Create or participate in a marketing/outreach program to connect businesses with assistance providers, including utilities, who provide personalized energy, waste or sustainability audits and assistance.
The MN Pollution Control Agency's SBEAP program helps Minnesota businesses and local governments access free technical staff to assist in reducing or eliminating the amounts of emissions, wastes and stormwater generated, helps businesses maintain compliance with new and existing environmental requirements, and helps reduce regulatory burden.
Checklist for Greening your Business (SBEAP: 2010) highlights basic steps a business can take to be more environmentally responsible in the areas of water conservation, indoor air quality, purchasing, waste reduction and recycling, and energy efficiency. City/economic development staff may also want to share the Food Service Energy Efficiency Toolkit with their restaurants, as these businesses use 2.5 times more energy per square foot than the average commercial business and thus the potential to save energy and money is large. According to a national study in 2013, small fast food restaurants can cut energy use buy 45%, and a 10% reduction in energy costs can improve grocery stores’ profit margin by 16%. See also The State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018 (National Restaurant Association: 2018) for how restaurants of all types are conserving resources, reducing waste and connecting with environmentally aware guests.
The CEE One Stop Efficiency Shop is designed to address the concerns small business owners face when choosing more efficient lighting - limited financial resources and time, and limited knowledge of lighting products and access to quality contractors. For those not served by CEE, contact local utilities for on-site energy audits or your County Environmental Services Office for additional assistance.
Minnesota Waste Wise / Minnesota Energy Smart. Energy Smart helps businesses save energy and connect to financial incentives. All services are at no cost. Waste Wise provides environmental sustainability consulting at no cost to organizations located in Ramsey, Washington, Anoka and Carver Counties.
The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program helps Minnesota businesses develop and implement industry-tailored solutions that prevent pollution at the source, maximize efficient use of resources, and reduce energy use and costs to improve public health and the environment. In the 35 years since 1984, through 5,000 site visits and 300 intern projects, MnTAP has helped businesses save $53 million, 800 million gallons of water, and 400 million tons of waste.
Promote business assistance providers on your city web site on an ongoing basis, or identify how the city has promoted business assistance to at least 5 for-profit or non-profit organizations about audit/assistance programs within the past year. Report outreach to just tourism businesses under action 25.3; report work on business operations related to water under action 20.6; report promotion of PACE financing under action 26.3
Participate on a 1-time basis in a campaign organized by an assistance provider; report outcomes from these visits (# of businesses assisted, by whom, sampling of results/improvements made, such as energy or waste reductions). Report assistance to businesses on water conservation and wastewater pretreatment (could be from a city utility) under actions 20.6 and 20.7
Explicitly include energy/water/waste assistance into BR&E (business retention & expansion) efforts; create an ongoing city-organized business assistance program AND report results (financial/environmental outcomes).
Who's doing it
Arlington - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
The City of Arlington Utility Billing Department offers rebates to business customers who install energy efficient lighting, variable speed drives, custom projects and vending machine controllers. Rebate Applications are available online or may be picked up at the City Office.
Businesses are able to acquire "We Save Business" rebate forms and information through the City Office, city website and MMPA. The City also coordinates annual business visits with a representative from MMPA to discuss potential energy saving projects.
The City provides educational information on energy efficiency and GMPUC programs in its buildings along with other information. CCLEP develops the promotional information, the City helps disseminate it.
CCLEP has developed several programs to assist local contractors with using green building techniques and energy efficiency and renewable energy development.
CCLEP also works with the City and County to recognize renewable energy development as an economic development/job creation strategy. CCLEP/Cook County Community Center are sponsoring a contractor/building workshop for the building industry to incorporate green building techniques.
In November 2015, the City of Hutchinson was recognized as a community partner in the ENERGY STAR Challenge. For 2016, Hutchinson will be partnering with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and its Energy Smart Program, the Great Plains Institute, and the USGBC to provide energy assistance to local business and building owners.
The ENERGY STAR Challenge for the City was launched with an Event on April 21, 2016 to both promote the Challenge and educate local building owner and operators about energy efficiency programs, opportunities, and funds. The event was attended by more than 20 people representing 15 local businesses, buildings, and non-profits. In addition to presentations by representative from the City on Climate Resiliency, and the partnering organizations on the ENERGY STAR Challenge, the event also featured presenters from the Hutchinson EDA and Hutchinson Utilities Commission. The EDA representative talked about how businesses and local entities now can utilize the recently passed PACE program, and options for clean energy and efficiency. The Energy Efficiency Specialist from Hutchinson Utilities Commission talked about available energy efficiency rebates and how to access them.
So far, 6 local buildings have signed up for benchmarking assistance with Portfolio Manager through the ENERGY STAR Challenge.
