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    City of Albert Lea  


Background Information

County:   Freeborn
Population:   17,815
GreenStep City category:   A

Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.):   130

Participating township, county, school:


GreenStep City resolution:   Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date:   STEP 3 (06/15/2017)

GreenStep Coordinator

Jerry Gabrielatos
City staff
jgabrielatos@ci.albertlea.mn.us
507-377-4316

City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
cityofalbertlea.org

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 Files below summarize completed city actions in a short Word file. Step 4 recognition is awarded each June to cities who report a minimum number of optional (and a few high-priority/core) metrics for the previous calendar year. These metrics - see guidance documents for them at http://www.betterenergy.org/step4 - aim to show the aggregate, quantitative results of taking multiple GreenStep actions. Step 5 cities show improvement beyond minimum thresholds in the Step 4 metrics. See yearly data in the Metrics Files below.

Assessment Files
2017 - click to view assessment

 


Best Practice Actions Underway and Completed

Completed actions are denoted by stars. Mouse over a star for its definition.
Total completed actions: 47     1-star actions: 22     2-star actions: 15     3-star actions: 10    







Buildings and Lighting   Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings
{ BP no. 1 }

Complete the Building Editor for each city-owned building; identify the person responsible for routinely entering data; enter current (at least once/90 days), consecutive monthly energy use data ongoing; also best to enter 12 consecutive months of historical energy use data.
Complete 1 Star criterion and enter 24 consecutive months of historical data; routinely validate newly entered data by looking at patterns/trends and inconsistencies; correct inaccurate entries and identify potential opportunities for energy savings.
Complete 1 and 2 Star criteria, routinely ID energy-related operations and maintenance issues and poorer performing buildings for follow-up action; routinely enter current and consecutive (monthly or quarterly as available) water use data ongoing.
Action 1: Enter building information into the Minnesota B3 Benchmarking database and routinely enter monthly energy, water use data for all city-owned buildings.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Implement changes in one poorer-performing building and summarize the actions taken: updating temperature, ventilation and lighting schedules and setbacks; installing building-wide computer and office equipment power management software; assigning responsibility for turning off manual lights and other shared equipment; assuring that routine HVAC maintenance schedules are thorough and implemented at appropriate intervals; revising janitorial schedules to day-time hours; adjusting janitorial responsibilities to include regular cleaning of sensors, lamps and HVAC vents; installing lower-flow faucet aerators, dish sprayers, and showerheads to reduce hot water use.
Complete 1 Star criterion for two buildings. Post the Print Screen of the Baseline tab for one of the buildings with the Energy gauge showing at least a 5% decrease in energy use compared to the baseline period [12 months immediately prior to implementing changes]. Continue fine-tuning operations and maintenance procedures and monitoring energy usage to identify opportunities for additional savings.
Complete 1 and 2 Star criteria for two buildings. Use B3 to report at least a 10% decrease in energy use compared to the baseline period.
Action 2: Make no/low cost indoor lighting and operational changes in city-owned/school buildings to reduce energy costs.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Complete retrocommissioning and/or retrofitting work on one building. Summarize the actions taken. Update the B3 Building Editor as needed and change the Baseline Time Period to report energy/cost savings.
Complete retrocommissioning and/or retrofitting work financed by an energy performance contract, utility rebate or other means on two or more buildings. Post a print screen of B3 data to report energy/cost reductions.
Complete 1 and 2 Star criteria. In addition, use GESP or implement an internal program or use an external program/vendor that institutionalizes, and provides funding / incentives for, ongoing reductions in energy use by city-owned buildings (e.g. internal loan fund, shared savings with employees, capital budgeting based on energy savings, performance incentives and accountability, etc.).
Action 3: Invest in larger energy efficiency projects through performance contracting or other funding or through smaller retro-commissioning/retrofit projects in city-owned/school buildings.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Install a building management system for city buildings for control via office computer or home laptop; implement power management of computers and other information technology energy saving strategies. Report actions taken and results achieved.
Engage employees to turn off, unplug, enable power management (if not controlled by building-wide IT software), or set timers on equipment, lights and chargers; minimize/use efficient models of personal appliances (personal refrigerators, space heaters, fans, coffee pots, etc.); use task lights instead of ceiling fixtures; optimize active use of windows, doors and interior shading devices to conserve energy. Report actions taken and results achieved.
Complete 1 and 2 Star criteria.
Action 4: Implement information technology efforts and city employee engagement to reduce plug loads and building energy use.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals
{ BP no. 4 }

