City of Minneapolis


July 2021

Welcome to the July 2021 Minneapolis Sustainability Update. This monthly newsletter contains resources, initiatives, and opportunities to get involved.

Thank you for your help and support of Minneapolis sustainability! We hope you're staying cool and hydrated this month.

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Community Engagement

Trees need an inch of water every week

During our drought, remember that trees – especially young trees – need watering any time it doesn’t rain an inch in a week. Lack of water can make trees vulnerable to insects and disease and cause permanent damage to young and old trees alike. Trees up to five years old are especially susceptible. The Park Board plants and mulches boulevard trees but relies on residents or businesses nearby to water them.

Drought Response Water Conservation Efforts infographic

Under the sprinkling restrictions, tree watering is allowed with a dripping hose, bucket or tree watering bag as needed. An effective way to water a tree is to turn on a slow stream of water (just so the hose is weeping) for a few hours. Watering in the evening after dinner time is most effective since it minimizes evaporation, and trees tend to take most of their water during the night. Watering one tree weekly costs only about $3 for 23 weeks – the entire summer-fall season. For people who lose track of when they last watered a tree, a good way to remember is to water trees on the same day trash is picked up.

Taking care of our trees means protecting our Minneapolis quality of life. Healthy trees are beautiful, increase property values, help improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gases by absorbing carbon dioxide, save energy, keep the city cooler, provide homes for wildlife and help manage stormwater. Watch and share this short video about some of the benefits of our urban forest and how we can help.

For information on tree care and the urban forest, call the Park Board’s Forestry Department at 612-313-7710, email or visit

Stay comfortable while conserving energy – and saving money – during the heat wave

Save money and energy by making your home resilient and adapted to the summer heat.

  • Keep your air conditioner in check. It would limit the strain on the electric grid if we all keep our thermostats set a little higher than normal: 78 when you’re home, 82 when you’re asleep and 85 when you’re away.
  • In the morning, before it gets too hot, shut your blinds or curtains along the south side of your home (or windows that get a lot of sunlight). Close your windows too to keep the heat out. This can keep your living space several degrees cooler even without a fan or air conditioning. Open your windows overnight when it cools off.
  • Avoid using big appliances such as ovens, washers, dryers and dishwashers when it’s really hot. They use a lot of power and generate heat.
  • Keeping shade trees healthy by watering them throughout the summer and especially during dry spells can provide short term and long term relief from the heat.

Planning for a more resilient future, insulate your home to modern standards.

More than 70% of Minneapolis homes lack adequate insulation, which means they become hotter in the summer and colder in the winter depending on the outside temperature. By adding wall and attic insulation, you can save energy and money while keeping your home more comfortable year-round and more resilient to extreme temperatures.

CenterPoint Energy and Xcel Energy offer rebates to help offset the cost, and the City currently has 0% interest financing available to make this improvement. Curious if your home could benefit from adding insulation? Sign up for a FREE Home Energy Squad visit on the Center for Energy and Environment website.

Sign up to Save Money and support a more resilient electric grid.

If you have central air, save 15% of your electricity cost by signing up for Xcel Energy’s Savers Switch program, which reduces demand on the electric system. It allows for your air conditioning unit to be remotely turned off for short periods of time during hot stretches which helps a smart grid reduce peak demand and maintain a reliable electric grid.

Hennepin County is updating their Natural Resources Strategic Plan - community input due August 1st

image of a lake at sunset

We all play a role in protecting our natural resources, and we need to hear from you. Hennepin County is seeking input from the community as they update the Hennepin County Natural Resources Strategic Plan, which will define their natural resources goals and strategies for the next 10 years. The Strategic Plan guides the county’s work to improve, protect, and preserve natural resources and provides a framework for our natural resources policies, programs, and partnerships.

This updated plan will seek to better align with new county initiatives, shifting demographics, and changing landscapes. This is the first opportunity to incorporate the county’s climate and racial equity priorities into the foundation of the plan.

The county is seeking input from the community throughout the year-long plan development process to ensure your values and priorities are reflected. Take the survey by August 1st to help shape priorities and let the county know how you would like to be engaged in the update of the plan.

Learn more about the county’s role in protecting natural resources and the plan update process and timeline at You can also sign up for Natural Resources Strategic Plan email updates to stay informed of the process and opportunities to provide feedback at each step.

Solid Waste & Recycling

Shop Smart - Love your Stuff - Reduce Waste

Love, Repair, Rewear - image of two people using a sewing machine

Take pride in your clothes. They express our personalities, our creativity, our culture and history. Wear them with joy for as long as you can.

  • If they lose a button, sew it back on
  • Patch holes or tears in shirts and pants
  • Get items tailored to be your perfect fit

When your clothes no longer work for you, donate wearable clothes so they can be loved by someone else. Share photos and stories of your favorite, well-loved clothing items to #LoveYourStuffMPLS. Visit Solid Waste & Recycling’s Love your Stuff web page for more information on how to shop smart, love your stuff, and reduce waste.

Learn more about waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting

There are a couple of great ways to get updates and reminders from Solid Waste & Recycling.

