Integrate green building and EV charging best practices information and assistance into the building permit process.
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Buildings and Lighting
Provide incentives for energy, water and sustainability improvements in existing residential, not-for-profit and commercial buildings/building sites.
Implement an energy rating/disclosure policy for residential and/or commercial buildings.
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.
Construct new buildings to meet or qualify under 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.
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.
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 intensity commercial/industrial land uses through at least one of the following strategies:
Provide incentives for affordable housing, workforce housing, infill projects, or for life-cycle housing at or near job or retail centers, or for achieving an average net residential density of seven units per acre.
Develop efficient land patterns that generate community health and wealth.
Organize or participate in a community planning/placemaking/design process for the city/a mixed-use district, including specific community engagement practices that engage cultural and income diverse community members.
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.
Have a downtown zoning district that emphasizes small and destination business, entrepreneurial spaces, and allows or requires residential and residential-compatible commercial development.
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:
Adopt infrastructure design standards that protect the economic and ecologic functions of the highway corridor through clustering of development, native plantings and incorporating access management standards.
Adopt development policies for large-format developments, zoning for auto-oriented commercial districts at the sub-urban edge and/or in tightly defined and smaller urban development corridors/nodes that have some bike/walk/transit access.
Increase active transportation and alternatives to single-occupancy car travel.
Increase walking, biking and transit use by one or more of the following means:
Implement workplace multi-modal transportation best management practices - including telework/flexwork - in city government, businesses or at a local health care provider.
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.
Require new developments or redevelopments to prepare a travel demand management plan or transit-oriented development standards or LEED for Neighborhood Development certification.
Adopt environmentally preferable purchasing policies and practices to improve health and environmental outcomes.
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.
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.
Maximize tree planting along your main downtown street or throughout the city.
Minimize the volume of and pollutants in rainwater runoff by maximizing green infrastructure.
Create a stormwater utility that uses variable fees to incentivize stormwater infiltration, minimize the volume of and pollutants in runoff, and educate property owners and renters on the importance of managing stormwater runoff.
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.
Plan and budget for a network of parks, green spaces, water features and trails for areas where new development is planned.
Certify at least one golf course in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.
Assess and improve city drinking water and wastewater systems and related facilities.
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).
Implement an environmentally sound management program for decentralized wastewater treatment systems.
Report to landowners suspected noncompliant or failing septic systems as part of an educational, informational and financial assistance and outreach program designed to trigger voluntary landowner action to improve 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.
Address concerns over consumer products and packaging through encouragement/implementation of one or more of:
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.
Replace small internal combustion engine lawn and garden equipment (e.g. lawnmowers, weed whips, etc.) with lower polluting equipment.
Decrease air emissions from vehicle idling, business trucking, and pollutants/noise from stationary engines/back-up generators.
Install, assist with and promote publicly available EV charging stations or public fueling stations for alternative fuel vehicles.
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.
Communicating Progress on Goals: Organize goals/outcome measures from all city plans (social, environmental, economic) and report to community members data that show progress toward meeting these goals.
Planning with a Purpose: Conduct a community visioning and planning initiative that engages a diverse set of community members & stakeholders and uses a sustainability, resilience, or environmental justice framework such as:
Expand a greener, more resilient business sector.
Grow new/emerging green businesses and green jobs through targeted assistance and new workforce development.
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.
Promote sustainable tourism in your city, and green tourism resources to tourism and hospitality businesses in/around the city.
Strengthen value-added businesses utilizing local "waste" material.
Lower the environmental and health risk footprint of a brownfield remediation/redevelopment project beyond regulatory requirements; report brightfield projects.
Promote green businesses that are recognized under a local, regional or national program.
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:
Report installed private sector-owned renewable energy/energy efficient generation capacity with at least one of the following attributes:
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:
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.
Plan and prepare for extreme weather, adapt to changing climatic conditions, and foster stronger community connectedness and social and economic vitality.
Prepare to maintain public health and safety during extreme weather and climate-change-related events, while also taking a preventive approach to reduce risk for community members.
Increase social connectedness through engagement, capacity building, public investment, and opportunities for economically vulnerable residents to improve their economic prosperity and resilience to climate change.
Encourage private sector action and incentivize investment in preventive approaches that reduce risk and minimize impacts of extreme weather and the changing climate for human health and the built environment.
Improve local energy resilience by minimizing fuel poverty, installing distributed renewable energy systems, and developing microgrids that can improve energy system resiliency.