Have a purchasing practice/policy/utility franchise agreement that specifies EnergyStar traffic signals.
Have a purchasing practice/policy/utility franchise agreement that specifies Dark-Sky street lighting. Streetlights should provide at least 75 lumens/watt (as do LEDs).
Document a purchasing policy/utility franchise agreement that requires LEDs for all new street lighting and traffic signals.
Action 2: Purchase LEDs for all future street lighting and traffic signals.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Signal lights go into “flash mode” during certain hours of the day; report synchronized traffic signals, flashing yellow left turn arrow signals, installation of detectors in at least 10% of city signals (operated under traffic actuated/responsive mode). Report roundabouts under best practice action 11.6
Work with the county/MnDOT to interconnect traffic signals and coordinate them in one corridor; install one or more bicycle crossing signal detectors.
Work with the county/MnDOT to interconnect/coordinate among traffic signals and synchronize them along several corridors.
Action 4: Coordinate traffic signals and/or optimize signal timing so as minimize car idling at intersections yet maintain safe and publicly acceptable vehicle speeds.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Install at least one LED/solar-powered flashing sign, for example, warning flashers and wayfinding/signage lighting.
Install PV-powered or LED lighting as a pilot in a street, parking lot or park project. Examples include seasonally used park lighting (ice rinks, lighting in flood-prone areas, etc.).
Install routinely, as matter of policy, LED or solar powered lighting in street, parking lot or park projects.
Action 5: Use LED/solar-powered lighting for a flashing sign or in a street, parking lot or park project.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Replace 1/3 of city's existing traffic signals.
Replace 2/3 of city's existing traffic signals; replace half and document savings.
Replace 100% of city's existing traffic signals.
Action 8: Replace the city's existing traffic signals with LEDs.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Building Redevelopment
{ BP no. 5 }

Complete an historic resources survey of the city to determine which buildings are community assets and have more potential for reuse due to potential access to financial incentives.
Designate a historic district; incorporate historic preservation-friendly language into the city’s zoning code and/or into regulatory ordinances (relating to signs and other design guidelines); adopt an historic preservation ordinance (which typically establishes an historic preservation commission); incentivize historic preservation.
Become a Certified Local Government (CLG) for historic preservation; pair rehab financial incentives with energy and resource conservation, indoor air quality and other green building practices.
Action 1: Adopt an historic preservation ordinance/regulations to encourage adaptive reuse.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Land Use   Land Use

Comprehensive Plans
{ BP no. 6 }

Adopt a comp plan that is less than ten years old or adopt a land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity less than 15 years ago, or Category B & C cities may adopt a city vision that looks at least 20 years into the future.
Include in your plan a sustainability section/chapter, an active living/placemaking/bike-ped section, or integrate sustainability goals and strategies into all chapters of your comprehensive plan, or articulate land development principles for creating a complete, compact and connected community. Report climate protection or energy independence goals and objectives under action 6.5
Adopt a development goal that new/infill projects generate enough tax revenue to pay for the related public infrastructure maintenance/replacement over multiple life cycles; reference a capital improvement plan that catalogues public system maintenance obligations by date and cost; create 'green zones' that focus environmental improvements in under-served areas of the city.
Action 1: Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Document where in the zoning code or development regulation the comprehensive plan is referenced as a foundational document or that the purpose of the code is to implement the comprehensive plan.
Comprehensive plan referenced in all land use and development ordinances and regulations in addition to zoning code ordinances.
Individual ordinances or ordinance sections should be introduced with a "Purposes" section that includes language such as the following: "The XXX regulations specifically implement the following goals from the Comprehensive Plan: "
Action 2: Demonstrate that regulatory ordinances comply with the comprehensive plan including but not limited to having the zoning ordinance explicitly reference the comprehensive plan as the foundational document for decision making.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Resilient City Growth
{ BP no. 7 }

