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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 6      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ]       [all actions]

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.

Incentives include lower interest loans, lowered building or equipment permit fees; note what improvements/equipment qualify and if a revolving loan fund was used. Private parties include builders, homeowners, businesses, institutions. Report renewable energy financing programs such as PACE under action 26.3
Incentives include a utility-bill payment option, grants, rebates or tax breaks (e.g., property tax abatement) or expedited permit review.
Note incentives used, such as a density bonus or green building design assistance, for certified green building or ones incorporating district energy. Report buildings meeting the SB 2030 energy standard.


Date action report first entered:   02/19/2016
Date of last report update:   03/21/2019
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The City's Foreclosure Purchase Incentive Program (FPIP) aims to stabilize and improve residential neighborhoods suffering from the negative effects of the foreclosure crisis. The FPIP program offers financial assistance to buyers interested in purchasing a foreclosed home through the allocation of federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. There are two financing options with the City's program: Purchase Assistance - $10,000, and Rehabilitation Assistance - $15,000. If the buyer lives in the home for 5 years, the loan is completely forgiven. Although the City does not currently require certification to a green building standard, the upgrading of foreclosed homes to the required health and safety standards is significantly "greener" than allowing the home to further deteriorate to the point of needing demolition. The City received $1,054,000 in federal funds to acquire, rehabilitate and re-sell foreclosed homes. Homes were rehabbed in accordance with Minnesota Housing’s Green Communities standards. 7 homes have been rehabbed and resold through the program to low and moderate-income households. The City’s Transformation Home Loan Program provides incentive financing for large-scale remodeling projects valued at $50,000 or more. Loans are up to 15% of the total project cost with a maximum loan of $25,000. There are no income limits, no payments, no interest, and the loan is forgiven after 30 years. The program does not include any requirements for certification via a green building framework.

Outcome measures/metrics:
By July 2013, 21 buyers of foreclosed homes received loans.

For more information contact:
Julie Urban (City staff)   |   jurban@richfieldmn.gov   |   6128619777

View All Richfield Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/14/2013

Implementation details:
Shoreview Home Energy Improvement Loan available for new roof and energy upgrades to the home that include energy efficient heating and cooling systems, additional or replacement insulation, energy efficient replacement windows, doors, energy efficient water heaters. *A density bonus of up to five percent may begiven to developments that use passive energy systems on at least 80 percent of the dwelling units. And a density bonus of up to ten percent may be given to all energy systems for space heating, air conditioning, and/or domestic hot water heating on at least 30 percent of the dwellings/developments that use active energy systems.

Descriptive links: http://www.shoreviewmn.gov/pdfs/comprehensive-plan/CPConservation.pdf             view file

For more information contact:
Ellen Brenna (City staff)   |   ebrenna@shoreviewmn.gov   |   651-490-4665

View All Shoreview Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/07/2014

Implementation details:
Loan and grant opportunities for business and residential upgrades

Descriptive links: Business energy retrofit program             view file

View All Ely Actions

Lake Crystal

Date action report first entered:   10/18/2013

Implementation details:
The city offers a selection of rebate programs as part of CIP. Available residential CIP programs available include: rebates on select types of Energy Star Appliances, central air tune-ups, LED lights. Commercial CIP programs include rebates for select Energy Star appliances, central-air tune ups, lighting upgrades, motor upgrades, and energy audits.

Outcome measures/metrics:
At this point in 2013, kWh saved through CIP programs has been measured at 57,000 kWh. This includes both commercial and residential programs.

For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff)   |   lccity@hickorytech.net   |   507-726-2538

View All Lake Crystal Actions

Maple Grove

Date action report first entered:   01/04/2013

Implementation details:
The City of Maple Grove has set aside approximately $60,000 in grant money for new construction homes that acheive a HERS rating of 40 or below. Maximum grant is $20,000 for a home with a HERS of 0 and goes down proportionally from there.

Outcome measures/metrics:
1 home has participated in the challenge and we continually are working to bring more builders into the process.

Descriptive links: http://maplegrovenetzero.wordpress.com/             view file

For more information contact:
Peter Vickerman (City staff)   |   PVickerman@maplegrovemn.gov   |   763-494-6046

View All Maple Grove Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/11/2011
Date of last report update:   05/01/2015

Implementation details:
The city of Maplewood has adopted the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) for city buildings. To increase the amount of public buildings that conform to this code, the city is offering an incentive program as part of the Energy Action Plan created for the Partners in Energy partnership. This plan, known as Energize Maplewood, contains a section where the City will utilize grant money from the MPCA and the Great Plains Institute to pay for recommissioning studies for public buildings. These studies will need to be available for a 75% rebate from Xcel energy before they can be started. Once the study has been done, the rebate will be used to pay for energy efficiency improvements that will bring the building closer to compliance with the IgCC. This incentive program will be available for approximately 4 projects. In return for the funding we will require 36 months of energy data to determine the effectiveness of these projects.

Descriptive links: http://mn-maplewood.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=1180

For more information contact:
Jason Brash (City staff)   |   Jason.brash@maplewoodmn.gov   |   651-249-2324

View All Maplewood Actions


Date action report first entered:   12/07/2017
Date of last report update:   12/07/2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
Bright Energy Solutions Bright Energy Solutions is an incentive program through rebates that help reduce electric costs and increase efficiently. Once energy efficient equipment/energy smart products are installed, residents and property owners enjoy energy savings through cash incentives offered by Moorhead Public Service.

