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GreenStep City Best Practices Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings
no. 1

Benchmark energy and water usage, identify savings opportunities in consultation with state programs, utilities and others to implement cost-effective energy and sustainability improvements.
  Best Practice Action 6      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ]       [all actions]

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.

  • Minnesota's B3 program allows cities to customize an on-line Energy Efficient Operations Manual for city buildings, use of which allows potential energy savings of 20%.
  • See a list of green building frameworks, which includes the LEED O+M rating system.
  • See action 1.3 for tracking and reporting energy use reduction in the B3 database.
  • Negotiatead green leases offer a way for the city and the owner of a building to be leased by the city to improve the sustainability of the building. MN State Agency building leases include several provisions designed to reduce the environmental impacts of government operations and the sample language for green lease elements, useful for cities to consider, includes electric vehicle charging stations, indoor bike storage/showers, management practices that protect health (e.g., cleaning products/practices) and conserve natural resources, utility data reports, energy and water conservation, sustainable building guidelines, recycling, construction & demolition recycling, drinking water stations, green infrastructure (for storm water & ecology management), winter salting.
Customize the B3 Energy-Efficient Operations Manual (an online tool) for one city-owned/school building to implement routine updates and verification of lighting schedules, air handler unit schedules, and air handler mixed air temperatures. Report use of the Manual for park buildings under best practice action 18.7
Complete 1 Star criteria for two buildings and report energy savings by calculating changes in run times or tracking improvements compared to a baseline in the B3 Benchmarking Database; report the use of an asset management tool and what level of life-cycle assessment is included (e.g., GHG, toxics, etc.); report green lease elements.
Complete 2 Star criteria for all city-owned/school buildings able to use the Manual; OR complete the performance period and certify at least one building at gold-equivalent or better under a green building framework (such as the LEED O+M rating system) for existing buildings operations.


Date action report first entered:   02/29/2012
Date of last report update:   02/26/2016

Implementation details:
Austin Public Schools employs a couple strategies to implement sustainable operations and maintenance. One of them it to use Green Seal certified cleaning supplies whenever feasible. One recent analysis identified that 37% of all cleaning chemicals used at our Kindergarten Center are Green Seal Certified. The second strategy is a focus on intelligent building upgrades to minimize our energy use. We have an average Energy Star score across our 8 district owned buildings of 93. We have done HVAC upgrades at all of these sites that include thermal energy storage at 2 sites and building automation upgrades at each site with kwh meters. We run monthly reports with these kwh meters to identify operations and maintenance needs and behavior changes needed to reduce our energy use.

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For more information contact:
Janet Anderson (Community volunteer)   |   janetanderson2840@gmail.com   |   5072190680

Austin Public Schools

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Date action report first entered:   04/27/2017
Date of last report update:   04/27/2017
Year action initially completed:   2016
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The City of Hutchinson has on going work to upload all city owned buildings to the SB 2030 Energy Efficient Operations Manual with assistance from a Minnesota GreenCorps Member at the Great Plains Institute. The GreenCorps Member worked with the Facility Manager to evaluate the buildings' current schedule, and have found some times the building was running unnecessarily, and adjusted the schedule to better fit the occupant needs of the building. The final results of this work are not yet known as the work will continue into this summer.

For more information contact:
John Paulson (City staff)   |   jpaulson@ci.hutchinson.mn.us   |   320-234-5682

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Saint Paul

Date action report first entered:   09/24/2014
Date of last report update:   09/24/2014

Implementation details:
All buildings under the Saint Paul Sustainable Building Policy is monitored by City staff. Building owners are required under the policy to monitor actual energy use for 10 years.

Descriptive links: www.stpaul.gov/sustainablebuildingpolicy

For more information contact:
Kurt Schultz (City staff)   |   Kurt.Schultz@ci.stpaul.mn.us   |   651-266-6530

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Golden Valley

Date action report first entered:   09/22/2017
Date of last report update:   11/16/2018
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
During November and December of 2016, the City of Golden Valley worked with a Minnesota GreenCorps Member at the Great Plains Institute to implement the B3 2030 Energy Efficient Operations Manual (EEOM) for City Hall. The EEOM is a web tool developed by the Center for Sustainable Building Research out of the University of Minnesota. It allows local governments who use the B3 Benchmarking system to assess their buildings’ energy use schedules, determine where energy is being wasted, and reconfigure schedules to save energy. It also allows staff to schedule the performance of inexpensive diagnostic tasks that will ensure any significant energy-wasting malfunction will be detected soon after it occurs. The GreenCorps Member worked with the Parks Maintenance Supervisor and the Water Resources Technician to evaluate City Hall’s current schedule. After finding times that the building was running unnecessarily, the schedule was adjusted to better fit the occupant needs of the building.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The pilot project occurred in winter 2016-2017. If this effort is extended over the entire year, the work will result in an approximate energy savings of 27,000 kWh (equal to approximately $6,000 in savings).

