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    City of Grand Rapids  


Background Information

County:   Itasca
Population:   10,869
GreenStep City category:   B

Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.):   75

Participating township, county, school:


GreenStep City resolution:   Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date:   STEP 2 (06/20/2013)

GreenStep Coordinator

Julie Kennedy
City staff
jakennedy@grpuc.org
218-326-7024

City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
http://www.cityofgrandrapidsmn.com

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: 19     1-star actions: 10     2-star actions: 6     3-star actions: 3    







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 ]  


Geothermal systems should meet a minimum coefficient of performance of 3.3 for closed loop systems.
Use a waste heat stream to heat one or more buildings; create a district energy system/microgrid for several buildings (using waste wood, geothermal energy, gas turbine, fuel cell); harvest rainwater.
Integrate solar thermal or other renewable production into a combined heat & power system; use the constant temperature of drinking water pipes in a geothermal system.
Action 7: Install for one or more city-owned/school buildings one of the following efficiency measures:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] b. A district energy/microgrid system.

a. A ground-source, closed loop geothermal system.

c. A rainwater harvesting system for building water use.


Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals
{ BP no. 4 }

pending pending Star rating not yet assigned to city Action 2: Purchase LEDs for all future street lighting and traffic signals.     [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 ]  


Land Use   Land Use

Comprehensive, Climate and Energy Plans
{ BP no. 6 }

Adopt a comp plan/amended 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; adopt the Precautionary Principle.
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; zoning decisions are required to reference/be in compliance with the comp plan.
Conduct an audit of 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 ]  


Environmental Management   Environmental Management

Urban Forests and Soils
{ 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 ]  


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 including resilient tree species; city tree canopy goal aims for a "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, or support volunteer forestry efforts.
Action 6: Build community capacity to protect existing trees by one or more of:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Having trained tree specialists.

c. Adopting an EAB/forest management plan or climate adaptation plan for the urban forest.

b. Supporting volunteer forestry efforts.


Stormwater Management
{ BP no. 17 }

Complete the WI green infrastructure audit tool; previously registered for the Blue Star Award program.
Average a C grade on the audit tool; previously recognized with a Blue Star Award.
Average a B grade or above on the audit tool; previously recognized on the Leader Board of the Blue Star Award program.
Action 2: Complete a stormwater management assessment and be recognized for implementing the actions therein.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


At least one ordinance in place (MS4s must achieve a 2- or 3-star rating). Report a "skinny street" project that decreases imperious street surface as a part of routine street reconstruction under action 11.2
Two ordinances in place.
Three or more ordinances in place.
Action 3: Adopt by ordinance one or more of the following stormwater infiltration/management strategies:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. A narrower streets provision that permits construction of 22-foot roads for public, residential access and subcollector streets (with fewer than 400 average daily trips).

b. For sites less than one acre, retain the water quality volume of 1.1 inches of runoff from all impervious surfaces for new and fully-redeveloped construction sites.

c. For non-MS4 permittees, adopt an illicit discharge prohibition rule or ordinance and an erosion and sediment control ordinance.


Create a legal stormwater utility with different fees (e.g., fees based on parcel size, based on land use).
Achieve 1-star rating and offer commercial property owners decreased fees based upon an increased percent pervious surface coverage.
Achieve 2-star rating AND offer residential owners decreased fees based upon an increased percent pervious surface coverage; use 100% of fees for stormwater program.
Action 4: Create a stormwater utility that uses variable fees to incentivize enhanced stormwater management, minimize the volume of and pollutants in runoff, and educate property owners.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


pending pending Star rating not yet assigned to city Action 6: Reduce de-icing salt use to prevent permanent surfacewater and groundwater pollution.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Parks and Trails
{ BP no. 18 }

Remedy at least one connectivity break by, for example, completing a missing trail section, acquiring a high quality natural area, a priority stormwater management area, vacant space in a high amenity/redevelopment area, a rail corridor. Report remedies for street-to-trail gaps (between city streets and off-road trails/bike trails) under best practice action 11.5.
Remedy at least 3 connectivity breaks; fund trails out of adjacent street assessments; sign at least one shared use agreement with a school that allows public use of school outdoor facilities outside of school hours.
Remedy/plan/budget for 75% or more of the gaps; add a walking/biking trail that connects your city to a key destination/area/trail outside the city.
Action 1: Make improvements within your city's system of parks, offroad trails and open spaces.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


