City Detail

Background Information

City of New Ulm
County: Brown
Population: 13242
GreenStep City category: A
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 100
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Derek Nelson
City Staff
507-233-2110
City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
GreenStep City resolution:
GreenStep City status and date: STEP 1 ( )

City Assessment Files and City Performance Metrics

City councils pass a resolution to join the GreenStep program and are recognized at Step 1. Step 2 and Step 3 recognition levels reflect completed city actions, reported and rated below with stars (1 star = good, 2 stars = better, 3 stars = best). The Assessment File below summarizes completed city actions in a short Word file. Step 4 recognition is awarded to cities who report a minimum number of core metrics for the previous calendar year. These metrics aim to show the aggregate, quantitative results of taking multiple GreenStep actions. Step 5 cities show improvement in the Step 4 metrics. See yearly data for Steps 4&5. Additional city data can be found by reviewing information on B3 Benchmarking and Regional Indicators Initiative.

Assessment File

Best Practice Actions Underway and Completed

Completed actions are denoted by stars.

Total completed actions: 19
1 star actions: 5
2 star actions: 7
3 star actions: 7

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings {BP no.1}

1 star - Action 1:

Enter/update building information into the MN B3 Benchmarking database, and routinely enter monthly usage data for all city-owned buildings/infrastructure that consume energy/water.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
The City of New Ulm has data entered for 16 buildings. Data on sites was initially entered in 2011 and was updated beginning in 2020 onward. Data is entered at a minimal four times a year to keep data current. Data entered for various city owned buildings range from electricity, natural gas, water, and steam. B3 benchmarking has been used to show others of past energy efficient endeavors and how those actions helped correct energy misuse and reduce consumption. Reports gathered from B3 benchmarking will be sent to department heads and utilized by our Energy Awareness Commission for thoughts and recommendations within City/PUC buildings. Data will likely be used to advertise to community members on energy savings accomplished by the City/PUC in newsletters and other means (i.e., home and health show). Additionally, within B3 Benchmarking it was found two buildings have great opportunity for improvement. Energy audits will be scheduled for these locations to reduce electric and natural gas consumption.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110
2 star - Action 2:

Make no/low cost indoor lighting and operational changes in city-owned/school buildings to reduce energy costs.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
Since 2018, City and Public Utility buildings have regularly upgraded lighting. Over twenty separate lighting upgrades have occurred within multiple locations. Each year department supervisors’ budget to finish sections of buildings yet completed. Public utility buildings have received some rebates from their wholesale power supplier to off-set the cost and payback.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
First year savings from these upgrades resulted in 49.1 kW, 152,819 kWh, and $18,211. City owned (non-utility) buildings also received rebates totaling $13,054 allowing the average payback to be 3.4 years.
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110
2 star - Action 4:

Implement IT efforts and city employee engagement to reduce plug loads, building energy use and workflow efficiency.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
New Ulm Public Utilities installed a Vending Miser on a beverage vending machine in the electrical department
breakroom. The Vending Miser is equipped with a motion/occupancy sensor and temperature monitor to help lower
energy consumption of the machine while keeping products at a correct temperature. The motion detection device
activates the machines electronics when someone enters the room and turns the machine off when the room is vacant for
15 minutes. The machine remains off unless the temperature monitor detects internal or external temperatures affecting
the products or the motion sensor is activated.
After data was collected it was shared with the City Park and Recreation Department. They have elected to install
Vending Misers in two facilities (Civic Center and Vogel Field House) on four beverage machines. The Public Utilities
will purchase Vending Misers for the Park and Recreation Department to help gather more information to share with local
schools to sway installation at their locations. The Public Utilities has also installed an additional Vending Miser at their
Material Distribution Center.
Annual savings from initial install was estimated to be $192.10 and 1,612 kwh yearly for one machine.
Additional savings will be captured when devices are purchased and installed at Park and Recreation facilities (six
machines with savings estimated at $1152 and 9672 kWh yearly).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Annual savings from initial install was estimated to be $192.10 and 1,612 kwh yearly for one machine.
Additional savings will be captured when devices are purchased and installed at Park and Recreation facilities (six
machines with savings estimated at $1152 and 9672 kWh yearly).
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals {BP no.4}

1 star - Action 2:

Purchase LEDs for all future street lighting and traffic signals.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2022
Implementation details:
Since 2012, New Ulm Public Utilities began replacing existing high-pressure sodium (HPS) light fixtures/bulbs with LED fixtures/bulbs. Additionally, an internal decision was made by electric departments supervisors to continue installing LED fixtures in newly developed areas of the community. The deciding factor to always install LED fixtures was the energy savings and the decrease in lineworker’s time spent changing HPS bulbs yearly. While this decision was not given to the overseeing Public Utility Commission for approval, it is visibly evident when driving throughout these new developments within the community and within internal department documentation.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110
3 star - Action 3:

Replace the city's existing street lighting with Dark Sky-compliant LEDs, modifying any city franchise/utility agreement and adding smart grid attributes.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2022
Implementation details:
New Ulm Public Utilities have replaced all existing street lighting to LED technology. Most LED converted streetlights range from 45-68 watts/5,030-7430 lumens all the way to 135 watts/15,000 lumens.

