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GreenStep City Best Practices Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Private Buildings
no. 2

Provide incentives for energy, water and sustainability improvements in existing buildings/building sites.
  Best Practice Action 3      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ]       [all actions]

Implement an energy rating/disclosure policy for residential and/or commercial buildings.

  • Some cities in Minnesota require by ordinance a Property Maintenance Certificate, or a Truth in Housing (TIH) or Time of Sale inspection when a building is sold. The intent is to provide accurate information to buyers on the condition of the real property for sale and to help the city keep up the quality of buildings available. Every city determines the required inspection elements, such as sump pump/rain leader disconnection from the sanitary sewer system, blower door testing, inspection with an infrared camera, and ranking or certification of energy performance, using programs such as the Home Energy Score, Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick, Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index or Energy Fit Homes, a 2016 certification program specifically designed for energy efficiency in Minnesota‚Äôs existing homes, being delivered through existing utility programs.
  • Some local utilities send customers (including residential renters and owners) statements listing their energy use/costs in comparison to last month, last year and in comparison to similar building types. To help a would-be rental customer pick an energy-efficient apartment, work done in Bemidji during 2016 by Fresh Energy resulted in a sample ordinance through which a city would require landlords to disclose the energy usage for residential rental properties.
  • See 2018 recommendations for residential energy efficiency rating and disclosure in Minneapolis.
  • In 2013 Minneapolis become the first city in the Midwest to adopt an energy benchmarking and disclosure rule for commercial buildings above 50,000 square feet. To set an example, the city first began with a report of city-owned building performance. Hennepin County is currently working with interested cities in Minnesota that wish to have access to commercial building data and adopt a disclosure ordinance. Cities with such an ordinance show collective commercial building energy use reductions of 2-3% per year.
  • Renewable Energy Ready Home (includes EV-ready elements) specifications were developed by the U.S. EPA to educate builders on how to assess and equip new homes with a set of features that make it easier and less expensive for homeowners to install solar energy systems after the home is constructed. Zero Energy Ready Home specifications produce a high performance home which is so energy efficient that a renewable energy system can offset all or most of its annual energy consumption.
Local utility sends customers statements listing how well they are doing in comparison to last month, last year and in comparison to similar building types; incorporate residential blower-door (ACH50 or CFM50) or energy efficiency rating (HERS or equivalent) in truth-in-housing reports. Report sump pump/rain leader disconnection under action 20.3; city buildings under action 1.1
Require an energy audit with blower door test as part of truth-in-housing inspection and include results in all TIH reports.
Require energy use disclosure for certain commercial buildings, using Hennepin County's tools for cities in Minnesota; require landlords to disclose the energy usage for residential rental properties; require residential energy disclosure at time-of-sale; report both Energy Efficiency rating and Renewable Energy Ready Home (includes EV-ready elements) site assessment results or certification. Report city policies that incentivize acting on commercial building ratings - recommissioning and retrofitting - under action 2.6

Fergus Falls

Date action report first entered:   01/14/2016
Date of last report update:   05/09/2016

Implementation details:
The City of Fergus Falls uses the Minnesota B3 Benchmarking database for the city owned facilities. Otter Tail Power Company uses a monthly energy rating system for their clients. They send out statements listing how well they are doing in comparison to last month, last year and in comparison to similar type homes.

For more information contact:
Len Taylor (City staff)   |   len.taylor@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us   |   218-332-5418

View All Fergus Falls 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