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GreenStep City Best Practices Resilient Economic & Community Development

Benchmarks and Community Engagement
no. 24

Adopt outcome measures for GreenStep and other city sustainability efforts, and engage community members in ongoing education, dialogue, and campaigns.
  Best Practice Action 3      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 ]       [all actions]

Measure and report progress on sustainability indicators including energy use/greenhouse gas emissions, social vitality/social inclusion outcome measures.

 
  • See for example sustainability indicators from Minneapolis and Red Wing and from over 100 cities on the Community Indicators Consortium web site.
  • See, for example, Burnsville's annual Sustainability Update that reports GHG reduction for city operations, energy saved in city building/operations, ground-/surface-water status.
  • Read about the type of energy information that most communities use in planning for energy development or to meet local energy or climate goals, and how the GreenStep partner organization Great Plains Institute can help cities use the data. Two visually useful data sources are the Regional Indicators Initiative web site developed by the Urban Land Institute and the federal Dept. of Energy's State and Local Energy Data web site. For zip code-level household consumption-based GHG data, use the map prepared by the CoolClimate Network and see a Minnesota consumption-based GHG inventory from 2012.
  • Through the free services of RETAP (Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program, run by the MN Pollution Control Agency) a city in the region of a RETAP staff can request approximately 40 hours of work on (1) an inventory of implemented GreenStep actions, (2) recommendations for completing a few high-impact actions, and/or (3) recommendations on sustainability indicators. Read short bios of three community RETAP staff on the 1-page RETAP handout linked to above.
  • Developed for a village-like Minneapolis neighborhood of 7,000 people, the Neighborhood Sustainability Indicators Guidebook (Ken Meter, Crossroads Resource Center: 1999) defines indicators appropiate for many cities in Minnesota.
  • The STAR Community Rating System (STAR - Sustainability Tools for Assessing & Rating Communities) is the nation’s first voluntary, self-reporting framework for evaluating and certifying (for a fee) the livability and sustainability of any US community. It covers economic, environmental and social topics. Related is the LEED for Cities certification program.
  • See a list of social vitality indicators and metric definitions for the areas of educational attainment, civic participation, arts & culture, community health, crime & safety, social vulnerability/resilience, livability, and social & cultural diversity. See also the racial equity toolkit and assessment worksheet for analyzing how a policy, initiative, program or budget issue will increase or decrease racial equity, from the Government Alliance on Race & Equity (2016), which has been working with cities on race/equity plans, through the League of MN Cities.
Produce a city environmental / sustainability report/summary; update your city council periodically during 'open mike' time or during an annual work session with council; involve an existing city council committee or community task force.
Adopt (ideally after a public process and city council review) and commit to measure and annually report on sustainability indicators, generally related to or directly tied to the city's work on GreenStep best practices; may include community-wide energy and water use, vehicle miles traveled, and waste generated (Regional Indicators Initiative).
Adopt and commit to measure and annually report on broad sustainability indicators such as covered by GreenStep Step 4/5 metrics (which include a city operations GHG inventory), the STAR Community Rating System, LEED for Cities, GARE's race & equity measures.

Bloomington

Date action report first entered:   01/05/2018
Date of last report update:   01/05/2018
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The City of Bloomington Sustainability Commission works to make recommendations to City Council related to programs to measure and report sustainability progress. Specifically, the City of Bloomington participates in the Regional Indicators program, is committed to tracking data through GreenStep Best Practices.

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View All Bloomington Actions

Burnsville

Date action report first entered:   06/06/2012
Date of last report update:   08/27/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The City of Burnsville has a Park and Natural Resources Commission that is appointed by the City Council and consists of community members. Every year, the city presents the annual sustainability report to this commission for comments. Additionally, Burnsville has an employee based sustainability team.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The City of Burnsville generates indicators in terms of an annual Sustainability Update. metrics include GHG emissions, city property conservation statistics and other indicators. The Sustainability Update is attached.

            view file

For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff)   |   basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us   |   952-895-4524

View All Burnsville Actions

Coon Rapids

Date action report first entered:   11/01/2014
Date of last report update:   11/01/2014

Implementation details:
The Coon Rapids Sustainability Committee works to make recommendations to City Council related to programs to measure and report sustainability progress. Specifically, Coon Rapids participates in the Regional Indicators program, is committed to tracking data through B3 Benchmarking and various GreenStep Best Practices.

