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GreenStep City Best Practices Buildings and Lighting

New Green Buildings
no. 3

Construct new buildings to meet or qualify under a green building framework.
  Best Practice Action 3      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 ]       [all actions]

Adopt a sustainable building policy for private buildings; include the SB 2030 energy standard; adopt language governing new development projects that:

a.  Receive city financial support, and/or
b.  Require city regulatory approval (planned unit development, conditional use permit, rezoning, variance).
  • See also resources for action 3.4
  • The St. Paul sustainable building policy, adopted in 2010, was developed to serve as a model for other cities, which are allowed under state law to mandate new building construction that exceeds the state energy code when a city is a financial or regulatory participant with a private development. St. Paul's policy includes the B3 Sustainable Building 2030 (SB 2030) Energy Standard. The 2030 Palette is a newer green building framework, with principles, information, and resources for planning and building at the scales of region, city, district, site and building.
  • 2009 Minnesota Model Ordinances for Sustainable Development: Energy Efficiency Ordinance.
  • See the US DOE's Zero Energy Ready Home specifications that a city can require so as to outfit a home (with reasonable solar potential) with the necessary minimum structural and system components needed to support a complete renewable energy system in the future.
  • Inclusionary housing policies vary, giving cities options in crafting this affordable housing tool so as to help develop the kind of economically mixed community desired. See an inclusionary zoning calculator to help determine how many units a developer can afford to make "affordable" (without upping the rental rates for non-affordable housing and while making a reasonable profit so as to stay in business). A related policy choice would be the use of a non-profit corporation to hold 2nd mortgages on all affordable units. Purchasers agree to share equity increases with the corporation when selling, and the corporation has the right of first refusal when owners sell so as to ensure low-income households purchase open units.
  • Providing Well-Placed Affordable Housing in Rural Communities (Smart Growth America: 2017) examines how local governments can provide affordable housing and locate it within a short walk to jobs and essential services with little or no upfront cost by changing zoning restrictions, protecting existing Section 515 housing, and taking advantage of federal assistance.
  • See also the Green Garage Certification program, which assesses 50 elements of parking facility sustainability, including management practices; encouraging alternate modes of transportation and community engagement; and efficient and sustainable technology structure design and designed so they could be reused as warehouses, offices or other uses due to having flat floors and high ceilings.
Adopted policy for projects receiving financial support; list negotiation points or required green building elements/framework (e.g., minimum energy efficiency performance above state energy code; electric vehicle charging facilities).
Adopted policy for projects requiring regulatory approval. List required green building elements/framework (e.g., energy standard, C&D waste, design elements that facilitate access by non-motorized means).
Adopted policy includes the SB 2030 energy standard; policy is for projects receiving both financial support and regulatory approval. List required green building elements/framework (e.g., affordable/inclusionary housing units, natural cooling).

Saint Paul

Date action report first entered:   09/24/2014
Date of last report update:   04/20/2017
Year action initially completed:   2010
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
a. The Sustainable Building Policy is effective for building projects that receive more than $200,000 of public funds.

Descriptive links: www.stpaul.gov/sustainablebuildingpolicy             view file

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

View All Saint Paul Actions


Date action report first entered:   11/02/2016
Date of last report update:   01/17/2017
Year action initially completed:   2006

Implementation details:
Duluth UDC 50.29 requires that all developments above a certain size accrue a certain number of points from a listed Sustainability Point System or achieve LEED silver or above

For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff)   |   ajackson@DuluthMN.gov   |   218-730-4433

View All Duluth Actions

Golden Valley

Date action report first entered:   09/22/2017
Date of last report update:   11/16/2018
Year action initially completed:   2015
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
As of December 1, 2015, the City Council may only allow a new land use project through the planned unit development process if the proposal includes enough pre-rated public amenities to total at least 5 points. Some of the public amenity options include: a green roof (5 points), utilization of a renewable energy source (4 points), a LEED gold (3 points) or platinum (4 points) certification, a community garden (3 points), enhanced stormwater management (2 points) and an electric car charging station (1 point).

Descriptive links: https://library.municode.com/mn/golden_valley/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIILADE_CH113ZO_ARTIIIZODI_DIV3PLUNDEOVDI_S113-123PLUNDE

For more information contact:
Jason Zimmerman (City staff)   |   jzimmerman@goldenvalleymn.gov   |   (763)-593-8099

View All Golden Valley Actions


Date action report first entered:   03/20/2014
Date of last report update:   05/01/2015

Implementation details:
In September of 2013 the city council passed the new green building ordinance. This building ordinance applies to all city owned or financed building. City-owned existing buildings will be prioritized for compliance with the 2012 IgCC Chapter 10. All city-financed buildings and projects will be considered by the City Manager, or designee, and approved by the city council to determine inclusion in this green building program. Implementation of the strategy includes the adoption of energy policies that will ensure achievement of the City’s energy goals. This green building program ordinance will assist in the promotion of green building practices throughout the City. The city of Maplewood will lead by example and provide incentives for others to accomplish similar goals. Just over three years ago the Maplewood city council approved an exploratory green building program search that would promote a city wide green building program that would be effective and produce efficient results. After detailed analysis the building inspection division of the community development department partnered with the International Code Council to assist in the development of the National Green Building Standards for residential buildings and the International Green Construction Code for commercial buildings. The city of Maplewood is recognized as a leader in “green building” and bridging the gap for progress. A presentation was given to the Maplewood Community Boards and the City Council. Council Members were presented with a complete description of the National Green Building Standards and the International Green Construction Codes including an incentive plan and implementation schedule. That was adopted November 23rd, 2013.

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

View All Maplewood Actions

Saint Louis Park

Date action report first entered:   05/04/2017
Date of last report update:   05/04/2017
Year action initially completed:   2010
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
On February 16th 2010, the City of Saint Louis Park Economic Development Authority adopted a city wide Green Building Policy. This policy affects new municipal, commercial, hotel, industrual and mixed use construction, additions 15,000 square feet or greater (gross) and renovations 50,000 square feet or greater (gross) receiving $200,000 or more in City financial assistance. This policy also affects new and renovated multifamily residential buildings receiving $200,000 or more in City financial assistance and all new and renovated detached single family home projects receiving $10,000 or more in City financial assistance.

            view file

For more information contact:
Shannon Pinc (City staff)   |   spinc@stlouispark.org   |   952-924-2191

View All Saint Louis Park Actions


Date action report first entered:   08/01/2011

Implementation details:
Rochester has a City ASSISTED HOUSING SUPPORT CRITERIA CHECKLIST which helps provide residents and developers with a checklist of required items for those seeking assistance.

View All Rochester Actions

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

greenstep advisor
Laura Millberg, MBA, LEED AP BD+C, Sustainable Development and Climate Resilience Principal Planner, MN Pollution Control Agency: 651/757-2568, laura.millberg@state.mn.us, http://www.pca.state.mn.us/yhiz6ef