When HPS bulbs were used, these numbers ranged from 50 to 400 watts to capture the same number of lumens. The dramatic difference in wattage range due to LED design efficiency has resulted in a savings of 1,419,120 kWh (kilowatt hours) and 324 kW (kilowatts) since the conversion program began in 2012. A total of 3,622 streetlight fixtures have been changed to LED. This number included changes to existing lighting and new developments within the community. Additionally, dark sky compliant lighting has been installed when possible. All street lighting 26 to 31 feet high are dark sky compliant in New Ulm. Lighting installed is also capable of lumen adjustment if light in a particular area is excessive.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110
3 star - Action 8:

Replace the city's existing traffic signal indications with LEDs.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
Within New Ulm, there are nine intersections with traffic signal lights. At these locations there are 527 individual bulbs (Red, Amber, Green, Arrows, Pedestrian, Hand, etc.). All (100%) traffic lights were finished being converted to LED lighting
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110

Building Redevelopment {BP no.5}

3 star - Action 1:

Adopt an historic preservation ordinance/regulations and encourage adaptive reuse.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1996
Implementation details:
The City of New Ulm, with support from the Heritage Preservation Commission (established under Ordinance No. 95-007) has compiled a list of historical landmarks within the community. Of these locations, the majority are buildings that have been repurposed for alternative uses such as tourist attractions, museums, office spaces, and functional homes. Within these historical landmarks are three distinct historical districts established. They include Hauenstein Brewery Historic District, Commercial Center Historic District, and South Broadway Historic District. Additionally, the Heritage Preservation Commission with the help of Thomas R. Zahn & Associates, composed the Downtown Preservation Design Guidelines which provides building preservation and rehabilitation information for property owners within the downtown New Ulm Historic District. The City of New Ulm also offers a Signage and Awning Grant Program. Between 2012- 2013, a building on the National Register of Historic Places was rehabilitated into a mult-use community building that kept historic design elements and is home to arts and culture organization within New Ulm. This location was eligible to use the Historic Tax Credit. This allowed for additional monies towards LED lighting and energy efficiency upgrades to heating and cooling. The latest building to utilize the Historic Tax credit was an old high school that was revamped into an apartment with 49 units. This recent rehabilitation included energy efficient upgrades that included district energy (steam). City of New Ulm has been a Certified Local Government (CLG) since 1996.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110

Transportation Transportation

Living & Complete Streets {BP no.11}

2 star - Action 1:

Adopt a complete streets policy, or a living streets policy, which addresses landscaping and stormwater.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The policy was adopted by the New Ulm City Coucil at their regular meeting held on October 18, 2016

Introduction
The goal of complete streets is a transportation system that is accessible, equitable, and adapted to serve the needs of individuals regardless of how they choose to travel. Complete streets is a transportation network approach that considers the needs of all users, including:

Bicyclists
Commercial and emergency vehicles
Motorists
Pedestrians
Transit users
Vision & Purpose
The City of New Ulm's Complete Streets Policy will assist in the establishment of transportation corridors that are safe, functional, encourage active transportation, and aesthetically attractive for all users. This Policy will help guide decision-makers in planning, designing, and constructing transportation networks to reasonably accommodate all anticipated users.


Policy
The City of New Ulm will consider the safety and accessibility of users of all abilities and transportation modes through the design, operation, and maintenance of the transportation network. This approach will help create a connected network of facilities that accommodates each method of transportation that is consistent with and supportive of the local community. The Policy recognizes that streets are different and the needs of various users will be considered in a balanced and flexible manner.


Improvements
Transportation network improvements may include facilities and amenities that contribute to Complete Streets. This includes but is not limited to street and sidewalk lighting, sidewalk and pedestrian ramp construction, and bicycle infrastructure improvements.

Early consideration of all transportation modes will be important for this policy to succeed. Those that plan and design roadway improvement projects will give consideration to all users from the beginning of the planning and design process to its conclusion. This will require interested individuals and groups to provide input through the New Ulm Safety Commission at least 6 months in advance of the yearly Capital Improvement Program development process.