For more information contact:
Colleen Sinclair (City staff)   |   csinclair@coonrapidsmn.gov   |   763-767-6485

View All Coon Rapids Actions

Eden Prairie

Date action report first entered:   01/17/2014

Implementation details:
The Conservation Commission and City Council received a presentation on the Environmental Regional Indicators Initiative Project. The project is sponsored by the Urban Land Institute of Minnesota (ULI-MN), and is a collaborative effort involving approximately twenty Minnesota cities that are committed to collecting a series of indicators to help guide City decisions toward a more sustainable future. The indicators include city-wide energy consumption, vehicle miles traveled, solid waste management, water consumption, and others.

Descriptive links: http://regionalindicatorsmn.uli.org

For more information contact:
Tania Mahtani (City staff)   |   tmahtani@edenprairie.org   |   952-949-8413

Partners:
Urban Land Institute

View All Eden Prairie Actions

Falcon Heights

Date action report first entered:   06/23/2011

Implementation details:
The City of Falcon Heights, through the efforts of our environment commission, led an exercise where we measured the carbon footprint of the entire city (not just city operations). By measuring factors such as transportation, trash, water production, and other factors, we now have two years worth of data and have pledged to continue to collect data for several years to come.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The data collected will assist us in focusing our efforts in areas where improvement is needed. For example, the initial results show that while most of our efforts have been focused on residential projects, most of our carbon emmissions come from our industrial, commercial, and institutional establishments.

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

View All Falcon Heights Actions

Jordan

Date action report first entered:   04/26/2017
Date of last report update:   04/26/2017
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The Jordan Planning commission is tasked with receiving updates and giving feedback on Jordan’s sustainability efforts. Metrics the commission will receive updates on include: Jordan’s B3 Energy Use Intensity analysis, amount of road salt saved, amount of solid waste truck trips eliminated, and participation in the city’s organics collection program. Informed decisions regarding future city development can be made considering the city's ecological footprint. In addition to updating the Planning Commission with this information, the city’s website will be updated yearly so that all city residents have access to Jordan’s ecological footprint data. Also, GreenStep updates made in the city newsletter will include a report on the city’s energy use, salt use, solid waste truck loads, and organics participation.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Sustainability indicators for the city of Jordan include: Road salt usage, solid waste transport trips eliminated, B3 Energy Use Intensity, and participation in city-wide organics collection.

Descriptive links: http://jordanmn.gov/city-government/green-step-cities/

For more information contact:
Lauren Walburg (City staff)   |   lwalburg@jordanmn.gov   |   952-492-7928

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Mankato

Date action report first entered:   12/10/2010

Implementation details:
While City staff prepares for GreenStep-specific reporting, the City has been participating for several years in a local initiative known as Envision 2020 which sets similar benchmarks and has an annual reporting element as part of its program

Descriptive links: http://www.envision-2020.com

For more information contact:
Molly Westman (City staff)   |   mwestman@mankatomn.gov   |   507-387-8571

View All Mankato Actions

Maplewood

Date action report first entered:   04/19/2013
Date of last report update:   05/01/2015

Implementation details:
In Maplewood, the Green Team and Environmental & Natural Commission engages community members in a public process for city council adoption of and commitment to measure and report on progress toward sustainability indicators which are discussed in their yearly sustainability report to the board which is available online for all city residents to view. The Sustainability reports shows what actions and best practices the city has worked on over the course of the last year and what the outcomes from those actions. The City of Maplewood is currently involved in the Partners in Energy program. Partners in Energy is a two-year community support program sponsored by Xcel Energy. It offers communities the tools and resources necessary to develop and implement an Energy Action Plan that outlines short- and long-term energy goals. The Maplewood City Council approved the Partners in Energy Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the formation of an Energy Action Team on November 24, 2014. The MOU approves the initial planning phase of the program, which will be carried out from January to April 2015. Phase Two will begin in May 2015 and involves the implementation of the Energy Action Plan which was approved by the council in April of 2015.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.maplewood.mn.us/documentcenter/view/8929

For more information contact:
Shann Finwall (City staff)   |   shann.finwall@maplewoodmn.gov   |   651-249-2304

View All Maplewood Actions

Oakdale

Date action report first entered:   07/31/2012

Implementation details:
The Oakdale Environmental Management Commission and City Council have both committed to measuring energy consumption and subsequent GHG emissions each year for city operations since 2008. The Environmental Management Commission set reduction goals in each category of operations. In 2012, the city will be expanding into measuring community-wide indicators by taking part in the Regional Indicators Initiative, and joint project between the Regional Council of Mayors, ULI Minnesota, and 19 other Minnesota communities.

