
Develop efficient land patterns that generate community health and wealth.
Modify a planned unit development (PUD) ordinance to emphasize or require mixed-use development or affordable housing, to limit residential PUDs to areas adjacent to commercial development, and/or to add sustainability features.
Incorporate form-based zoning approaches into the zoning code, in those areas where a diverse mix of uses is desired.
Create incentives for vertical mixed-use development in appropriate locations (downtown, commercial districts near colleges or universities, historic commercial districts, commercial districts with minority-owned businesses).
Adopt commercial development and design standards for auto-oriented development corridors and clusters.
Establish design goals for at least one highway/auto-oriented corridor/cluster.
Participate in regional economic development planning with representatives from surrounding townships, cities, the county and business interests to:
Create a network of green complete streets that improves city quality of life, public health, and adds value to surrounding properties.
Adopt a complete streets policy, or a living streets policy, which addresses landscaping and stormwater.
Adopt zoning language or approve a skinny street/development project that follows green street and/or walkable streets principles.
Identify, prioritize and remedy complete streets gaps and lack of connectivity/safety within your road network by, for example, bike/pedestrian plan, adding a bike route/lane, truck route, sidewalk or mid-block alley.
Implement traffic calming policy/measures, including lane conversions (road diets), roundabouts, low-speed streets, shared space and depaving, in at least one street redevelopment project.
Increase active transportation and alternatives to single-occupancy car travel.
Increase walking, biking and transit use by one or more of the following means:
Promote carpooling, ridesharing, carsharing, and bikesharing.
Implement workplace multi-modal transportation best management practices - including telework/flexwork - in city government, businesses or at a local health care provider.
Add/expand public transit service.
Implement a city fleet investment, operations and maintenance plan.
Efficiently use your existing fleet of city vehicles by encouraging trip bundling, video conferencing, carpooling, vehicle sharing and incentives/technology.
Right-size/down-size the city fleet with the most fuel-efficient vehicles that are of an optimal size and capacity for their intended functions.
Phase-in operational changes, equipment changes including electric vehicles, and no-idling practices for city or local transit fleets.
Document that the local school bus fleet has optimized routes, start times, boundaries, vehicle efficiency and fuels, driver actions to cut costs including idling reduction, and shifting students from the bus to walking, biking and city transit.
Retrofit city diesel engines or install auxiliary power units and/or electrified parking spaces, utilizing Project GreenFleet or the like.
Implement Travel Demand Management and Transit-Oriented Design in service of a more walkable city.
For cities with regular transit service, require or provide incentives for the siting of retail services at transit/density nodes.
For cities with regular transit service, require or provide incentives for the siting of higher density housing at transit/density nodes.
Adopt environmentally preferable purchasing policies and practices to improve health and environmental outcomes.
Adopt a sustainable purchasing policy or administrative guidelines/practices directing that the city purchase at least:
Establish purchasing preferences that support local, Minority, Disability, and Women-Owned businesses and, working with a local business association, develop a list of locally-produced products and suppliers for common purchases.
Require purchase of U.S. EPA WaterSense-certified products.
Set minimum sustainability standards to reduce the impact of your concrete use, asphalt, roadbed aggregate, or other construction materials.
Require printing services to be purchased from companies participating in Printing Industry Midwest’s Great Green Printer initiative, or certified by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership.
Add city tree and plant cover that conserves topsoils and increases community health, wealth, quality of life.
Adopt best practices for urban tree planting/quality; require them in private developments and/or use them in at least one development project.
Adopt a tree preservation or native landscaping ordinance.
Build community capacity to protect existing trees by one or more of:
Minimize the volume of and pollutants in rainwater runoff by maximizing green infrastructure.
Adopt and use Minnesota's Minimal Impact Design Standards (MIDS).
Adopt and implement guidelines or design standards/incentives for at least one of the following stormwater infiltration/reuse practices:
Improve smart-salting by reducing chloride use in winter maintenance and dust suppressants to prevent permanent surfacewater and groundwater pollution.
Increase active lifestyles and property values by enhancing the city's green infrastructure.
Adopt low-impact design standards in parks and trails that infiltrate or retain all 2 inch, 24-hour stormwater events on site.
