Green building and energy frameworks

The Minnesota GreenStep Cities program challenges cities to improve their public and private building stock by providing a number of best practice options. Several of those options involve a city choosing to use a "green building or energy framework"—a code, standard, rating/certification, or guidelines with verification—differing formats and processes that all provide guidance to improve the sustainability of buildings.

Here is a list of frameworks the GreenStep program thinks provide value to cities.


Code: International Green Construction Code

The IgCC is the first model code to include sustainability measures for the entire construction project and its site — from design through construction, certificate of occupancy and beyond. The new code is expected to make buildings more efficient, reduce waste, and have a positive impact on health, safety and community welfare.

Code: City of Maplewood Green Building Program
Municipal ordinance required for all city buildings and voluntary for private buildings is based on the International Green Construction Code for commercial-type buildings and the National Green Building Standards for homes.


Standard: ASHRAE 189.1 - Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings

From site location to energy use to recycling, Standard 189.1 sets the foundation for green buildings by addressing site sustainability, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources. Developed cooperatively by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council, the Illuminating Engineering Society, and the International Code Council, this standard serves as a compliance option in the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC).

Standard: ENERGY STAR certified new homes

ENERGY-STAR-certified new homes are designed and built to energy standards well above most other homes on the market today, delivering energy efficiency savings of up to 30% when compared to typical new homes.

Standard: ICC/ASHRAE 700 – 2015 National Green Building Standard for new homes

Accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). A collaborative effort between the NAHB and the International Code Council, the standard provides “green” practices that can be incorporated into new homes, including high-rise multifamily buildings, home remodeling and additions, hotels and motels, and the site upon which the green homes are located. The green practices include lot design, preparation and development; resource, energy, and water efficiency; indoor environmental quality; and operation, maintenance, and building owner education.

Standard: Indoor airPLUS

Builds on the foundation of EPA's ENERGY STAR requirements for new homes to provide comprehensive indoor air quality protections in new homes. Construction specifications include the careful selection and installation of moisture control systems; heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems; combustion-venting systems; radon resistant construction; and low-emitting building materials.

Standard: Passive House

Passive House provides the highest certified building-energy standard in the world, with the promise of reducing the total energy consumption of buildings by up to 90% while providing superior comfort and indoor environmental quality.

Rating systems with certification

Rating: Green Globes

Green Globes is a nationally recognized program for green rating assessment, guidance and certification. Project types include New Construction; Existing Buildings; Interiors.

Rating: GreenStar Home Certification

Formerly the Minnesota GreenStar (MNGS), this certification is a robust above-code renovation, addition & new construction program based on the 5 pillars of green (Energy, Health, Water, Materials, and Place) and how they are affected systematically by the 7 components of a home (outdoor/site, building envelope systems, mechanicals, electrical/lighting, plumbing systems and fixtures, finish materials and coatings, and waste management). The online checklist and manual are free. GreenStar raters and quality-assurance reviewers ensure what was planned was actually done in the home

Rating: Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED is the most widely used third-party verification for green building projects of all kinds: Building Design and Construction; Interior Design and Construction; Building Operations and Maintenance; Neighborhood Development; Homes.

Rating: Living Building Challenge (LBC)

A building certification program, advocacy tool and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment. Its twenty imperatives can be applied to new buildings or existing structures.

Guidelines with verification

Guideline: Minnesota Green Communities - Single family and low-rise multifamily residential buildings

Minnesota Green Communities seeks to ensure that all new affordable housing built in Minnesota is green. As of 2012, 13,167 additional green units across Minnesota have been funded due to the Consolidated Request for Proposals, the application process for all developers seeking subsidy. Guidelines include the Green Communities Criteria with Minnesota Overlay, and the Green Specifications for Single Family Housing Rehabilitation in Minnesota.

Guideline: State of Minnesota SB 2030 Energy Standard

The B3 Sustainable Building 2030 (SB 2030) Energy Standard is intended to significantly reduce the energy use and carbon emissions of Minnesota commercial, institutional and industrial buildings. Based on the national Architecture 2030 program, program, SB 2030 has been tailored to the needs of Minnesota buildings. The SB 2030 Energy Standard for all projects built after 2010 is 60 percent below that of an average building. Then in 2015, the standard becomes 70 percent better and so on until net zero energy is reached in 2030. SB 2030 is required on all projects that receive general obligation bond funding from the State of Minnesota, but it can also be applied to any new or renovated building project on a voluntary basis during design.

Guideline: State of Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines

The B3 Guidelines for new construction and substantial renovation of commercial buildings are intended to help make buildings more energy efficient and sustainable. The guidelines were developed for and are required on state-funded projects in Minnesota, but are easily applied to any project to meet sustainability goals. The SB 2030 Energy Standard is automatically included in the process.