GreenStep Cities

City Council members Sherry Butcher-Wickstrom and Ron Case in front of the GreenStep Cities booth at the League of Minnesota Cities Annual Conference.

The City of Eden Prairie has been striving to be an energy efficient community for several years now.   An excellent example is the 20-40-15 program.  It began in 2006 as an initiative to improve energy efficiency in our city facilities by 20 percent, increase the fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet by 40 percent, and accomplish these goals by the year 2015.  The initiative is still on track and is going very well.   

However, there have been several individuals at the state and local level who have felt a state-wide sustainable cities program is needed.  For the past few years they have been looking for a specific program that would challenge, assist and recognize cities that were “green stars.”  The result in June 2010 was the creation of a new program called Minnesota GreenStep Cities. 

It intends to help cities achieve their sustainability goals through the implementation of 28 best practices.   The best practices cover a wide variety of areas (land use, transportation, and economic development) and are tailored to all Minnesota cities. They focus on innovation, cost savings, and energy use reduction.  Take a look at mngreenstep.org

Our Conservation Commission has been discussing and studying GreenStep Cities since its inception.  They provided an overview of the program to the City Council at their last meeting on June 14.  Following the recommendation of the Commission, the Council passed a resolution at that meeting to participate in the program. We are now one of 27 Minnesota cities (and the list is growing) that are striving to be GreenStep communities.

So now do we need to achieve all of these 28 best practices?  The answer is no.   The size of our city requires us to meet 16 of the 28 best practices.  And based on our work in recent years (remember 20-40-15), we are more than halfway there.  In fact, GreenStep Cities will not replace initiatives like 20-40-15, it will recognize them and encourage similar initiatives in other important areas.