Document the existence of a district meeting the FAR standard and/or zero-lot line.
Achieve 1 Star rating AND locate the higher intensity district near higher density housing, assuming the allowed commercial land uses are compatible.
The number of retail entrances per 330 feet in a downtown retail district ranges between 8 and 13; employment density of 25+ jobs/acre in compact areas; a maximum block perimeter of 2000' in a downtown zoning district.
Action 3: Encourage a higher intensity of commercial land uses through at least one of the following strategies:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Include in the city zoning ordinance and zoning map a commercial district with reduced lot sizes and zero-lot-line setbacks, or a FAR minimum of 1.

b. Set targets for the minimum number of employees/acre in different commercial zones.


Mixed Uses
{ BP no. 8 }

Describe to what degree the district used the Minnesota Model Ordinances for Sustainable Development.
Existence of horizontal mixed use; a downtown overlay district; light industrial uses.
Allow mixed use of office, retail, educational, civic, and residential units all located within the same building.
Action 5: Have a downtown zoning district that allows residential and compatible commercial development.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Transportation   Transportation

Living Streets
{ BP no. 11 }

A city council resolution to develop standards; a policy governing city-owned streets; routine consideration of complete streets elements in all streets projects; explicit complete streets comp/strategic plan direction, that expresses the city's intent to facilitate multi-modal transportation (at least one route for each mode).
A city-council-adopted complete streets policy and implementation criteria.
A Living Streets policy; modify street design standards/practices according to policy, addressing multimodal transportation, trees and stormwater; possible additional elements include align new streets to give buildings energy-efficient passive solar orientations; address public art in the street right-of-way; use a sustainable infrastructure tool.
Action 1: Adopt a complete streets policy that also addresses street trees and stormwater.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Summarize the complete streets elements - grey infrastructure such as adding sidewalks, bumpouts, bike lanes, truck routes, broad band, smart grid.
Summarize the complete streets (re)construction project and its green infrastructure elements - street trees, vegetation, rain gardens, permeable pavement, stormwater capture and re-use, etc. Note if a utility franchise fee (vs. special assessments) was used.
Use the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System; implement a "dig once" plan/policy (installing conduit/other underground capacity that can accept future infrastructure such as fiber optics without digging up the street); report lower cost of project (capital costs and/or anticipated maintenance costs) compared to reconstructing roads with no changes.
Action 3: Modify a street in compliance with the city's complete streets policy.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Measures such as streetscaping, bump-outs, raised cross walks, intersection markings, medians and narrower lane widths. Report temporary or permanent parklet installations under action 14.1
Measures such as roundabouts, and road diets where 3 lanes replace 4 lanes of a road with under 20,000 average annual daily traffic counts.
Measures from street reclaiming, naked streets, shared space, woonerfs, and Paint the Pavement approaches; diverging diamond interchange; a multi-modal Level of Service metric developed and applied to road projects; conversion of underused/redundant roads to gravel roads, stormwater management, energy generation, etc.
Action 6: Implement traffic calming measures, including road diets, roundabouts, shared space and depaving, in at least one street redevelopment project.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Mobility Options
{ BP no. 12 }