  1. Sign up for Recycling Reminder emails: an every-other-week email that reminds you to set your recycling cart out. Emails also include reminders, tips and tricks to reduce waste, recycle and compost correctly, holiday collection notices, and updates about the City’s waste programs.
  2. Join the Garbage, Recycling and Organics Recycling Facebook group: post pictures and ask your questions. Fellow residents and/or Solid Waste & Recycling will help you determine how to dispose of tricky items.
  3. Sign up for a virtual recycling facility tour: learn all about the recycling process and get your questions answered from the comfort of your own home. Tours are offered at different times each month.

Hennepin County drop-off facilities resume normal operations


After a year of limited operations in order to follow COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, the Hennepin County drop-off facilities in Bloomington and Brooklyn Park have resumed normal operations. Services that are now available include:

  • Appliances, mattresses, and all TVs, including those weighing more than 50 pounds, are accepted.
  • Free product centers are open.
  • Gas cans should be left to be emptied and will be returned.
Hennepin County drop-off facilities - image of hazardous waste bottles

As of June 15th, fully vaccinated people do not have to wear face coverings in county buildings but are welcome to do so. All visitors to county facilities who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear face coverings.

The drop-off facilities are open Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm. Find locations, materials accepted, and guidelines for visiting at

Funding Opportunities

Fund your large residential or office building energy efficiency project through the Green Cost Share program

Looking to cut your 4+ unit apartment or office building’s energy costs? The City of Minneapolis is offering a one-time opportunity to receive financial assistance for energy-saving projects. The City of Minneapolis Green Cost Share program will match 30% of total project costs (up to $100,000) for energy benchmarked buildings looking to lower their energy use through improved energy efficiency, or 40% (up to $100,000) for energy benchmarked buildings that were required to go through an energy evaluation.

image saying get up to 100K for projects with Green Cost Share

Possible uses for funding:

  • Interior and exterior lighting upgrades
  • Upgrades to a building’s HVAC systems (boilers, furnaces, chillers, air and ground source heat pumps, etc.)
  • Building envelope improvements (air sealing and insulation)
  • Adding or improving building control systems
  • And much more!

Learn more about previous Green Cost Share projects, including upgrades to G&L Furniture on Lake St, which is now powered by solar, and Full Cycle on Chicago Ave, where an upgraded HVAC system makes the air quality healthier and more efficient.

Green Cost Share logo

To get started, applicants must fill out and submit a Green Cost Share application by the application deadline of midnight on August 15th. For more information or questions contact

Seed Grant funding available for MN clean energy projects

Do you and your community need funding to get a clean energy project off the ground?

The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) seeks to provide Seed Grants to support for clean energy projects that spur community development in Minnesota. Clean energy projects include those related to energy conservation and efficiency, renewable energy, electric vehicles, and energy storage.  Priority will be given to proposals that provide forums for community education about the technologies and their economic, ecological, and community benefits.

Proposals for Seed Grant projects are due no later than 4pm on Friday, October 8th. The official Request for Proposals (RFP), Application, and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at CERTs offers many tools and resources to help you plan your project, so get started today! CERTs staff are happy to assist you throughout the process from talking through your project idea to getting that idea down on paper.

News & Upcoming Events

Decarbonizing Minnesota’s Natural Gas End Uses report is out

Natural gas used in homes and businesses is a major and increasing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota. These rising emissions threaten our ability to meet state emissions reduction goals. At the same time, natural gas is an especially important fuel in our state, providing heat for most of our buildings and fueling many of our largest businesses. To better understand the complex challenges around reducing emissions from natural gas in Minnesota, the nonprofits Center for Energy and Environment and the Great Plains Institute brought together a broad coalition of stakeholders, including gas and electric utilities, labor representatives, and clean energy advocates.

Together, they released the report Decarbonizing Minnesota’s Natural Gas End Uses on July 13th. The report summarizes an 18-month process and 25 consensus recommendations centered on decarbonizing the natural gas consumed in Minnesota’s homes and businesses.

image of gas gauge

Decarbonizing Minnesota’s Natural Gas End Uses is an effort of the e21 Initiative, convened by Great Plains Institute and the Center for Energy and Environment to advance a decarbonized, customer-centric, and technologically modern energy system in Minnesota by ensuring that utility business models are aligned with the public interest. More information about the initiative at

Metro CERT Annual Event on September 23rd

Free registration is now open for the Metro CERT Annual Event taking place virtually on September 23rd from 3:30-5:30pm with networking, trivia, and fun scheduled until 6pm. There will be a panel focused on the role of clean energy in the rebuild on Lake Street, as a look back from last year’s event. They will also highlight the Twin Cities EV Mobility Hub (now referred to as EV Spot Network), a 2020 Seed Grant project. Lastly, there will be a lightning round panel highlighting the work of Metro CERT from the past year, delivered by steering committee members.

The event will also kick-off the nominating period for Metro CERT steering committee, and they are looking for additional members and specifically hoping for candidates from community-based organizations and historically marginalized communities.

Minneapolis joins Home Energy Squad Intercity Challenge

Home Energy Squad Intercity Challenge - image of girl with lightbulb

Minneapolis has joined over 20 other Minnesota communities to promote home energy efficiency to help residents lower their energy bills and increase home comfort.

The Intercity Home Energy Squad Challenge was formed to challenge residents to get a Home Energy Squad visit to learn how their home uses energy and identify energy-saving opportunities. By learning more about their home’s energy use, residents can be better stewards of our resources and increase their home’s comfort by making small improvements.

To learn more about the challenge and sign up for your own energy audit, visit