Descriptive links: https://www.b3mn.org/operations/

For more information contact:
Al Lundstrom (City staff)   |   alundstrom@goldenvalleymn.gov   |   (763)-593-8046

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La Prairie

Date action report first entered:   01/08/2016
Date of last report update:   01/08/2016

Implementation details:
Installed new outside lighting at the city maintenance building, the city hallparking lot and warming house with energy efficient LED lighting. 1/8/2016

For more information contact:
Jonathan Bolen (Elected official)   |   jbolen@laprairiemn.com   |   218-326-8898

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Mounds View

Date action report first entered:   04/28/2017
Date of last report update:   04/28/2017
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The City of Mounds View is implementing the Energy Efficiency Operations Manual for City Hall. Currently the HVAC system is in operation 24/7. By adjusting this the city will likely see a reduction of up to 90 hours for a significant portion of the building.

For more information contact:
Nick Henly (City staff)   |   Nick.Henly@moundsviewmn.org   |   763-717-4020

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Red Wing

Date action report first entered:   01/30/2013

Implementation details:
The City of Red Wing is continually looking at ways to do a better job for our citizens and at ways to do that job better for the environment. One of the earliest examples of this was the Solid Waste Incinerator. Back in the early 1980s the City Council was faced with the need to find a way to handle the refuse waste that was being collected and placed in a City-owned landfill. Our landfill was close to the end of its capacity, and a decision had to be made on whether to site a new landfill, haul our waste to a different landfill site, or find an alternate way to handle this material. After many public meetings and many discussions with consultants, the City Council decided that building a waste-to-energy incinerator was the best option for the long range needs of our community. Incinerators were a very new concept in the United States but had already proven to be a good alternative to landfills throughout Europe. The foresight by that City Council would not only eliminate the need to landfill our refuse material, it also put the City of Red Wing in the forefront of emerging technology that would help the environment for future generations. Back in 1985 the price of gasoline dropped to unexpected low levels, and the City saw substantial savings (approximately $30,000.00) in the cost to operate our fleet vehicles. The City staff saw this savings as a potential way to fund an energy savings program for our public buildings. A presentation was made to the City Council, and authorization was given to the staff to do an energy audit for several of the city’s buildings. The results of this audit showed that by investing in energy efficient upgrades to our facilities, we could save enough money on electricity and natural gas to not only attain a short payback on investment, but to save money for several years beyond the payback period. When these results were presented to the City Council, it was approved to implement the “Red Wing Community Energy Program” and begin the investment in energy savings. Over the following twenty years the City has completed many more projects to help our environment: upgrades to the Waste Water Treatment Facility, combined sewer separation, energy efficient lighting upgrades to the City’s parking ramps, construction of two new water treatment facilities, storm water programs to control run off, converting of our street lights to a more energy efficient and less visually polluting light system, implementing a household program for collecting recyclable items that were previously sent to landfills or burned in the waste incinerator. The City has been recycling all of our fluorescent lights for years. We have implemented a program to purchase pickup trucks with diesel engines that get 3 to 6 more miles to the gallon than the comparable gasoline engines. In the spring of 2005 the City converted our cleaning supplies to a “green” system from 3M. In November of 2006 we put new recycling containers in most City buildings to encourage everyone not to just throw everything in the trash. This winter we are looking at converting all of our paper towels, toilet paper and other paper supplies to “green” products as well. All of these programs and more have been put in place by a work staff and a City Council that believe in looking for ways to help our environment. Yes, some of these items came because of State or Federal mandates, but all of these items were undertaken because Red Wing is a community that cares about the environment. This message has been repeated many times by our citizens. Time after time at public meetings, we have heard that the environment is important. We have heard that we need to do the right thing and consider what our actions might do to the environment. The City Staff believes that we need to continually look for options to lessen our negative impact on the environment. The City Council has continually made decisions based on what would be the best thing to help the environment. This commitment to the environment will be ongoing in 2007. The Public Works Department plans to buy its first hybrid vehicle. We are strongly looking at a Ford Escape but have not made that final decision. This small SUV would be able to ride four people comfortably to meetings. It can haul equipment and supplies if needed. But the real plus is that for in town driving, which is where this vehicle drives almost exclusively, we should get 33 to 34 miles to the gallon. This compares to the normal 12-16 miles to the gallon that we get with our pickup fleet. We understand that there are cheaper vehicles to buy that would do the same job, but we really believe we need to lead the effort to get everyone in Red Wing thinking about doing the things that are best for the environment. If we can set the example, and most of our citizens agree that the environment matters, then we can show that Red Wing is a community that is truly looking to the future and what our actions today can do to affect that future. In 2007 the City will be continuing with a plan for the development of the riverfront. The environmental impact of this development is a leading factor in the final decisions that will be made by our City Council. Some citizens may not believe this, but when you look at the last twenty years and the decisions that have been made by our elected officials, it should be obvious to everyone that this group does understand that our environment is very important to all citizens of Red Wing. I have been an employee of the City of Red Wing for 25 years, and I can tell you that the message from our leadership has always been clear on the issue of preserving our environment. Being a river town we have the need to make sure we are not polluting the Mississippi. Being Pretty Red Wing, we have the opportunity to show everyone that we care about the environment and that we make the right decisions in all of our operations for the benefit of generations to come. We did not have to build a solid waste incinerator. We did not have to make all of our buildings as energy efficient as possible. We did not have to convert our street lights to a system that is less visually polluting. We do not have to buy a hybrid vehicle. Unless you understand what “Pretty Red Wing” means to each of us, then you know why we had to do these things. Pretty Red Wing is not just the title to an old song. It is a motto for a community that cares about our environment. It is the reason most of us choose to call this community home. It is the reason that I can take a little pride when someone finds out that I am from Red Wing, and they comment on how beautiful our town is. “Pretty Red Wing” is a statement to the continued commitment to the environment by a small river town that knows we have the opportunity to make a difference.

