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GreenStep City Best Practices Environmental Management

Local Air Quality
no. 23

Prevent generation of local air contaminants so as to improve community health.
  Best Practice Action 1      [ 1 2 3 4 5 ]       [all actions]

Conduct an education/financial assistance campaign around one of the following residential wood burning/auto exhaust issues:

a.  Indoor and outdoor wood burning behavior, to ensure that wood burning is only done with seasoned wood and in a manner that lessens the impact on neighbors.
b.  Indoor wood burning technology, to result in community members upgrading from inefficient/more polluting fireplaces and wood stoves to pellet/gas/biogas devices, air source heat pumps, or the most efficient certified wood stoves.
c.  Smoker cars - older model/high polluting vehicles, to result in repairs spurred by repair vouchers.
  • MPCA resources on residential wood burning and U.S EPA Burn Wise resources provide specific information detailing health effects, cleaner burning practices and public awareness toolkits that can be customized for Minnesota. See the EPA's 2013 Strategies for Reducing Residential Wood Smoke, which includes information on regulatory options and examples, wood stove and fireplace change-outs, funding options, hydronic heaters (including outdoor wood boilers) and fireplace programs, and emissions and air quality improvements. Included are best practices such as burning seasoned wood that contains less than 20% moisture.
  • An outreach campaign might partner or be run by chimney sweeps, who are in people's houses and can recommend cleaner burning techniques and technologies, potentially incentivized by the city.
  • The wood stove appliance standards from Washington State are recommended. See also current U.S. EPA-certified wood stoves and cleaner burning fireplaces. Some stove manufacturers, such as Lamppa Manufacturing stove works in Tower, MN, already exceed EPA's Phase 2 certification, which goes into effect in May 2020.
  • Environmental Initiative’s NE Minnesota Project Stove Swap is a voluntary program that provides financial incentives to consumers and businesses to replace old wood heating appliances with new, more efficient, less-polluting technologies. Across Minnesota one-third of homes are heated without natural gas, and use wood, fuel oil, bottle/tank propane, and electricity-alone. New high-efficiency air source heat pumps (ASHPs) run by electricity can replace these non-natural gas fuels and operate with outdoor temperatures as low as -13 degrees F. Financial payback for installing ASHPs is short when an existing heating or cooling system needs to be replaced. If replacing propane, total heating costs/energy reduced is in the range of 28% to 54%.
  • An estimated 25% of passenger vehicles cause 90% of local mobile air pollution, mostly due to older cars having outdated or broken emission controls and exhaust equipment. During 2016-17 Environmental Initiative partnered with two local nonprofit garages in the Twin Cities to pilot a project to reduce emissions from older passenger vehicles of lower-income residents.
Conduct an education campaign (including website information and other media releases or outreach techniques) on the health risks of wood burning, including the steps needed to mitigate those risks; conduct a similar campaign on "smoker" cars.
Conduct an education campaign (1 Star rating) and offer financial assistance for decommissioning older fireplaces or wood-burning equipment.
Achieve a 2-Star rating AND document quantitative environmental outcomes.

Red Wing

Date action report first entered:   01/30/2013

Implementation details:
In 2010 the city held public meetings and established new requirements for outdoor wood boilers that establishes standards for burning wood with low water content.

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

View All Red Wing Actions


Date action report first entered:   03/21/2012

Implementation details:
Complete: In an effort to educate the public on the dangers of wood smoke and to set an example to the community, at the Nov.15, 2011 Edina City Council meeting, Council agreed to convert the two indoor wood burning fireplaces in the Centrum of the Hughes Pavilion, to gas. This generated much educational publicity in the Edina Sun Current, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and local Blogs. The conversion was complete in time for the winter 2011/12 season. The payback period for converting to gas was documented to be 7 years.

For more information contact:
Tara Brown (City staff)   |   tbrown@edinamn.gov   |   (952)826-1621

View All Edina Actions


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

Implementation details:
We have educational materials/pamphlets for the public.  In addition, this information is attached to our open burning permits and on the city website. There is also educational materials/pamphlets for the public relating to the installation of stoves.

For more information contact:
Mike Schutt (City staff)   |   mschutt@hastingsmn.gov   |   651-480-6154

View All Hastings Actions

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 Environmental Department has a burn wise campaign that teaches how burning the right wood, the right way, in the right wood-burning appliance can protect your home, health, and the air around us.

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

View All Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Actions

New Hope

Date action report first entered:   04/02/2015
Date of last report update:   12/03/2018
Year action initially completed:   2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
West Metro Fire-Rescue District has educational materials for recreational burning listed on their website. The city published a story on recreational burning guidelines in September of 2018 on the city's website. It included information on New Hope's rules and guidelines related to recreational fires.

Descriptive links: https://www.newhopemn.gov/news___features/recreational_burning_guidelines

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

View All New Hope Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/13/2015
Date of last report update:   02/11/2015

Implementation details:
The city's website encourages residents to "think clean" when burning. Tips include use the right fuel and notes that manufactured fire logs burn cleaner than firewood.

For more information contact:
Ryan Johnson (City staff)   |   Ryan.johnson@cityofroseville.com   |   651-792-7049

View All Roseville Actions

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

greenstep advisor
Megan Kuhl-Stennes, Neighborhood Air Pollution Lead, MN Pollution Control Agency: 651/757-2455, Megan.KuhlStennes@state.mn.us