What are the benefits of joining the GreenStep program and implementing its best practices?
The answers to this question will be different for different cities, but here are the key points we have heard from GreenStep cities and around which we have designed the program. The GreenStep program:
- Is a continuous improvement pathway for cities to "go green," becoming more sustainable and resilient.
- Will save city staff time in researching proven, cost-effective actions for cutting energy use, decreasing the city's carbon footprint, and accomplishing other sustainability goals that exceed regulatory requirements. Information on and an Advisor for how to complete 170 actions – in the best practice groups of buildings, land use, transportation, environment, and economic/community development – is continuously updated with Minnesota-specific information.
- Will save cities money and deliver a stream of multiple environmental, social and financial benefits; will help cities explore how to spend the same amount of money smarter.
- Is a home-grown, independent program tailored to Minnesota cities and provides maximum flexibility and choice in how to implement a proven best practice.
- Provides over 3,000 reports on how Minnesota cities are taking action, making it easy to learn from and contact peer cities so as to jump-start actions in your own city.
- Opens up special opportunities for funding and technical assistance, available mostly to GreenStep cities because the GreenStep program focuses on existing GreenStep cities.
- Positions a city to more easily apply for competitive grant and assistance programs.
- Maps out how to follow-through on the various commitments cities may have made, such as the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, signed by over 40 Minnesota cities, and on the Minnesota Legislature's aggressive Next Generation Energy Act.
- Provides leadership and action roles for community members, businesses and institutions so as to stretch limited city funds and strengthen a civic culture of engagement and innovation. We encourage cities to use student interns to help enter best practice action reports on the GreenStep web site, and have an intern manual to make this easier.
- Continuously prompts program participants – like an exercise coach would! – to maximize opportunities to accelerate sustainability actions.
- Provides public recognition of the good work being done by Minnesota cities.
What recognition is there for a GreenStep City?
- Annual peer recognition at the June conference of the League of Minnesota Cities.
- Annual $1,000 LMC/GSC Sustainable City Award.
- Your city's accomplishments will be visible on the GreenStep web site, the most comprehensive web site in Minnesota devoted to city sustainability.
- Artwork and recognition materials (logos, sample press releases).
- Five steps of recognition:
- Step One: for cities that have passed a city council resolution to work on implementing best practices of their own choice and at their own pace.
- Step Two: for cities that have implemented any 4, 6 or 8 best practices (depending on city Category/city capacity).
- Step Three: for cities that have implemented an additional 4, 6 or 8 best practices (depending on city Category) and completed a handful of specific high-impact actions – this can take between one and a few years.
- Step Four: for cities that report (by May 1st), for the previous calendar year, between 7 and 10 core city performance metrics and 5, 3, or no (depending on city Category) additional metrics of their choice.
- Step Five: for cities that report improvement in a minimum number of metrics.