For more information contact:
Paul Drotos (City staff)   |   paul.drotos@ci.red-wing.mn.us   |   651-410-6744

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Saint Anthony

Date action report first entered:   05/05/2011

Implementation details:
The implementation of the Facilty Assessment Report is funded through an internal loan program based on energy reductions and associated savings.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Accelerated implementation of the Facilty Assessment Program.

For more information contact:
Jay Hartman (City staff)   |   jay.hartman@ci.saint-anthony.mn.us   |   612-782-3314

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Date action report first entered:   05/29/2018
Date of last report update:   05/29/2018
Year action initially completed:   2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
A lighting audit was performed by Xcel energy and CCE on all city facilities. Once the audit was completed the city council authorized LED lighting in all city facilities including, the Wyoming library, Wyoming city hall, Wyoming fire department, Wyoming public works and Wyoming police department. All internal and outdoor lighting was replaced at all facilities.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Total installed costs of all lighting were $ 28,570.12. The city received a $6, 755.00 utility rebate from Xcel energy resulting in a final cost of $21,815.12. With the LED light conversion the city will save an annually amount of $4,982.03.

For more information contact:
Frances Duncanson (City staff)   |   fduncanson@wyomingmn.org   |   651-272-5504

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Royalton pending

Date action report first entered:   05/10/2011

Implementation details:
The cities of Pierz, Little Falls, and Royalton received funding for energy upgrades for 21 residential homes and 9 commercial buildings in the three cities. The commercial projects have a maximum project cost of $37,500. One third is a 0% loan, one third is a 1% loan and the final third is owner match. The 1% loan is paid to the cities

Outcome measures/metrics:
The 1% loan on the commercial buildings comes back to the cities as a revolving loan for the purpose of future energy upgrades for other businesses in the cities. It complements the existing revolving loan funds the cities offer to its businesses.

For more information contact:
Andrea Lauer (Elected official)   |   mayor@royaltonmn.com   |   320-630-2229

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Woodbury pending

Date action report first entered:   09/24/2013

Implementation details:
Woodbury City Hall is Energy Star Certified. City Hall and the Public Safety Buildings meet the B3-MSBG Standards. The Bielenberg Sports Complex is scheduled to begin construction spring 2013. The building has been designed and will meet the MN Sustainable Building 2030 Energy Standards.

View All Woodbury Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Peter Lindstrom, Local Government Outreach Coordinator, Clean Energy Resource Teams: 612/625-9634, plindstr@umn.edu, http://tinyurl.com/PeterCERTS