Create park/city land management standards/practices that maximize at least one of the following:
Develop a program to involve community members in hands-on land restoration, invasive species management and stewardship projects.
Assess and improve city drinking water and wastewater systems and related facilities.
Plan and budget for motor maintenance and upgrades to assure the most energy efficient, durable and appropriate equipment is available when upgrades or breakdowns occur.
Establish an on-going budget and program for decreasing inflow and infiltration into sewer lines and losses in drinking water systems.
Optimize energy and chemical use at drinking water/wastewater facilities and decrease chloride in wastewater discharges.
Implement a wastewater plant efficiency project (co-generation, water reuse) or a program for local private business operations (water conservation, water reuse, business co-location).
Create a demand-side pricing program to reduce demands on water and wastewater systems.
Implement an environmentally sound management program for decentralized wastewater treatment systems.
Clarify/establish one or more responsible management entities (RMEs) for the proper design, siting, installation, operation, monitoring and maintenance of septic systems.
Create a program to finance septic system upgrades.
Work with homeowners and businesses in environmentally sensitive areas and areas where standard septic systems are not the least-cost option to promote innovative waste water systems, including central sewer extensions.
Arrange for assistance to commercial, retail and industrial businesses with water use reduction, pollution prevention and pretreatment prior to discharge to septics.
Increase waste prevention, reuse and recycling, moving to a lower-consumption, more cyclical, biological approach to materials management.
Improve city operations and procurement to prevent and reuse, recycle and compost waste from all public facilities (including libraries, parks, schools, municipal health care facilities), and minimize use of toxics and generation of hazardous waste.
Address concerns over consumer products and packaging through encouragement/implementation of one or more of:
Improve profitability, legal compliance and conserve resources through adoption of ordinance language, licensing and resource management contracts.
Publicize, promote and use the varied businesses/services collecting and marketing used, repaired and rental consumer goods, especially electronics, in the city/county.
Arrange for a residential and/or business/institutional source-separated organics collection/management program.
Improve recycling services and expand to multi-unit housing and commercial businesses.
Adopt a construction and demolition (C&D) ordinance governing demolition permits that requires a level of recycling and reuse for building materials and soil/land-clearing debris.
Prevent generation of local air contaminants so as to improve community health.
Decrease air emissions from vehicle idling, business trucking, and pollutants/noise from stationary engines/back-up generators.
Resilient Economic and Community Development
Adopt outcome measures for GreenStep and other city sustainability efforts, and engage community members in ongoing education, dialogue, and campaigns.
Inclusive and Coordinated Decision-Making: Use a city commission or committee to lead, coordinate, report to and engage community members on the identification and equitable implementation of sustainability best practices.
Expand a greener, more resilient business sector.
Create or participate in a marketing/outreach program to connect businesses with assistance providers, including utilities, who provide personalized energy, waste or sustainability audits and assistance.
Strengthen value-added businesses utilizing local "waste" material.
Conduct or participate in a buy local campaign for community members and local businesses.
Remove barriers to and encourage installation of renewable energy generation capacity.
Adopt wind energy and/or biomass ordinances that allow, enable, or encourage appropriate renewable energy installations.
Promote resident/business purchases and/or generation of clean energy by:
Promote financing and incentive programs, such as PACE, for clean energy:
Become a solar-ready community, including adopting ordinance/zoning language and an expedited permit process for residents and businesses to install solar energy systems.
Strengthen local food production and access.
Protect working landscapes - agriculture and forestry - by adopting an ordinance or incentivizing one or more of the following:
Facilitate creation of home/community gardens, chicken & bee keeping, and incorporation of food growing areas/access in multifamily and residential developments.
Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:
Measurably increase institutional buying and sales of foods and fibers that are local, Minnesota-grown, organic, healthy, humanely raised, and grown by fairly compensated growers.
Network/cluster businesses and design neighborhoods and developments to achieve better energy, social, economic and environmental outcomes in service of a more circular and equitable economy.
Document that at least one business/building uses waste heat or water discharge from another business or conducts materials exchange activities with another organization.
Require, build or facilitate at least four sustainability attributes in a business/industrial park project:
Use 21st century ecodistrict tools to structure, guide and link multiple green and sustainable projects together in a mixed-use neighborhood/development, or innovation district, aiming to deliver superior social, environmental and economic outcomes.