Minneapolis reports progress on green efforts
4 th annual ‘GreenPrint’ report shows a more sustainable city
April 13, 2009 (MINNEAPOLIS) - For the fourth year in a row, the City of Minneapolis has released its GreenPrint report, an annual update on the work to make Minneapolis a more sustainable place.
The innovative and nationally recognized Minneapolis GreenPrint report measures our ecologically friendly business practices every year. The GreenPrint provides a realistic framework for protecting and enhancing our environment based around 11 key environmental indicators.
"In Minneapolis we are committed to building the most sustainable city in the country," said Mayor R.T. Rybak. "The GreenPrint gives us concrete indicators on conserving energy, reducing pollution and improving our impact on the environment in every way we can. It helps us map the way and track our results, so we can share where we’re doing a good job and where we need to strengthen our efforts."
Council Member Scott Benson, chair of the Health, Energy & Environment Committee, said, "Departments and City leaders together are learning and inspiring each other to operate in ways that protect our resources and well-being for generations to come."
In 2008, the City of Minneapolis:
• Added an 11 th indicator to this report that focuses on green jobs to help define, develop and track the green job economy in the city. Investments provide strategic job opportunities for our future in areas such as green construction, transportation, food production, energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy.
• Met its target for no combined sewer overflows all year during rainstorms – for the second year in a row. Upgrades to the sewer system in Minneapolis have resulted in a dramatic reduction in overflows, which are harmful to our lakes and river.
• Adopted an ordinance that restricts vehicle idling in the city and raises awareness about the effects of vehicles on global warming and air quality.
• Supported biking as a transportation choice by adding more trails, building the Midtown Bike Center, launching the Bike Walk Ambassador program and revising the zoning code to require bicycle parking for most developments.
• Awarded a second year of climate change grants to support grassroots efforts motivating residents and businesses to take action to reduce global warming.
• Completed the City Hall and Courthouse building’s 5,000-square-foot green roof with plantings as part of a waterproofing and storm-water management project. Plants will be irrigated with rainwater from a 10,000 gallon cistern installed as part of the project.
The GreenPrint also identifies challenges so the City may address them, including:
• In the face of climate change and harmful pollution levels created by our current energy consumption, it is critical to increase our use of renewable energy including solar, wind, biomass and hydropower. The City increased its use of solar power but not enough to meet the 2008 renewable energy target. The City continues to pursue more solar and other renewable options.
• Our urban forest cleans the air, shelters wildlife, catches water runoff, cools our homes and makes our city more beautiful. As in other large cities, however, insects, disease and construction are taking a toll on our trees, decreasing our urban tree canopy. Although the yearly planting target has been met, there has still been a net loss of nearly 9,000 public trees in the city over the past five years.
• City residents and visitors enjoy swimming, boating, fishing and walking along the gorgeous lakeshores and riverbanks of Minneapolis . Water quality is measured using an index based on clarity, phosphorus level and the amount of algae. While Lake Calhoun and Brownie Lake were within the goals, Cedar Lake, Lake Harriet and Lake of the Isles did not reach their targets.
Find the entire 2009 GreenPrint report at Sustainability Initiatives under What’s New.
Published Apr. 13, 2009