2019 Spotlight: Communities take action
Alongside other 2019 Annual Report spotlights, this post describes an important area of CEE's work.
In 2019, Minnesota saw continued increase in cities pursuing right-sized programs and policies to advance clean energy. To help communities make progress, CEE provides consulting and advising, stakeholder engagement, facilitation, and supportive research.
In community-level development and planning, we at CEE know from experience that one size doesn’t fit all. In collaboration with national partners Brendle Group and VEIC, CEE provides community planning and implementation services in Minnesota and Wisconsin for Xcel Energy’s Partners in Energy offering, which provides free services to help communities develop energy plans that meet their own unique priorities, as well as assistance to implement their plans.
Because buildings in urban areas account for 40% of energy use and most greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas, helping communities manage their building stock more efficiently is another big piece of our work.
In multiple communities, we provide support for building benchmarking to track energy and water use over time and relative to peers. And our nonprofit engineering team can help spot areas of high energy use and recommend improvements for smooth, cost-effective operations.
Our relationships progress with the communities we support. From 2013 to 2015 in Rochester, Minnesota, CEE helped design a net-zero carbon emission strategy for Destination Medical Center (DMC). We've built on that work by helping to facilitate ongoing planning for the City of Rochester and DMC's Energy Integration Committee, mapping specific strategies to achieve their energy and climate goals. In 2019, CEE helped the City to institute a voluntary building benchmarking program aimed to maximize participation rates through community engagement.
Likewise, with significant technical advising and support for stakeholder outreach from CEE, the City of Minneapolis passed two measures for energy disclosure to protect renters and homebuyers in 2019, while also informing homeowners about how to improve energy efficiency. Ongoing, we continue to partner with the City to implement the disclosure process. In late 2019 with CEE support, the City of Saint Paul joined Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, and Edina to embrace building benchmarking as well.
As cities continue to move beyond plans and into action, CEE’s community consultants help facilitate strategic conversations and gather local input, all to ensure that decision-making is locally tailored and relevant.
Meanwhile, our researchers investigate emerging solutions to ensure we’re all taking the best foot forward. And our nonprofit lending team is standing by with competitive financing so every Minnesota community’s residents and businesses are ready to put clean energy policies into action at home and work.
Community Energy Consulting
Partners in Energy
Building Engineering for Efficiency
CEE Lending Program
City of Minneapolis Energy Disclosure
2019 Annual report