There exist at least 7 acres of municipal park land per 1000 residents.
At least 20% of total city land area is in protected green infrastructure (parks and protected natural resource areas, trails, publicly accessible school green space).
90% or more of residents are within a 10-minute walk, or within one-half mile of, a park or other protected green/blue space; report your ParkScore
Action 3: Achieve minimum levels of city green space and maximize the percent within a ten-minute walk of community members.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Create an annual event (can be in cooperation with other organizations) or ongoing 'adopt a park' effort for volunteer trash cleanup of open space, buckthorn removal, etc. for parks or selected public open space areas. Report gardens plots in city parks under BP 27.3
In addition to cleanup and removal of exotics (1 Star), engage community members in annual restoration of natural areas (replanting shoreland buffers, restoring prairie, etc.).
Create and fund an annual city-wide event for cleanup and restoration, engaging residents in most neighborhoods and creating a public promotion around the event.
Action 8: Develop a program to involve community members in hands-on land restoration and stewardship projects.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Sustainable Consumption and Waste
{ BP no. 22 }

Measure/audit waste generated; adopt goals for reducing the generation of overall solid waste; goals for diverting a percentage of overall solid waste into recycling or compostables collection; goals for specific waste streams such as public works waste, disposable cafeteria ware, waste from parks. Note that some cities entered, before 2018, completion of this action under action 22.2
Describe actions taken, such as refurbishing office equipment, reusing building materials, increasing e-commerce, getting off junk mail lists, collecting organic material and beverage containers from parks.
Report measures that show goals were met by the reduced amount of waste generated, the increased amount of waste diverted into recycling and compostables collection.
Action 1: Improve city operations and procurement to prevent and reuse, recycle and compost waste from all public facilities (including libraries, parks, schools, municipal health care facilities), and minimize use of toxics and generation of hazardous waste.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Require trash haulers to follow the city-organized recycling collection schedule; require organized collection of residential recyclables; publish hauler rates on city's web site & require waste/recyclables tonnage reports as a condition of licensing; assist residents on X % of city blocks to arrange for 75%+ of houses to contract with 1 trash hauler; set at least a 25% price differential among 3 cart size/frequency categories (~30, 60, 90-gallons); provide a financial or other incentive (e.g. larger container) for recycling. Report compostables collection under action 22.5 Note that pre-2018 entries of cities organizing their solid waste collection service are found under action 22.6
Offer bi-weekly trash collection, ideally paired with weekly recycling (and organics); organize city-wide collection of recyclables, yard waste, source-separated organics via RFP.
Organize trash collection; contract with one/multiple, zoned haulers for trash & multi-materials, either via RFP (if previous contract) or via hauler negotiations; note estimated cost savings to residents and to city (from decreased truck traffic); note if trucks use compressed natural gas (as city license condition?); achieve 50% recycling & 10% composting rate.
Action 7: Improve/organize residential trash, recycling and organics collection by private and/or public operations and offer significant volume-based pricing on residential garbage and/or incentives for recycling.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Resilient Economic & Community Development   Resilient Economic & Community Development

Business Synergies and EcoDistricts
{ BP no. 28 }

pending pending Star rating not yet assigned to city Action 1: Help businesses register as users of the Minnesota Materials Exchange and document their exchanges/sales of byproducts with other local/regional businesses.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Energy/water reuse includes: reuse of non-contact industrial cooling water; reuse of hot water from a laundromat by a nearby greenhouse; use of waste heat from a crematory to heat a nearby recreation center and its pool. Record projects under best practice action 20.6 where a city wastewater plant sells reclaimed water for nonpotable ag-processing, irrigation, cooling or power plant uses, or when the plant co-generates electricity and heat and sells it to businesses.
Describe how the city facilitated at least one such project.
Report how the city is, on an ongoing basis, helping businesses complete these reuse projects and how many completed projects exist.
Action 2: Document that at least one business/building uses waste heat or water discharge from another business.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]