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: 6
1 star actions: 1
2 star actions: 1
3 star actions: 1

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
Pending - 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

Building Redevelopment {BP no.5}

Pending - 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

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

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Local Food {BP no.27}

Pending - 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