Project Development Process
The project development process will include consideration of the land use and transportation context of the project along with relevant information from the Comprehensive Plan for the City of New Ulm. Gaps and deficiencies in the transportation network for various user groups will be considered and an assessment made of the tradeoffs necessary to balance those needs. Review and input from the City's Safety Commission and other interested individuals or groups will be taken into consideration during the project development process. A Complete Streets segment may be achieved through a single improvement project or through a series of improvement projects over a period of time. Factors that may be given high priority include whether:

The corridor is in an area where a high amount of active transportation and pedestrian traffic can be anticipated
The corridor provides primary access across a natural or man-made barrier such as a river or highway
The corridor provides primary access to a significant destination such as:
Employment Centers
Grocery Stores
Health Care Facilities
Parks
Recreation Centers
Schools
Shopping Centers
Nearby routes that provide a similar level of convenience and connectivity already exist
A road corridor provides important continuity or connectivity links for the existing recreational trail network
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110
2 star - Action 5:

Identify and remedy street-trail gaps between city streets and off-road trails/bike trails to better facilitate walking and biking.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
Besides New Ulm's paved off-road bike trail, there are other locations within city limts that were developed for bicyclists. Such is an example on South Payne St. to South Garden St. through North Garden St. This on-street route allows bicyclists to safetly access three schools and the Vogel Fieldhouse. In addition, there is an underpass for walkers-bicyclists so they need not cross Highway 14 to access grocery, hardware, and other retail stores. The streets have markings for bicyclists and signage for motorists to share the road.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110
2 star - Action 6:

Implement traffic calming policy/measures, including lane conversions (road diets), roundabouts, low-speed streets, shared space and depaving, in at least one street redevelopment project.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
Bump-outs have been incorporated within the city. Attached is a bump-out located at Johnson Park (baseball field) and further up the street at Johnson Field (football field) to help crossing the street safer for pedestrians by narrowing the crossing distance and increasing visability for a person and vehicles. Additionally, vegatation was included at the Johnson Park bump-out for enviromental benefits such as water run-off.

Three round-abouts have been installed within city limits. The first is located on HWY 14 and attaches to the bike trail. The other is located on Oak St. and N. Highland and was installed due to the construction of a new public high school in that area. The third location was installed HWY 14 south of New Ulm due to city expansion.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110

Mobility Options {BP no.12}

3 star - Action 1:

Increase walking, biking and transit use by one or more of the following means:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The City of New Ulm has a 13-mile bike/walking loop around the city. The paved recreation trail is marked by "bike route" and "1/2 mile" markers which also includes benches along the way.

Maps of the trail can also be obtained though the New Ulm Chamber of Commerce and Explore Minnesota webpages. The City of New Ulm has also included the bike trail on its webpage GIS portal that all can view.

New Ulm has been a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community since 2017.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110
1 star - Action 2:

Conduct an Active Living campaign such as a Safe Routes to School program.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
Implementation details:
New Ulm implemented a Safe Routes to School program (SRTS) in 2015 with extensive community support and involvement from local partners such as the Heart of New Ulm and Coalition for Active, Safe, and Healthy Streets. New Ulm Public School District realized the first step to creating a Safe Routes to School program was to create a plan. The district applied and was awarded the MnDOT Planning Assistance Grant facilitated by Region Nine Development Commission.

Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Community Forests and Soils {BP no.16}

3 star - Action 1:

Certify as a Tree City USA.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2022
Implementation details:
City of New Ulm has been recognized as a Tree City USA for over 19 years. City of New Ulm is advised by the Tree Commission Advisory Commission (TAC) which is funded by the City of New Ulm. Participants of the commission are all volunteers who can serve two-consecutive three-year terms. This advisory commission additionally has a yearly budget that varies yearly. TAC budget amounts help support:
• diseased tree and boulevard tree reimbursements
• contractual services
• tree pest policy and education
• printing and pamphlet material for utility newsletters
• Home and Health Show booths
Including TAC funds, a total of $134,417 was reported in 2020 to the Arbor Day Foundation Program-Tree City USA. The totaled amount attributed to management (public education, training, park tree inventory), utility line clearance, tree removal, tree maintenance, and tree purchases. The total expenditure per capita is $10.07.
From 2011 until 2019 the New Ulm Public Utilities offered a rebate to customers purchasing shade trees to conserve energy. Between this time, 318 trees where rebated totaling $32,688. Interestingly, this program began in the mid-late 1990s, but data is no longer available prior to 2011.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110
2 star - Action 6:

Build community capacity to protect existing trees by one or more of:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2022
Implementation details:
The buckthorn removal program, led by citizen volunteer(s), was established. The volunteer(s) report findings and activities to the local Tree Advisory Commission and have a small section within the City of New Ulm’s website to inform cities on buckthorn identification and removal.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110