Descriptive links: http://www.brightenergysolutions.com/Moorhead

For more information contact:
Dan Mahli (City staff)   |   dan.mahli@cityofmoorhead.com   |   218-299-5314

Moorhead Public Service & Missouri Valley Energy Services

View All Moorhead Actions

Mountain Iron

Date action report first entered:   06/25/2012

Implementation details:
The City of Mountain Iron offers rebates as an incentive to purchase energy star appliances and lighting.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Reduced demand for electricity from customers

For more information contact:
Craig Wainio (City staff)   |   cwainio@ci.mountain-iron.mn.us   |   218-748-7570

View All Mountain Iron Actions

New Hope

Date action report first entered:   03/30/2015
Date of last report update:   11/19/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The city has partnered with the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) since 2013 to offer various commercial, non-profit, and rental improvement programs. Programs include Energy Savings Fund for Non-Profits, Commercial Energy Efficiency Loan Program, Energy Intelligence for Industry, One-Step Efficiency Shop Lighting Retrofits, and Existing Building Commissioning.

Descriptive links: https://www.ci.new-hope.mn.us/work/economic_development/commercial_assistance_programs             view file

For more information contact:
Jeff Alger (City staff)   |   jalger@ci.new-hope.mn.us   |   763-531-5119

Center for Energy and Environment

View All New Hope Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/09/2011

Implementation details:
Generation Green is a voluntary initiative program for the creation of Energy Efficient, Carbon Reducing buildings. Any new or majorly renovated building will enjoy expedited plan review and a 15% reduction in building permit fees immediately with the application approval from the Inspection department. Any LEED Certified buildings will receive 20%-25% off building permit fees, depending on the certification.

            view file

For more information contact:
Jen Hassebroek (City staff)   |   jen.hassebroek@ci.oakdale.mn.us   |   651-730-2723

View All Oakdale Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/31/2011

Implementation details:
RPU designed their Partnering in Energy Solutions program to connect commercial customers with expert resources, Energy Solutions Partners (ESPs), to help ensure businesses are operating efficiently and/or building efficiently. RPUs ESPs will: " Analyze current energy usage and future needs. " Propose cost-cutting changes in energy usage, as well as energy efficient upgrades and equipment. " Provide payback analyses of suggested improvements. " Assist with the purchase and/or implementation of suggested improvements. " List and apply for all available RPU Conserve & Save® rebates. RPU promotes green building practices through its Conserve & Save® program, provides rebates, and also offers Green Financing to commercial customers. Green Financing is available for costs to obtain a customers building certification in EnergyStar®, LEED® or Green Globes. For more information on RPUs Conserve & Save® programs visit www.rpu.org.

For more information contact:
Tony Benson (City staff)   |   tbenson@rpu.org   |   507-280-1534

View All Rochester Actions

Saint Louis Park

Date action report first entered:   01/30/2014

Implementation details:
The city matches 50% of the utility rebates for energy efficient furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, in addition to air sealing and insulation. City also offers discount home energy audits to residential property owners.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Many people converting their homes to energy efficient alternatives.

Descriptive links: http://www.stlouispark.org/remodeling-incentives/green-remodeling-program.html

For more information contact:
Jim Vaughan (City staff)   |   jvaughan@stlouispark.org   |   952-924-2699

Center for Environment Energy; Xcel and CenterPoint Energy

View All Saint Louis Park Actions

Falcon Heights

Date action report first entered:   05/08/2012

Implementation details:
The city has implemented a building permit fee rebate program when Energy Star rated improvements are installed (including water related appliances).

Outcome measures/metrics:
Upon verification by the city's building inspector, 50% of the building permit fee is returned to the homeowner if qualified improvements are installed.

For more information contact:
Justin Markon (City staff)   |   justin.markon@falconheights.org   |   651-792-7600

View All Falcon Heights Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/01/2013
Date of last report update:   04/05/2019
Year action initially completed:   2016
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The City of Pierz has done away with the rebates due to high expenses that created a burden to our customers. Instead we give a credit on the customers utility bill for those who register for paperless billing.

Outcome measures/metrics:
This reduces the cost of the bill, and also the cost that the City has for printing and mailing bills, essentially reducing the expenses that the residents incur.

For more information contact:
Kari Tyson (City staff)   |   karit@pierzmn.org   |   320-468-6471

View All Pierz Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/07/2012

Implementation details:
The city is also participating in the Small Cities Development Program to assist local businesses and residents to make energy upgrades (roofing, siding, windows, insulation, new furnaces, etc.). We partnered with the cities of Little Falls and Pierz so a total of 21 homes and 9 businesses in the area can make their homes/businesses more energy efficient. Some of the money is a 0% loan, some 1% and another portion is up to the business/home owner. Money repaid goes into a revolving loan fund in the city to help others make energy improvements.

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

View All Royalton Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/23/2013

Implementation details:
The City’s Woodbury Goes Green Loan encourages sustainable and energy-efficient green building practices in the City of Woodbury. Low interest loans up to $5,000 are available to qualified families who earn no more than 115 percent of the median income, capped at $90,000 per household. Eligible improvements include new high-efficiency furnaces or water heaters, improved insulation, new windows with better insulation and efficiency than existing windows and other improvements as pre-approved by the City of Woodbury Housing and Redevelopment Authority. This program may be combined with the Woodbury Home Improvement Fund if applicant households meet the criteria of both programs.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.woodbury.mn.us/housing/loan-and-incentive-programs

For more information contact:
Jennifer McLoughlin (City staff)   |   jmcloughlin@ci.woodbury.mn.us   |   651-714-3522

View All Woodbury Actions

Fergus Falls pending

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

Implementation details:
Both Great Plains Natural Gas Company and Otter Tail Power Company use extensive outreach programs to promote residential energy efficiency.

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