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

View All Oakdale Actions

Red Wing

Date action report first entered:   01/30/2013
Date of last report update:   04/24/2017
Year action initially completed:   2015
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
As a part of the Green Wing Action Plan developed by the Partners in Energy (PIE) Group, sustainability indicators regarding energy use were adopted by the City of Red Wing Sustainability Commission and City Council in Dec. 2015.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Not including the top three commercial users, Red Wing used 170 million kWh of electricity in 2013. Of this community-wide electricity use, 66% was used by commercial and industrial customers, and the remaining 34% was used by residential customers. Commercial and industrial customers account for 13% of the total premises and residential customers account for 87%.7 Red Wing customers used 11 million therms of natural gas in 2013. Commercial and industrial customers accounted for 53% of Red Wing’s natural gas use and 10% of Red Wing’s gas premises. Residential customers used 47% of the natural gas and accounted for 90% of the premises. Working with Excel Energy, the City will continue to promote through the PIE Program energy efficiency program and monitoring of the community's energy use. Attached is a recent overview of participation in energy efficiency projects and usage rates.

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

Partners:
Xcel Energy and the City of Red Wing

View All Red Wing Actions

Shoreview

Date action report first entered:   05/01/2013

Implementation details:
The City is participating in the Regional Indicators Initiative, as first recommended to the City Council by the Environmental Quality Committee. The program’s scope of work involves a consultant team to collect the last three years of data for benchmarking and then training City staff to collect the data in future years. Data needed includes topics like energy, water, waste, and vehicle miles traveled. These metrics can be normalized over population or jobs, which can be presented easily as gallons of water used/person/day or pounds of waste/person/day. Information can also be obtained and compared across different sectors – such as residential versus commercial or industrial users. These units can show where targets, education, or best management practices may be used to lower environmental impact. The Environmental Quality Committee reviewed the program at their April 23rd, 2012 meeting and made a recommendation to the City Council that the City participate in the Regional Indicators Initiative. The Committee felt that this program is consistent with the steps Shoreview has already taken, and would be helpful to actually measure the impact of the City’s efforts towards environmental sustainability. The City Council passed a Resolution in support on May 7th, 2012.

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

View All Shoreview Actions

White Bear Lake

Date action report first entered:   03/04/2014

Implementation details:
The City is participating in the Regional Indicators Initiative. The Regional Indicators Initiative measures annual performance metrics for approximately 30 Minnesota cities committed to increasing their overall efficiency and level of sustainability. The project collects the following data generated through the activities of the people who live, work, learn, travel, visit, and recreate within the city’s geographical boundaries: • Energy (in BTUs): electricity, natural gas, and district energy consumed. • Water (in gallons): potable water consumed. • Waste (in pounds): municipal solid waste managed via recycling, composting, combustion, and landfilling. • Travel (in Vehicle Miles Traveled): on-road distance traveled The greenhouse gas emissions associated with each of these measures is also calculated, providing a common metric to compare the environmental impacts of the indicators. The indicators are expressed not only as annual totals, but are also broken down into residential and commercial/industrial uses, and are presented in terms of per capita and per job, enabling them to be compared over time. The Initiative supports planning for sustainability by defining a baseline, tracking a business-as-usual trajectory, establishing targets, and measuring outcomes of sustainable strategies at a city-wide scale. The City's Environmental Advisory Commission supported the City's participation in this program, and made a recommendation to the City Council that the City participate.

