Minneapolis Sustainability

350 S. 5th Street, Room 315M
Minneapolis, MN 55415
sustainability@minneapolismn.gov

Simple Steps to Reduce Your Impact

The science is clear: climate change is a real threat to our ecosystems and society. We are responsible for the rapid acceleration of climate change and we must take urgent action. You can help by taking these simple steps that will reduce your footprint and could save you money.

Be a Zero Hero
Install a low-flow showerhead
Wash clothes in cold water
Replace five light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)
Install and use a programmable thermostat
Turn off and unplug
Let the sun shine in
Plant a tree
Use green power
Use ENERGY STAR® products
Recycle more
Audit your home’s energy use
Park your car
Inflate your tires

Be a Zero Hero

A Zero Hero's goal is to have zero waste, by working to prevent waste and recycle as much as possible. Become A Zero Hero and be a leader in waste reduction.

Install a low-flow showerhead

Switching to low-flow showerheads will use about six gallons less water per minute, dramatically reducing the amount of water and heat used by a shower. Taking shorter showers saves even more energy. According to stopglobalwarming.org, showers are responsible for 2/3 of water heating costs.

Wash clothes in cold water

Using cold water saves a significant amount of energy. Clothes last longer and colors stay brighter. Line drying clothes saves even more energy.

Replace five light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)

Using high-efficiency (ENERGY STAR®) CFLs saves energy and money. According to the Department of Energy and the US EPA, Energy Star CFL bulbs are up to 66 percent more efficient and last up to 10 times longer than standard bulbs. CFLs are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. Fluorescent lamps contain a small amount of mercury and must be disposed of properly. Learn more.

*Energy savings of 5 lbs of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour based on use of standard 100 watt bulb, four hours/day, 365 days/year replaced with a 26 watt Compact Fluorescent Light. Financial savings of $10.80 based on rate of $0.10/kilowatt hour

Install and use a programmable thermostat

Programming your thermostat to reduce your homes temperature by 5 degrees when you are asleep or away will reduce your heating bill and your impact on the global climate. Wearing a sweater and turning down the heat while you are home will save even more energy. In fact, each degree below 68 will reduce the home heating bill by about 3 percent (State of Minnesota Department of Commerce).

Turn off and unplug

Turning off and unplugging electrical appliances when they are not in use will save a surprising amount of energy. Many appliances enter "passive standby" mode when they are turned off, which allows the appliances to start up quickly when switched on. Other appliances continuously use energy to power clock displays. According to Energy Star, as much as 40 percent of the energy used to power appliances is consumed while they are turned off. Unplugging appliances will help avoid this energy waste. Plugging appliances into a power strip and switching off the power strip will also reduce the problem (State of Minnesota Home Energy Guide).

Let the sun shine in

Opening your curtains when the sun is shining will utilize solar heat and daylight, reducing your heating and electricity bills. Closing the shades at night will help keep heat inside. Closing the shades during summer days will keep your home cooler (State of Minnesota Department of Commerce).

Plant a tree

Strategically planting trees in your yard can reduce heating and cooling bills. Trees provide shade, reducing air conditioning costs by up to 30 percent (USDA Forest Service). Evergreen trees are excellent windbreaks for homes, reducing heating costs and providing a beautiful year-round landscape. Trees also store carbon, which helps reduce global warming effects. Nearly one million trees comprise the Minneapolis urban tree canopy. The tree canopy covers 26 percent of Minneapolis and removes 384 tons of global warming pollution annually (Minneapolis Municipal Tree Resource Analysis).

For more information:
Tree Trust
MN Trees

Use green power

Xcel Energy offers the option to obtain some or all of your electricity power through wind power. Wind energy production is rapidly developing in Minnesota. The state has tremendous wind energy to harvest, particularly in southern Minnesota. Solar options for your home are another form of green power that is available.

For more information:
Xcel Energy

Use ENERGY STAR® Products

When buying new household products (such as appliances, electronics, and lights), look for ones that have earned the ENERGY STAR®. They meet strict federal energy efficiency guidelines that can save you money.

For more information:
EPA ENERGY STAR

Recycle More

Recycling saves energy and reduces carbon emissions. Buy products that are reusable and have less packaging.

For more information:
Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling

Audit your home’s energy use

Conducting a home energy audit can identify places where your home is using energy inefficiently and prescribe ways to improve heat retention. A great place to start is Communtiy Energy Services, who can help you save money and energy, and improve your comfort at home.

For more information:
Xcel Energy
Centerpoint Energy

Park your car

Leaving your car home one day per week will reduce your impact on the environment. By riding a bicycle, walking, taking public transportation or carpooling to work, you will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions. You will also get more exercise and relief from commuter stress.

*Energy savings of 20 lbs of carbon dioxide based on commute distance of 25 miles/week, 52 weeks/year in a car that gets 23 miles per gallon. Financial savings of $127 based on fuel price of $2.25/gallon

For more information:
Bicycling in Minneapolis
Midtown Greenway
Metro Transit

Inflate your tires

Keeping your tires inflated will improve your vehicle’s performance and require less fuel, thereby reducing greenhouse-gas related emissions. Using a hybrid-electric or other fuel-efficient vehicle will reduce your emissions even more.

Last updated Dec. 2, 2013