In addition to the assistance provided by the Great Plains institute, Chamber of Commerce, and USGBC, Hutchinson received a “Seed Grant” from the Clean Energy Resource Team to help with implementation. Hutchinson has also been working extensively with the local Chamber of Commerce to promote the event and energy opportunity.
The objective of Hutchinson’s involvement as a partner in the ENERGY STAR Challenge is to promote energy conservation to local businesses and nonprofits to both reduce their operating costs and facilitate greater involvement with Environmental issues. The hope is that through the Challenge, more buildings in Hutchinson will be eligible for, and eventually pursue, ENERGY STAR Certification. There are funds available through the partnership to aid buildings in achieving certification.
SnoBear USA was in the process of acquiring a soon to be vacant building located at 1 Enterprise Avenue NE. During the due diligence and the negotiating process the City of Isanti introduced SnoBear USA to Connexus Energy to take advantage of the Vacant Property Discounted Rate program for buildings over 20,000 square feet. The business took advantage of this program and Connexus will also be evaluating the facility for energy efficiency and upgrade potential.
The building may have not been purchased without the ability to utilize the incentive. Company has hired 23 employees since acquisition and production line is now operational. Energy savings expected do to updates to building. Company investment in Isanti is expected to exceed 3.5 M Dollars.
The City has provided the MN Waste Wise program a list of manufacturers and businesses located within the city so the Waste Wise program can reach out to these companies.
When Waste Wise starts setting up meetings with these different companies the city will have a representative present to discuss promotional opportunities, web spotlight, newsletter, etc. to spotlight the companies and their sustainability actions. The city has also actively promoted the Minnesota Waste Wise program on their website.
City staff and Waste Wise staff have now visited over 12 businesses and churches to do waste and energy audits. The response have been very positive with some businesses saving over $800 a year in trash hauler fees.
Xcel Energy will be a major assistance provider during the business outreach program aspect of the Partners in Energy partnership which will begin in May of 2015. This program will run for 18 months and focus on assisting many different businesses with energy conservation measures.
Morris was selected by Otter Tail Power Company to receive assistance via an event called the Business Blitz. In conjunction, several members of the MN CERTs team and Morris's Minnesota GreenCorps member performed an outreach campaign on February 21, 2019. 176 Businesses in Morris were targeted for outreach and offered free energy audits from Franklin Energy. During the weeks of March 4 and March 18, Franklin Energy conducted energy audits on 58 businesses and offered free direct installs of vending and cooler misers, T-LED lighting, and insulation on electric water heaters. In addition, the businesses that participated received reports with actions they could take to improve their energy efficiency.
Articles about assistance providers and information for energy programs, sustainability and recycling appear almost quarterly on the Business News page of the Roseville City News. Business pages are also posted under community development on the city web site.
Roseville partnered with the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTS) of the Great Plains Institute to contact each of the independent gas stations in Roseville with information on saving energy costs in switching to LED lighting in their fuel pump canopy. Upon phone call followup, three of the nine expressed interest in getting further information. Each of the three were directed to additional assistance for implementing the change.
The City of Royalton is participating in a pilot project with its utility provider, MN Power, in a Community Energy Challenge. The challenge is two part: Learn & Earn that works with the Royalton School District to help students learn about energy efficiency and get parents/neighbors/etc to do home energy audits, install more efficient lighting and at the same time earn money for their school. For each home energy audit completed, the school received $10. The program worked with our the Royalton Lumber and Hardware by having them carry LED bulbs, LED Christmas lights and keep track of the purchases. For every LED light purchased during that time, the school earned $2. It was a great success and the event involved the elementary as well as middle school/high school students.
The Community Energy Challenge also brought Franklin Energy into local businesses and non-profits to provide energy upgrades in the form of faucet aerators, bulb replacements, and devices that cut down on the energy used in small refrigeration units for local bars. The company completed 25 energy visits and 20 energy reports for the project.
We are in the final stage of the challenge and it involves getting all city departments (council/commissions/boards/non-profits/etc) to do what the students did. Our challenge will include picking up refrigerators that residents have replaced with new, more efficient models. We earn the same dollar amounts for the city for home energy audits completed and new LED bulbs purchased. At the end of the program we are working with the school to do a Green Fair to celebrate the event. The Green Fair will showcase the efforts of students/school and city departments (i.e. Tree Board).
Businesses, non-profit organizations, and residents have learned more about energy efficiency by getting energy audits completed, replacing outdated lighting with new LED lights, adding low-flow water devices, and energy efficient additions to current refrigeration models. The program also included a Learn and Earn to help students in elementary, middle and high school learn more about energy efficiency.