A basic map that shows (by neighborhood if a larger city) key civic/commercial sites, best bike and pedestrian routes, and transit routes and schedules; as needed distribute print materials in different languages; report increases in walk/bike counts.
Installed infrastructure such as designed bike or pedestrian or transit facilities like park and ride lots (report sidewalks/bike lanes under action 11.4), OR document the increase in employeer-offered transportation fringe benefits, OR report a Walk Score of 70+ or an increase in your city's Walk Score.
Be recognized as a Bicycle or Walk Friendly Community, OR require routine installation of infrastructure, such as bike parking, for all new multifamily and non-residential developments, OR allow property owners to substitute bike parking spaces for required car parking spaces.
Action 1: Promote walking, biking and transit use by one or more of the following means:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Produce/distribute route maps, signage or a web site.

b. Document increased bike facilities, such as racks, bike stations or showers.

c. Add bus infrastructure, such as signage, benches, shelters, park and ride lots, and real-time arrival data-streaming.

d. Increase the number of employers promoting multiple commuting options, including offering qualified transportation fringe benefits instead of only a tax-free parking fringe benefit.

e. Be recognized as a Walk Friendly or Bicycle Friendly Community.


Describe elements of a SRTS program in which the city is involved; note how many schools are affected, how the program addresses evaluation, encouragement, education, engineering, and enforcement, and whether the city worked in concert with the local community health board. Report shared use agreements between cities and school parks under action 18.1
Describe key elements of your non-SRTS efforts, such as which actions you are challenging which number of people/organizations to take, and how long the campaign is/will run; report collaboration/funding from your local Community Health Board (SHIP funding); host an Open Streets or Ciclovias event to temporarily make a street a pedestrian-only zone.
Report outcome measures, such as increased walking/biking in the community, improved health outcomes, percent student body covered by SRTS programming, and school bus fuel savings.
Action 2: Launch an Active Living campaign such as a Safe Routes to School program.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Action 3: Prominently identify mobility options: transit; paratransit/Dial-A-Ride; cab service; rental cars; bikes.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Add or expand transit in your city or between your city and other destinations, working with other units of local governments as needed.
Add/expand Saturday or Sunday bus service; assist in the creation of or promote the existance of a car sharing business or bike sharing business/service; embed a transit station/stop in a transit-oriented/mixed-use district. Report supportive changes in parking requirements under action 14.1
Schedule transit service for at least every 30 minutes during peak hours so that 75% of city addresses are within 1/2 mile of a transit stop.
Action 6: Add/expand transit service, or promote car/bike sharing.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Efficient City Fleets
{ BP no. 13 }

Police patrols on bike, foot, Segway or horseback.
City inspectors or other staff on bike, foot or horseback.
Report outcome measures resulting from actions: decreased costs, reduced vehicle miles traveled, fleet reductions, or other metrics.
Action 4: Phase in bike, foot or horseback modes for police, inspectors and other city staff.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Implement at least two strategies, which can include training drivers in fuel-efficient driving, adopting a no idling policy/practice. Report Safe Routes to School (shifting students from the bus to biking/walking) implementation results under best practice action 12.2
Use of route optimizer software, or city buses, or other techniques to reduce bus usage.
Documentation (including energy and costs) of implementation of actions.
Action 5: Document that the local school bus fleet has optimized routes, start times, boundaries, vehicle efficiency and fuels, driver actions to cut costs including idling reduction, and shifting students from the bus to walking, biking and city transit.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Environmental Management   Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing
{ BP no. 15 }

Have a written policy/guidelines/practices specifying at minimum the purchase of Energy Star equipment/appliances and recycled-content paper (at least 30% post-consumer). Don't report street lighting/traffic signal policy/purchases here, report them under action 4.2; vehicle policy/purchases under 13.2 and 13.3
Have a formal policy adopted by the city council; note if this includes centralized purchasing into one office/person.
For the city’s top 10 categories of spend, track the purchases of sustainable products/services purchased annually compared to non-sustainable products/services purchased; join with other cities in joint purchasing of environmentally preferable products and summarize EPP purchases.
Action 1: Adopt a sustainable purchasing policy or administrative guidelines/practices directing that the city purchase at least:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. EnergyStar certified equipment and appliances and

b. Paper containing at least 30% post-consumer recycled content.