Stormwater Management {BP no.17}

1 star - Action 2:

Complete the GreenStep Municipal Stormwater Management Assessment.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2022
Implementation details:
Stormwater Management Assessment was completed by the city engineer. New Ulm's Stormwater Assessment Score was 28% and Climate Adaptation Score was 33%.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110

Parks and Trails {BP no.18}

3 star - Action 8:

Develop a program to involve community members in hands-on land restoration, invasive species management and stewardship projects.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2022
Implementation details:
 Adopt A Park: To organize a volunteer effort to clean, beautify, develop, and build pride in the parks or trails of New Ulm. This program aims to generate a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for individuals and organizations who participate in assisting with beautification of our city parks and trails. Participants in the Adopt a Park or Trail Program will assist to improve the appearance and quality of our community and lead toward a cleaner, healthier environment

 The buckthorn removal program, led by citizen volunteer(s), was established. The volunteer(s) report findings and activities to the local Tree Advisory Commission and have a small section within the City of New Ulm’s website to inform cities on buckthorn identification and removal.

 Staffed by New Ulm Park and Recreation youth employees, The Puppet Wagon is a traveling puppeteer show that travels throughout locations and parks in New Ulm with weekly performances in the months of June and July.

 New Ulm Rec on the Go is a free program made possible through partnerships with New Ulm Area Community Education and New Ulm Park and Recreation. New Ulm Rec on the Go travel to different locations throughout New Ulm and allow the community to participate in games, crafts, and more.

 City of New Ulm Pollinator Park-Events have been held at the park to bring awareness and help promote and maintain a healthy city environment for pollinators and citizens by exploring the pollinator park. Volunteer citizens of New Ulm help maintain the park. The pollinator park was established on unused city property.

 New Ulm Community Garden is available for citizens of New Ulm on unused City property.

Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110

Efficient Water and Wastewater Systems {BP no.20}

3 star - Action 1:

Compare the energy use and financial performance of your facilities with other peer facilities using standardized, free tools.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2022
Implementation details:
New Ulm Public Utilities (NUPU) Water and Wastewater plants both had positive net incomes for the last 5 years according to the state auditor’s Water and Sewer Enterprise Funds tool. Water and Wastewater buildings have utility consumption entered into B3 Benchmarking database beginning in 2013 to the current date. NUPU Wastewater Treatment Facility was also recognized by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in 2020/2021 for maintaining a perfect record of permit compliance.

New Ulm Public Utilities drinking water produced and delivered, in kWh per 1,000 gallons, over the last five yearsaveraged 1.16 kWh. B3 Peer rates water plant in 76th percentile.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Local Food {BP no.27}

1 star - Action 2:

Facilitate creation of home/community gardens, chicken & bee keeping, and incorporation of food growing areas/access in multifamily and residential developments.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
With approval of abutting property owners, a resident can apply for a permit for up to four
chickens (hens only). This is allowed under Ordinance No. 14-120, amending Section 8.29 of the City
Code of the City of New Ulm relative to keeping animals. This ordinance amending Section 8.39 of
the city code was approved on September 2, 2014.

Since the chicken permit was established in 2015 there have been 13 permits issued, no permits
have been denied. There are currently five active permits, the rest have discontinued housing
chickens or have moved. Permits need to be renewed every two years.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
13 permits issued, no permitshave been denied. There are currently five active permits, the rest have discontinued housing
chickens or have moved. Permits need to be renewed every two years.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110
2 star - Action 3:

Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
The community of New Ulm provides many opportunities promoting local food production and distribution within city limits.
• During 18 weeks of the year, New Ulm holds the KNUJ Farmers’ Market at a local Cash Wise Foods parking lot.
• In 2016, the local public high school installed a greenhouse which also consist of hydroponic and aquaponic systems with a 10kW solar system. The
public high school has sold seedlings of produce and flowers in the past.
• The New Ulm Community Market and Cooperative is a member owned food co-op. NUCMC operates in New Ulm’s historic downtown district and is
open year-round on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
• There are a handful of CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture) location within 5 and 25 miles of New Ulm with pickup sites in New Ulm (Alternative
Roots, Guldan Family Farm, Sleepy Bison Acres, Nature’s Pantry Farm).
• There are at least four NAICS codes 445110 locations in New Ulm (Wal Mart, Hy Vee, Cash Wise Foods, Aldi USA)
• In 2013, New Ulm Community Garden was established on City owned property. The community garden consists of 70 different plots at
approximately 100 square feet each.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Derek Nelson (City Staff) | DerekN@newulmmn.gov | 507-233-2110