Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Unsung Sustainability Programs

The City has been quietly working on a number of important initiatives that will help us reduce the amount of energy we use, decreasing our costs and our carbon footprint. I wanted to let folks know about some of these great projects that you probably haven't heard much about.

  • We began offering paperless utility billing in October. You can sign up here to get your utility bills electronically instead of in the mail.

  • We purchased two electric fleet cars, a ZENN and an e-ride, in November.

  • The Convention Center has made investments in sustainability, including computer-controlled lighting that dims or shuts off whenever possible to save energy.

  • We have three solar arrays producing a total of 11.8 kilowatts of power, and in 2006 they saved the City $1,250 on its electricity bill and reduced carbon dioxide output by 21,400 pounds.

  • We are continuing to pursue a major solar installation - the largest in the upper Midwest - on the roof of the Convention Center.

  • The idling ordinance we passed in June will help reduce pollution and carbon emissions caused by idling engines. 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel then restarting the car.

  • In 2006, we adopted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards, which require new or significantly renovated City facilities to meet some of the highest standards for sustainability. Staff are currently working on proposals to require some level of green building for private development as well.

  • We recently installed energy efficiency lighting at some of our parking ramps and installed a high efficiency boiler at Parking Ramp A.

  • We're testing solar powered parking meters in the Dinkytown area.

  • We have decreased fuel consumption in City fleets 3.8% compared to two years ago.

  • For a number of years we have been removing “no turn on red” signs at intersections where warranted, reducing unnecessary idling.

  • Metropass use for city employees went up 27% in 2008 compared to 2007.

  • Solid Waste and Recycling is broadening the pilot areas for organics collection.
I'm proud of the great work our staff - in a great variety of departments, including Public Works, Community Planning and Economic Development, Human Resources, Regulatory Services and others - is doing to put Minneapolis on a more sustainable path.


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