Purchase at least 30% renewably generated electricity: grid power plus either purchasing renewable energy credits ("green tags") and/or electricity from a solar garden and/or city PV installation. Report bulk-buying of renewables equipment for city employee installation under action 26.4; report city promotion of resident/business purchases from a community solar garden under 26.4 or 26.6
Purchase electricity, natural gas, liquid fuels & steam heat such that in total energy content renewables make up at least 35%.
Purchase up to 120% of electricity for city operations from a solar garden; purchase electricity, natural gas, liquid fuels & steam heat such that in total energy content renewables make up at least 50%; join the Green Power Partnership.
Action 2: Purchase energy used by city government with a higher renewable percentage than required by Minnesota law.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Follow latest MnDOT specifications for recycled glass and aggregate in roadbeds.
All paving projects incorporate recycled asphalt (RAP); use recycled plastic manhole adjusting rings.
Follow MnDOT specs for RAP and shingles (asphalt shingle manufacturing scrap and/or shingle tear-off scrap) in asphalt mixtures.
Action 5: Set minimum standards for the percentage of recycled-content material in asphalt and roadbed aggregate or other construction materials.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Adopt a policy or adopt practices for meetings and events hosted by city government addressing issues such as solid waste generated (e.g., paperless city council packets), transit/carpooling to meetings/events. This could include distributing educational materials about holding a no-waste event for use at city-supported events such as National Night Out / Night to Unite. Report broad educational material distributed at events under action 24.4
Achieve 1-star rating and also include a policy for meetings and events taking place on city property, including parks and libraries; include healthy/local/organic food elements.
Achieve 2-star rating and work with at least the largest private venue in the city (such as a conference center) to cut waste generation by at least 1/3 and to increase recycling by at least 1/3.
Action 7: Lower the environmental footprint of meetings and events in the city.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Urban Forests
{ BP no. 16 }

Certified for current year.
Certified for 30 or more years, or recent recipient of a Growth award.
Certified for at least 10 years with an annual tree budget (for maintenance, planting, replacements, removals) of at least $8 per resident (4X the Tree City requirement) or have calculated and publicized the financial and other benefits of trees to your city.
Action 1: Certify as a Tree City USA.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Adopt MN Tree Trust Best Practices, MN Stormwater Manual tree design guidelines or the like.
Use guidelines in at least one development project; document that the development achieves an excellent or better Tree Trust rating, or assess the performance of tree trenches and tree boxes.
Incorporate adopted tree planting best practices in development ordinances; show with data that 'plant once' practices are decreasing the number of dying boulevard trees that must be replanted.
Action 2: Adopt best practices for urban tree planting/quality; use them in at least one development project.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Street trees are provided on both sides of at least 60% of the main downtown street at intervals averaging no more than about 40 feet, excluding driveways and utility vaults. Report living snow fences under action 9.3
Major effort providing or offering residents / businesses trees to plant on private property.
Maximize tree planting/landscaping on the entire blocks along mainstreet by, for example, funneling money from a business improvement district to alley plantings, pocket/corner parks, parking lot plantings behind buildings, a community depaving party, and the like.
Action 4: Maximize tree planting along your main downtown street or throughout the city.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


For smaller cities: at least one volunteer is a Minnesota Certified Tree Inspector or a Minnesota Forest Pest First Detector.
City has written and begun implementing a community emerald ash borer preparedness plan/climate change adaptation plan for urban forests; city tree canopy follows "5-10-15" rule-of-thumb.
At least one city staff member is a Certified Forester, a landscape horticulture professional, or holds Tree Inspector and First Detector certification; city staff provide free assistance to residents/businesses.
Action 6: Build community capacity to protect existing trees/plant resilient species by certifying at least one or more local staff/volunteers.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Stormwater Management
{ BP no. 17 }

