MCW PARTNERSHIP PLANNING A NEW SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE

The Midtown Community Works Partnership and other partners are exploring a new sustainability initiative along the Midtown Greenway – Lake Street corridor.  This initiative is intended to build on synergies between existing efforts, expand program efforts where needed, and measure outcomes based on defined metrics.

CORRIDOR FOCUS

The focus area includes the 17 neighborhoods that touch the Midtown Greenway and Lake Street in the City of Minneapolis, shown on the right. Different strategies will target small business, large business, multi-family residential, and single family residential. 

GOALS & STRATEGIES

The goals of the initiative are straightforward: 

  • Increased energy efficiency and use of renewable energy
  • Increased recycling and decreased landfill rates
  • Increased use of transportation alternatives Increased water conservation

To reach these goals, the Partnership convened a work group of local nonprofit, business, and energy company representatives to define strategies, objectives and actions.  

The strategies focus on three areas: 

  • Coordinating and expanding existing programs and resources
  • Utilizing new efforts that build upon existing programs
  • Establishing benchmarks to measure progress and tracking metrics
  • The greatest potential for implementation lies in the energy and waste/recycling realms. 

Water conservation can be implemented as part of energy conservation programs. Transportation options will be tracked and promoted, however the implementation of projects and programs is already occurring through other organizations. 

The following three strategies emerged from Work Group meetings:

PROGRAMS & OUTREACH

The best way to increase program use, whether it be for energy conservation, renewables or recycling, is through regular participation at community events and targeted door to door outreach that can guide residents or business owners through an audit and project contracting.  Relationships get projects done, however the resources are very limited for targeted outreach that builds strong relationships and provides in-depth support system.  This Initiative is proposing to fill that gap to help people navigate all the existing program resources and select a project that best fits their needs.  

TRACKING METRICS 

This Initiative is poised to begin at a unique moment in time, just as the PUC is planning to issue new guidance regarding how energy data is shared and utilities are planning upgrades to their data systems in response.  This Initiative could provide the first opportunity to pilot an analysis of energy consumption data at the neighborhood and corridor level.  The University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR) analyzed data for the EIC and they are excited to improve upon that effort for this Initiative.  Ultimately, the metrics analysis should determine progress made by this corridor toward achieving the City’s Climate Action Plan. 

COMMUNICATIONS

The Partnership should tell the broader story of this Initiative through a website, social media, newsletters or other venues to communicate how a variety of public, private and nonprofit partners can work together to make a corridor more sustainable. 

TIMELINE

The timeline for this Initiative is proposed to be three years, with the option to extend for two additional years if additional resources are secured. 

SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE PARTNERS

Current partners include: Center Energy & Environment, CenterPoint Energy, City of Minneapolis, Energy Smart, Hennepin County, Lake Street Council, Latino Economic Development Center, Longfellow, CERTs, Midtown Exchange/Ryan Companies, Metro Transit, Midtown Greenway Coalition, NEC / Hourcar, Our Power + Cooperative Energy Futures, RETAP, Wells Fargo, Whittier Alliance, Xcel Energy