Descriptive links: http://minnesota.uli.org/initiatives/environment/regional-indicators-initiative/

For more information contact:
Connie Taillon (City staff)   |   ctaillon@whitebearlake.org   |   651-429-8564

Partners:
Urban Land Institute

View All White Bear Lake Actions

Woodbury

Date action report first entered:   04/27/2013

Implementation details:
In 2006, the City Council appointed a temporary Energy Conservation Task Force, which later became the Sustainability Committee (subgroup to the Environmental Advisory Commission). The group made several recommendations to City Council including: (1) Adopting Sustainability as one of the city’s seven Critical Success Factors, (2) to adopt a sustainability resolution (3) To hire a part-time sustainability specialist, and (4) to incorporate sustainability throughout the 2030 Comprehensive Plan. City Council agreed to all of the committee’s recommendations. The city’s Environmental Advisory Commission was the lead group to recommend to the City Council that Woodbury become a GreenStep City. As part of that discussion, the commission agreed that progress in the program will be reported annually to the City Council, and on a regular basis to the community.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.woodbury.mn.us/images/stories/environment-docs/susres.pdf

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

View All Woodbury Actions

Eagan

Date action report first entered:   01/11/2011

Implementation details:
The City has created the Energy and Environment Advisory Commission, an 8-member commission made up of residents who volunteer their time to make recommendations to the City Council on ways to achieve the City's sustainability goals. The City also measures energy usage at facilities, vehicle miles traveled, etc., most of which are reported to the Commission.

For more information contact:
Andrew Pimental (City staff)   |   apimental@cityofeagan.com   |   651-675-5506

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Golden Valley

Date action report first entered:   04/25/2017
Date of last report update:   04/25/2017
Year action initially completed:   2016
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The City has an Environmental Commission that consists of residents and advises the City Council in matters relating to and affecting the environment, including resilience and sustainability efforts. The Commission presents an annual report to Council regarding the implementation and progress of sustainability initiatives in the City, including advancement under the GreenStep Cities program.

Descriptive links: http://www.goldenvalleymn.gov/boards/environmental/index.php

For more information contact:
Eric Eckman (City staff)   |   eeckman@goldenvalleymn.gov   |   763-593-8084

View All Golden Valley Actions

Kasson

Date action report first entered:   05/13/2011

Implementation details:
Underway: Have initially organized community members for input as to the direction of the City and primarily to determine what actions to promote sustainability in the community. We are also working collaboratively with the neighboring City of Mantorville and Dodge County.

For more information contact:
Nancy Zaworski (City staff)   |   financedept@cityofkasson.com   |   507-634-6321

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Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Date action report first entered:   04/16/2015
Date of last report update:   04/16/2015

Implementation details:
The Leech Lake Green Team plays a big part in the public process and involving Tribal Council on process of sustainability efforts.

For more information contact:
Brandy Toft (City staff)   |   air@lldrm.org   |   218-335-7429

View All Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Actions

North Saint Paul

Date action report first entered:   09/04/2015
Date of last report update:   04/27/2016

Implementation details:
The North Saint Paul City Council formed the Environmental Advisory Commission which meets on a monthly basis. The Environmental Advisory Commission is responsible for advising the council on decisions impacting the ecological health of the City. Working to advance the City’s environmental stewardship, the commission promotes awareness of environmental issues through community outreach and education. The commission serves as the Tree Board for the Tree City USA program and supports the City’s Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). The Commission develops annual goals and reports on their progress to City Council.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Annually the Environmental Advisory Commission develops goals for the coming year and reports accomplishments to City Council and the Public at a City Council meeting. Attached is the PowerPoint Presentation that was presented (and televised) this year.

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For more information contact:
Keith Stachowski (City staff)   |   Keith.Stachowski@northstpaul.org   |   651-747-2423

View All North Saint Paul Actions

Austin pending

Date action report first entered:   05/07/2012

Implementation details:
City staff and public volunteers are currently engaged, presenting at City Council work session on how far the STF has come in progress

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

Partners:
STF, City staff

View All Austin Actions

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


 
greenstep advisor
Philipp Muessig, GreenStep Cities Program Coordinator, MN Pollution Control Agency: 651/757-2594, philipp.muessig@state.mn.us

Sean Gosiewski, Alliance for Sustainability, for work with citizen & student groups and faith organizations: 612/331-1099, sean@AforS.org, http://www.AforS.org