Install, require and/or provide guidelines for rain gardens, rain barrels, parking lots (salt use reduction/alternatives, French drains, etc.) or pervious pavement; report that all city staff are developing guidelines that use the updated precipitation data in Atlas 14.
Install, require, incentivize and/or provide guidelines for green roofs, cisterns, neighborhood water storage, rainwater harvesting to supplant irrigation with drinking water, and other stormwater reuse. Report storage and reuse of stormwater for golf course/parkland irrigation under best practice action 18.5c.
Have an ongoing retrofit program to reduce pollutant loads and stormwater volume from existing neighborhoods that requires one or more of the stormwater practices in this action; aim for zero stormwater discharge in a development project.
Action 5: Adopt and implement guidelines or design standards/incentives for at least one of the following stormwater infiltration/reuse practices:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Rain gardens/infiltration practices.

b. Rainwater harvesting practices.

c. Green alleys or green parking lots.

d. Pervious/permeable pavement or pavers.

e. Green roofs / green walls.

f. Tree trenches / tree boxes.


Surface Water Quality
{ BP no. 19 }

Action 2: Support a multi-party community conversation around improving local water quality.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Have a shoreland ordinance approved by the DNR or one consistent with state-wide shoreland standards (MR 6120.2500-06120.3900).
Adopt the Alternative Shoreland Standards or similar alternatives reviewed and consistent with recommendations of the DNR Area hydrologist that exceed the minimum standards of the DNR shoreland rules.
Document 60-75% forested shoreland; achieve 2 Star rating and include one or both of: (1) a menu of mitigation measures, one or more of which to be attached to shoreland variances; (2) provisions for restoration of shore impact area and vegetative buffer with permanent protection for all new shoreland development.
Action 4: Adopt a shoreland ordinance for all river and lake shoreland areas.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Efficient Water and Wastewater Systems
{ BP no. 20 }

Calculate your waste water plant's benchmark by dividing average daily energy use by typical flow in MGD (millions of gallons per day). Report energy use for drinking water produced and delivered in kWh per 1,000 gallons (typically between 0.25 to 3.5 kWh). Report water system losses under action 20.3 Report protection efforts that sustain facility function during extreme weather under action 29.7
Use B3, Portfolio Manager or the like to report several years of historic data; note how all water and waste water facilities compare to similar plants.
Report that the Sewer, and Drinking Water, Enterprise funds have had 5+ years Positive Net Income; rank in the best 25% of Upper Midwest peer plants.
Action 1: Compare the energy use and financial performance of your facilities with other peer plants using standardized, free tools.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Create a motor replacement plan for key motors, to at least maintain efficient operation and preferably improve it.
Upgrade SCADA systems to use existing flow and amperage or kilowatt measurements as a real-time efficiency measure for key equipment.
Review energy use for proposed plant upgrades at current volumes of water treated as well as at design capacity to verify the plant will run efficiently over the range of expected flow rates.
Action 2: Plan and budget for motor maintenance and upgrades so as to assure the most energy efficient, durable and appropriate equipment is available when upgrades or break downs occur.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Create a program backed by ordinance for inspecting household/business gutters, foundation drains, sump pump connections, drain tile, lateral service lines, and/or inspections of city-owned sewer lines; report types of water system preventive maintenance. Report an adopted wellhead protection plan under action 6.3
Make sewer inspections mandatory at the time of property transfers, street reconstructions; require repairs or provide incentives such as 50% reimbursement to property owners to make repairs or enact utility bill surcharges for owners who are non-compliant with I&I standards; report water system leak detection and water meter calibration, replacement and automation.
Report outcomes from I&I and water loss programs, such as # of disconnects, % clearwater reduction, GPD removed, water supply leaks (unaccounted/non-revenue water loss; should be under 5%), money saved at the wastewater treatment plant, capital costs avoided by being able to defer capacity additions.
Action 3: Establish an on-going budget and program for decreasing inflow and infiltration into sewer lines and losses in drinking water systems.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Assist local businesses and institutions with water conservation measures; assist in pre-treating and lowering volumes and toxicity of sewer inflows.
Reuse water (sell reclaimed water) from a wastewater plant for nonpotable ag-processing, irrigation, cooling or power plant uses; require businesses to take steps to keep grease out of sewer lines.
Co-generate electricity and heat through anaerobic digestion at the wastewater treatment plant/system; comp plan/zoning that guides high-capacity non-potable users to within 2-5 miles of a waste water treatment plant.
Action 6: Implement a wastewater plant efficiency project, or program for local private business operations: co-generation, water reuse, pretreatment, water conservation, business co-location.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Septic Systems
{ BP no. 21 }