Business assistance efforts:
In 2009, the City, in collaboration with the Food Service Energy Leadership Program (housed at Eureka Recycling), applied and received a competitively selected Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) through the Department of Energy and administered by the Minnesota Division of Energy Resources. This grant, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), allowed the city to provide technical assistance for energy efficiency among its restaurant community.
The program worked with 20 restaurants in the White Bear Lake area over a two year period. An initial energy assessment was completed by the technical team and a report produced with identified opportunities (focusing mostly on low-cost options). Throughout the course of two years of collaboration with these businesses, energy use was tracked and reported back to the businesses on a six month basis, and assistance was offered with larger retrofit projects, such as an HVAC unit replacement, a new ice machine purchase, or a retrofit on the exhaust hood. Over the two year period, the average energy savings in participating restaurants was 5.8 percent. These savings varied greatly depending on length of time in the program and ability to commit time, attention and money to making improvements.
In 2013, the City partnered with the White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce to help promote and host two seminars for businesses to divert waste from landfills while saving money on their trash bills. The seminars are led by Minnesota WasteWise, and businesses are given an opportunity to schedule a private visit by Minnesota WasteWise to analyze their waste streams and receive recommendations on how they can divert waste, properly dispose of problem materials, and save money. Minnesota WasteWise holds a contract with Ramsey County and will provide free waste consulting for any business within the county.
The City is currently partnering with CLASS 5 Energy on an energy reduction pilot program via a state-funded grant. Phase two of the pilot was for Class 5 to partner with businesses in the community of White Bear Lake to explore appropriate strategies for use in different types of business settings. The City sent a letter out to White Bear Area Chamber businesses inviting them to attend a meeting at City Hall to learn more about how they could reducing their energy use and costs through participating in the pilot.
To date, eight local businesses are participating in the pilot with Class 5.
The City has co-sponsored three waste reduction seminars that Minnesota WasteWise has given at City Hall in 2013. WasteWise has performed waste audits for several of the businesses that attended these seminars.
After hearing about the programs offered to Xcel clients and MN Chamber members by MN Waste Wise, we created a flyer to send to City Chamber members (120 businesses) about the services Waste Wise offers and the benefits it could bring to businesses.Even more recently, the City has created a Sustainability Packet for businesses in which we highlight and explain not only MN Waste Wise, but MN RETAP and the MN Chamber of Commerce.
Through Burnsville's participation in the ARROW Program (Awards for Reduction and Recycling of Waste), Burnsville hosted a Green Business Workshop in 2011. Through this workshop, Burnsville has provided assistance to 3-4 organizations. Through the Arrow program at 2011 workshop they asked businesses if they would be interested in doing a sustainability audit and a number of businesses they provided audits for. A church, a restaurant and an architure firm. For two of these, ARROW gave the city information on how to get the audit, but they did not access. ARROW did sustainability audit, and gave them information about how to conduct an audit with their utility. This assistance is on going, and still available to interested businesses. The ARROW website provides a link to energy rebates available to businesses.
Burnsville's city website has a new sections called "Why Burnsville MN" which includes success stories of local businesses and initiatives such as Burnsville STHEM Alliance.
The City of Eden Prairie Conservation Commission has worked with Xcel Energy to make businesses and homeowners aware of the programs available for reducing energy costs including on-line and on-site energy audits the the "Powering Community Program". Xcel Energy presented their program options at a regular meeting of the Conservation Commission. The Conservation Commission provided information at the City Wide Open House and Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce Home and Garden Expo and educated businesses and homeowners on available programs to reduce energy waste.
A recycling and Solid Waste Working Group member of the EEC developed a Powerpoint program entitled "Easy Office Recycling", which was presented at a local Rotary meeting. MPCA is offering assistance to 10 businesses in the form of providing sample contracts (see http://www.pca.state.mn.us/oea/p2/rmprograms.cfm) for hauling to assist commercial businesses to modify existing contracts, or create new resource management contracts with waste haulers to manage recyclables, compostibles and hazardous materials. The RSW WG will work with local trade associations and give educational presentations on recycling as well as aiding them with the Easy Office Recycling program. Trade associations include the Edina Chamber of Commerce. The EnergySmart program sponsored by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce will be used to get Edina businesses to focus on energy efficiency.
Minnesota Waste Wise, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, contacted the city about their new partnership with Ramsey County Public Health (Environmental Services) in which they offered waste and recycling consultation services to any Ramsey County business, free of charge. These services focus on helping businesses waste less and recycle more in order to improve thei bottom lines. We provided their organization with a comprehensive list of businesses in Falcon Heights so that they could reach out and assist them in their recycling and waste reduction efforts.
