Sept. 30 Green Infrastructure Conference

Minnesota is once again fortunate to have attracted a cutting-edge national conference: Grey to Green, produced by the Toronto-based Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Green Infrastructure Foundation, a charitable organization focused on green infrastructure education and property valuation. And like last fall's EcoDistrict conference, the GreenStep program has worked with conference organizers to offer representatives from GreenStep cities a steeply discounted price of $45 for one, or possibly two, people from your city to attend on Monday, Sept. 30.

Do you have a city staff person, or an elected official, or city commission member who should attend? Just send an email to Philipp at  and after looking at responses on a first-come, first-serve basis, I'll get back to you with a discount code that you'll use to directly register, saving you $150 when you register and pay $45.

See  for the conference agenda, which includes additional training on Tuesday, October 1 at additional cost to you. Among outstanding speakers (and I'm skipping over the Lt. Governor and Minneapolis Mayor) is Doug Pierce, Global Resilience Director, Architect and Senior Associate at Perkins & Will in Minneapolis. GreenStep has worked with Doug on the national  RELi Resilience Standard, which combines design criteria with an integrative design process for neighborhoods, buildings, homes and infrastructure, now being synchronized with the LEED certification program.

Post on: 08/16/2019

50% Funding for Electric Landscaping Equipment

MPCA is offering approximately $150,000 in grant funding to replace 2-cycle gasoline-powered landscaping and snow removal equipment with electric-powered equipment.

  • Application deadline: November 8, 2019 
  • Eligible applicants: Cities, businesses under 500 employees, other governmental agencies, educational institutions, tribes, or nongovernmental organizations (e.g., nonprofit or association) with any number of employees. Equipment used near populations sensitive to air pollution, in environmental justice areas, and in communities with higher air pollution will tend to score highest. All equipment being replaced must be scrapped or otherwise rendered inoperable.
  • Maximum grant award: $24,000 with a 50% minimum match.
  • See the MPCA grants page for more information.
Post on: 09/12/2019

Rosemount Energy Actions

This August 22, 2019 article details residential work propelled by an Energy Action Plan funded in part by Xcel Energy, resulting in a 12 percent increase in residential electricity savings compared to 2018, due in part to 371 new participants in Xcel Energy residential energy programs. Also, a group of volunteers visited area businesses and 37 signed up for energy assessments. The estimate is that Rosemount businesses have saved 1.6 million kilowatt-hours in a year through these efforts, 

This September 6, 2019 article by the mayor reports that 70 percent of city operations' electricity comes from community solar gardens, and that as part of the current Partners in Energy (PIE) program, the city expects residents and business owners will save $1 million on energy costs over the next three years. The PIE goal is to reduce Rosemount’s energy consumption 5 percent by next year and 15 percent by 2030.

Related to: Conservation
Post on: 09/09/2019

Regenerative Urban Developments Are Changing Planning

Regenerative Urban Developments Are Changing Planning

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM 


With cities and the built environment being the spatial dimension of our economy, the way the built environment is planned and designed fundamentally determines urban sustainability performance levels for the next 50 to 100 years, before replacement at the end of the useful life.

Regenerative urbanism plays a formative role in creating a circular economy of inclusive abundance that is the necessary material basis for sustainable and equitable cities and society. Our routine approach to sustainability only slows the rate of impact with net-negative mitigation. 

Regenerative urbanism eliminates impacts at their source and produces inclusive abundance. This is accomplished with ongoing innovation focused on achieving the imperatives of sustainable regenerative systems performance.

The session panelists share and discuss their research and studies on projects in San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Ottawa, Canada, and other cities. These multiple projects are pursuing certifications such as Living Community Challenge (Sacramento Valley Station Master Plan), One Planet (Zibi Community, Ottawa, Canada), San Francisco Ecodistrict, etc., to inform and establish the absolutely necessary game-changing rules of 21st century urbanism.



  • Learn about the collaboration, buy-in, and political leadership required to make the transformational change beyond sustainability to regenerative urbanism.
  • Discover programs, initiatives, and pilot projects that are underway, and define the policy changes needed for 21st century regenerative cities.
  • Examine the challenges and aspirations of different rating systems, such as Living Community Challenge, One Planet, Biophilic Cities, San Francisco’s Ecodistrict, and Well.


  • Scott T. Edmondson, AICP, SF Planning Department, San Francisco, CA
  • Geeti Silwal, AICP, Perkins+Will, San Francisco, CA
  • Kirstin Weeks, Arup, San Rafael, CA
  • Greg Taylor, City of Sacramento, CA



Related to: Education, Adaptation
Post on: 09/05/2019

Enabling Better Places: A Users' Guide to Zoning Reform

The Congress for the New Urbanism produced this very readable guide (find it in the future on the GreenStep Ordinance page) in 2018 for communities planning to make incremental changes to their codes, to align their key zoning districts/regulations with their goals for placemaking, incremental development, livability, and economic success.

Post on: 09/03/2019

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

As a result of Presidential Disaster Declaration DR-4442-MN, funding is available for hazard mitigation activities through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Section 404-Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The declaration on June 12, 2019 was the result of Severe Winter Storms, Straight-line Winds and Flooding march 12 to April 28 for 51 counties and four tribal nations.

Funding is available to entities including state and local governments, certain private non-profit organizations, and Tribal communities for long-term, permanent hazard mitigation measures. Hazard mitigation projects must meet eligibility requirements outlined by FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance program and must result in the reduction or elimination of potential natural hazards and the protection of life and property.

HMGP is a cost share program with 75% federal and 25% local share. The current estimate for available funds is $4,416,500 statewide.

If your jurisdiction is interested a hazard mitigation project, submit a one-page Notice of Interest (NOI) form to by September 30, 2019. Webinar trainings to scope mitigation projects, develop applications, and benefit cost analysis will be held in the coming months. The NOI is the first step in the application process.