Periodic or ongoing tracking, inspections, report review, and/or outreach to system owners.
Require inspections on a set timetable, at time of sale or when a building permit is pulled; require failing systems to be upgraded within 12 or fewer months.
Provide financial assistance for bringing systems into compliance.
Action 1: Report to landowners suspected noncompliant or failing septic systems as part of an educational, informational and financial assistance and outreach program designed to trigger voluntary landowner action to improve septic systems.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


County is the RME; city promotion of MPCA-licensed septic service providers.
Management through a subordinate service district sponsored by the city.
RME is the city, who monitors systems conditions, requires submittal of maintenance pumping records, does compliance inspections.
Action 3: Clarify/establish one or more responsible management entities for the proper design, siting, installation, operation, monitoring and maintenance of septic systems.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Participate in a county, state or federal program or use one-time grant or loan financing.
Base homeowner upgrade repayments on the value of the property rather than on the credit-worthiness of the owner.
Use a city revenue bond, repayable through taxpayers' property taxes.
Action 5: Create a program to finance septic system upgrades.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Promote/assist in the design and construction of clustered/shared septic systems; extend central sewer system service.
Constructed wetland treatment, recirculating ozone system in place.
Composting toilets and greywater system in place.
Action 6: Work with homeowners and businesses in environmentally sensitive areas and areas where standard septic systems are not the least-cost option to promote innovative waste water systems, including central sewer extensions.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Economic and Community Development   Economic and Community Development

Benchmarks & Community Engagement
{ BP no. 24 }

A staff green team, or small working group (e.g., city manager, council member, citizen commission chair) exists; annual news article/media to community members referencing GreenStep (& other programs as relevant); city web has a link to city's GreenStep web page.
A citizens group, or a citizens commission or committee of city staff/officials exists to lead and coordinate GreenStep implementation; a report available online with details on city's GreenStep accomplishments.
A committee of city staff/officials and community members (business, education, religious) exists; annual report includes some metrics, such as dollars spent/saved, energy saved, and any sustainability indicators measured, and energy/carbon inventory data or ecological footprint data if gathered.
Action 1: Use a committee to lead, coordinate and report to community members on implementation of GreenStep best practices.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Report goals/outcomes annually from plans such as comprehensive, parks, library, housing, stormwater, drinking water, transportation, economic development, energy, sustainability. Issue a city Performance Management Report; use a simple form at http://tinyurl.com/24-2template
Achieve 1 Star rating AND identify specific steps from city departments on how to improve performance or meet goals that were not met in the previous year.
Integrate goals/outcomes reporting explicitly into the city capital improvement planning process, identifying how public dollars are targeted to meeting sustainability goals in the plans.
Action 2: Organize goals/outcome measures from all city plans and report to community members data that show progress toward meeting these goals.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Green Business Development
{ BP no. 25 }