To promote business energy efficiency, and energy, waste and water use reduction the City of Inver Grove Heights shares business assistance and rebate programs on the City’s website. This information directs business to various resources including rebate and reward programs provided by utility providers, Energy Smart appliance rebate opportunities, energy and cost savings calculators developed by Energy Smart and the U.S. Department of Energy, and Dakota County’s business recycling grant and assistance program. The City also shares water conservation strategies on an annual basis in the Annual Water Quality Report.
The City has placed energy efficiency and financing program resources for businesses and property owners on its website. Such resources include links to companies that provide personalized energy, environmental, sustainability audits and assistance.
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.
The City has placed resources for businesses and property owners on its website. Such resources include links to companies that provide personalized energy, environmental, sustainability, and waste audits and assistance.
North St. Paul promotes assistance to businesses on energy audits and energy assistance. The City's website has this information listed. Additionally the City had reached out in person to businesses to conduct energy audits for free in partnership with the Energy Smart Program. The City's Business Newsletter that is provided to business owners additionally promotes these programs.
The City of Oakdale promotes a number of resources on the city website for businesses to use to reduce their energy consumption. The city has also actively marketed educational materials and project financing programs directly to local businesses by direct mail and email.
The Red Wing community developed the "Green Wing" Energy Challenge in collaboration with Xcel Energy to encourage less energy use and the creation of more renewable sources across Red Wing. We’re challenging local businesses to save money and help the community by participating in simple energy saving programs.
The “Green Wing Energy Challenge” is designed to save local Red Wing business owners energy and money! Our goal is to make the process easier to understand by providing low-cost resources for general assistance, building assessments, and financing. Businesses may connect with a local Green Wing volunteer representative to coach them through the process. The 2016 - 2017 goal is to have 100 businesses participate in energy audits or other actionable energy efficiency programs.
The City of Richfield compiled a list of resources and programs that can help businesses strengthen their sustainability practices, especially in regards to energy efficiency and consumption. These programs include audits and consulting from industry experts, individualized action plans, financial assistance through grans or loans, staff training, and more. This information was shared on city social media as well as through the Richfield Chamber of Commerce's weekly newsletter to all local business members.
Rochester Public Utilities assists businesses and citizens with energy questions as well as energy audits and waste audits. RPU acts as a resource to connect business with trade allies who have experience dealing with RPU’s energy rebate programs. Since some businesses and homeowners may not know whom to contact for energy-efficient construction and audits, RPU provides a list of qualified firms to interested parties.
The City added a page to its website that details ways to reduce utility costs. It lists programs through the PCA, the Department of Commerce, and the City's energy companies (Xcel and Centerpoint). The information covers electricity, natural gas, and all other utilities. There is a separate Water Conservation tab that covers ways to audit a facilities water use.
The St. Cloud Area Sustainability Committee has worked extensively with Xcel Energy to make businesses and homeowners aware of the programs available for reducing energy costs including on-line and on-site energy audits. Xcel Energy presented their program options at a regular meeting of the Sustainability Committee and was a participant at the St. Cloud Area annual Sustainability Event to educate businesses and homeowners on available programs to reduce energy waste.
St. Louis Park produced an informational packet describing its Green Building Policy, and directing users to sources of assistance to assess and improve energy conservation, increase use of renewable energy, reduce waste, and prevent pollution.
The City of Saint Paul lists residential and business resources on its Sustainable Saint Paul website. Links to resources includes: Center for Energy and Environment which provides a range of practical and cost-effective programs to help Minnesota homeowners, businesses, nonprofits and governments reduce energy waste and save money; Home Energy Squad, a partnership between Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy for in-home energy services; links to Xcel Energy Home Rebates; Energy Innovation Corridor business programs and financing; and more.
The City updated it's business website to reflect the work we do behind the scenes to help our existing or future businesses go "greener".
Our Business Assistance website includes a multitude or resources for businesses to take advantage of - such as:
Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation- A Chamber of Commerce program to save money through waste reduction, resource conservation, and energy efficiency.
The Trillion BTU Energy Efficiency Improvement Program: to save Minnesota businesses money by reducing energy consumption by up to one trillion BTUs a year and be one of the first in the nation to use energy conservation as an economic development tool. The Saint Paul Port Authority is using Federal stimulus monies through the Minnesota Department of Commerce to create a business loan program.
Additional green resources include the Urban Initiative Loan Program, and One-Stop Efficiency Shop Lighting Retrofits.
Shoreview has and will continue to provide city assistance for projects that incorporate green/sustainable methods into development plans.
In 2012, Woodbury was asked by Xcel Energy to be a pilot city in its new Powering Your Community initiative. The goal of the program was to build on existing relationships with residents and businesses and to spread the word about Xcel’s energy conservation programs.