What is the GreenStep Cities program?
The GreenStep Cities program is a Statewide partnership with a shared mission to connect individuals as "Clean Energy Resource Teams" or CERTs to identify renewable resources and implement community-based clean energy projects. GreenStep Cities provides a simple pathway to help cities achieve their sustainability goals through the implementation of best practices focused on cost savings, energy use reduction, and innovation.
What are these best practices and how are they implemented?
The GreenStep City partnership have created 28 environmental best practices that have been organized into 5 distinct categories, these include: building and lighting, transportation, environmental management, economic and community development, and land use. Once the minimum number of best practices have been implemented, Chisholm will be recognized as a GreenStep City.
Chisholm has been determined a class "B" city, meaning that as a community we will work together to complete a minimum of 12 best practices distributed over the 5 categories stated below.
Overview and Explanation of Best Practices
1) Building and Lighting
The best practices that are included in this category work on making existing buildings, both private and public, more efficient. This is implemented by focusing on utilities to assess and finance energy and sustainability improvements of existing structures. Other projects implemented in this category could include: constructing new buildings to qualify for a "Green" building standard, improving the efficiency of public and private lighting and redeveloping existing buildings before building new complexes.
2) Land Use
Through land use best practices, Chisholm will implement a comprehensive plan describing a process that determines community goals and aspirations while promoting and encouraging efficient city growth. Other options of best practices involve creating healthy land patterns and processes that protect natural ecosystems.
Transportation best practices could include creating a network of multimodal green streets. Meaning the implementation of more bike and walking paths to encourage more outdoor recreation and active living; proposing alternatives to single occupancy car travel. Encouragement of city fleet and transit systems may be implemented to reduce the production of Carbon Dioxide emissions.
4) Environmental Management
Includes the adoption of more environmentally preferable purchasing policies and practices; while pushing for urban forests by increasing the city tree and plant coverage. Best practices of wastewater and sewage management include minimizing pollutants in rainwater runoff and the improvement of local water bodies. While also assessing and improving drinking water purity and wastewater facilities of the community. Other best practices include the encouragement of minimizing solid waste through the increase of waste reduction, reusing and recycling.
5) Economic and Community Development
Economic and Community development best practices thrive for community engagement by adopting outcome measures to further GreenStep and other city sustainability efforts; while engaging members of the community in ongoing education and campaigns. Other best practices include the encouragement of green and local business development while strengthening the local food production and access.
As we go further into the Green Step Cities Process, more and more best practices are achieved. The Mercury Facility Treatment Plan ( click to see the plan in the list at the bottom of the page) furthers our implementation and progress of Environmental Management Best Practices.
Our Goals as a community
Our goal to be a "Minnesota GreenStep City" starts with our city joining and working with Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERT), to help us improve our city when we do projects. We will be using Earth-friendly efforts in a cost-effective way. We have started in this direction in projects that we will note, and the City Council has approved "Resolution 0215-22" (click to see the resolution in the list at the bottom of this page.
The city will be holding several public meetings in the coming year to engage residents, businesses, and anyone else in the community who are interested in helping the city advance its sustainability goals.
Our first meeting is on March 5th 2015, with the Chisholm Kwanis group, where a GreenStep Cities intern will be presenting and explaining the GreenStep Cities process and how you can get involved.