Provide incentives such as targeted loans, grants, streamlined permitting processes; participate in coordinated marketing and business assistance efforts, or provide similar such support; actively support women- and minority-owned businesses.
Provide or link businesses to incubator space, local/MN suppliers, or other tangible assests.
Utilize an economic gardening approach; support the creation of co-operatively owned businesses (report retail food co-ops under action 27.4); develop workforce training opportunities with community colleges and job training centers to credential, for example, energy auditors.
Action 1: Support new/emerging green businesses and green jobs through targeted assistance and new workforce development.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Recognize and promote (for example, on your city web site) businesses whose environmental actions are recognized by a local, regional or statewide program, such actions as recycling, reducing materials use, lowered toxicity in products, energy efficiency, etc.
Recognize and promote businesses that are certified under a GreenStep-linked or national green business program.
Provide a city preference for support and use of certified green businesses.
Action 6: Promote green businesses that are recognized under a local, regional or national program.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Collaborate with local organizations, such as a local business group or a business assistance provider, to produce a multi-pronged branding effort (beyond just information on a city or chamber web site) promoting diverse businesses located in/nearby the city. Report local tourism, local purchasing by the city, and local food under action 25.3, and best practices 15 and 27, respectively.
Compile a list of locally owned businesses located in/nearby the city and promote them.
Create incentives for buying and investing locally; for example, create a local currency or (discounted) local dollar gift certificates. OR report results of your buy local efforts, including specific benefits to the local economy.
Action 7: Conduct or participate in a buy local campaign for community members and local businesses.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Local Food
{ BP no. 27 }

Summarize what exists in the city: a farmer's market, urban ag businesses, etc.
Report on supportive actions taken by the city such as use of city land for a farmer's market, garden plots in city parks, hiring a garden/market coordinator, supporting season extension techniques such as hoop houses or greenhouses; donations from markets/gardens to food shelves.
Report on percent of housing units within a 1 mile of a healthy food source (farmer's market, community garden, CSA drop point, and stores with an NAICS code of 445110 or 445230); convert top level of a parking ramp for a local food growing business.
Action 3: Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. A farmer's market or co-op buying club.

b. An urban agriculture business or a community-supported agriculture (CSA) arrangement between farmers and community members/employees.

c. A community or school garden, orchard or forest.


Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience
{ BP no. 29 }

Develop targeted emergency communications in appropriate languages (or get access to existing versions) to address the specific vulnerabilities of each population group in your community to each type of event.
In consultation with the county, every two years review the county (or city if there is one) Hazard Mitigation Plan and identify who is responsible for city preparedness, emergency response, and recovery efforts for each type of event. Routinely participate in updating the Plan. (Category A & B cities must achieve a 1-star rating plus either a 2- or 3- star rating for Step 3 recognition).
In consultation with the county, designate appropriate facilities available to the public as community safe shelter for each type of event as applicable. Arrange for adequate provisions (including potable water) and backup power for 5-7 days. Develop coordinated strategies with private sector critical facilities and document agreed upon procedures.
Action 1: Prepare to maintain public health and safety during extreme weather and climate-change-related events, while also taking a preventive approach to reduce risk for community members.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Implement a program of targeted training, job placement, and/or supportive services specifically designed to meet identified needs of economically vulnerable residents in the community and improve their prosperity. (Examples include low-income solar or weatherization with workforce development; urban agriculture with workforce development; post-incarceration reentry assistance; culturally-appropriate mentoring and peer support programs.)
Implement a green zone policy (or other approach) that engages grassroots support for redevelopment of underserved neighborhoods to benefit existing residents (such as by reducing pollution sources, improving the condition of streetscapes to increase walkability, and providing long-term affordable commercial space for local small businesses owned by lower-income, immigrant, and/or minority residents).
Conduct community engagement events specifically targeted to underserved populations, and take follow-up actions to resolve problems/vulnerabilities brought to the city’s attention.
Action 3: Increase social connectedness through engagement, capacity building, public investment, and opportunities for economically vulnerable residents to improve their economic prosperity.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]