Email for more information. 

Post on: 08/27/2019

Renewable Energy Procurement Workshop

Curious about how solar could work on your own facilities? Please join us for our upcoming workshop for local jurisdictions on Wednesday, September 18th from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm in Minneapolis. 

This workshop is a continuation of the Clean Energy Resource Teams and the Great Plains Institute hosted renewable energy procurement network. At this upcoming training, we will provide hands-on technical assistance to governments interested in creating on-site solar energy projects for their own operations. This training is a follow-up to a broader Renewable Energy Boot Camp hosted in June. This training, with experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), will take place from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM in Minneapolis at PrairieCare Institute. This will be in-person only. 

Workshops goals include:

  1. Increase knowledge of key steps to develop successful on-site solar project.
  2. Increase skills in assessing feasibility and economic viability of solar projects for candidate sites and improve understanding of financing options.
  3. Increase awareness of existing tools (solar possible, mapping, etc.) to advance on-site solar and understand how to utilize these tools to advance on-site solar procurement
  4. Identify ways that Minnesota cities can share their experiences via the peer-to-peer network and promote cross-learnings to increase on-site solar projects throughout the state.

To register, please visit:

A one-hour pre-workshop webinar will be held for registered participants on September 9th, 2019 at 2:00pm CT to provide the overarching elements of the on-site solar project development process. A link to the webinar will be sent to all workshop attendees by September 6th.




Provide an overview of solar project pathway. EPA to provide an overview of steps to solar project development to prepare local governments for a more in-depth workshop training on key project elements. 

Presenters: EPA



8:30 Sign-in, breakfast 

9:00 Welcome and intros, ground rules, check-in questions

9:20 On-site solar project successes

9:50 Recap of Solar Project Pathway and overview of available resources

10:00 Why On-site solar? Identifying goals and getting stakeholder buy-in

10:20 Green Power Claims, RECS 101

10:40 Break

10:50 What financing models are available for on-site solar in Minnesota

11:45 Conducting a site assessment

12:30 Lunch

1:15 Assessing project feasibility using NREL's REopt Lite tool

2:30 Overview: Developing your RFP

3:10 Break

3:20 Assessing Priorities, Reflecting on Learnings

3:45 Where do we go from here?

4:00 Next Steps and Check Out

What: Minnesota Renewable Energy Procurement Workshop: On-site Solar for Municipal Operations

Where: PrairieCare Institute, 1934 Hennepin Ave., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55403

When: September 18, 2019, 8:30am-4:00pm

Registration: Online here 

Questions? Call Peter Lindstrom at 612-625-9634






About training partners for on-site solar workshop:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides resources to organizations interested in the deployment of solar energy projects. With support from the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable energy, EPA has developed a Local Government Solar Project Portal to highlight individual local government progress towards developing solar energy projects on municipal properties by successfully completing key project development steps. Local government can join the Portal and leverage the experience of other municipalities who share common project development challenges and opportunities.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and focuses on creative answers to today's energy challenges. From breakthroughs in fundamental science to new clean technologies to integrated energy systems that power our lives, NREL researchers are transforming the way the nation and the world use energy. NREL has developed online training resources for local governments, from goal setting, through site assessment and understanding policy and finance, to issuing a solar RFP.

About partner organizations:

The Great Plains Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that works with diverse interests to transform the way we produce, distribute, and consume energy to be both environmentally and economically sustainable.

The Clean Energy Resource Teams-or CERTs-are a statewide partnership with a shared mission to connect individuals and their communities to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. We empower communities and their members to adopt energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy technologies and practices for their homes, businesses, and local institutions.

Together with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), the World Resources Institute and Rocky Mountain Institute have formed the Renewables Accelerator to provide technical support to U.S. cities as they explore new and innovative strategies for procuring renewable energy to meet these goals. The Renewables Accelerator provides cutting-edge tools, resources, and technical assistance to U.S. cities as they pursue innovative renewable energy purchasing strategies and strive to decarbonize the electricity sector.

Post on: 08/22/2019

CERTs Seed Grants

Every two years, the Clean Energy Resource Teams seeks applications for limited financial assistance for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects requiring technical assistance.

Project funding can support technical assistance services (i.e., labor costs only, such as for a consultant, design professional, installer, or student labor) for projects in each of the seven Minnesota CERT regions.


    CERTs is accepting applications through Friday, October 11, 2019 for clean energy projects that:

    1. Encourage community-based clean energy projects

    2. Spur projects that are highly visible and replicable

    3. Provide a forum for community education



    Learn more and apply:

    Post on: 08/21/2019

    Solar Video Contest

    Submit solar videos by Oct. 10 and vote for your faves Oct. 11-17. Videos with the most public votes win: $1,000 for 1st, $600 for 2nd, and $400 for 3rd. Awards presented Oct. 22 at MnSEIA Annual Conference!


    Submit up to 3 videos. 

    1st prize - $1,000

    2nd prize - $600 

    3rd prize - $400


    Learn more and apply: 

    Post on: 08/21/2019

    Climate Change Workshop

    As part of a National Science Foundation-funded study, Virginia Tech and EcoAdapt are excited to offer support for up to eight communities to undertake a stakeholder-driven climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning workshop (1-2 days). The goal of these workshops is to build local capacity for climate change adaptation, improve understanding about local climate change vulnerabilities, and develop implementable adaptation responses. Following the workshop, each community will receive a climate adaptation action plan focused on specific issues identified and discussed during the workshop.

    Applications must be submitted by Friday, August 30, 2019. EcoAdapt will notify applicants whether their community has been selected in the fall of 2019.

    Apply on the form at:

    Post on: 08/15/2019