Minneapolis Green Business Program: Cutting carbon is good for business
Working to improve energy use has been a longtime commitment for the City of Minneapolis. In fact, CEE’s own roots trace back almost 40 years to the “Minneapolis Energy Office” of the 1970s. And more recently, we contributed to recommendations that led to the establishment of the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership, the nation's first city-utility partnership.
As the City forges ahead with ambitious energy and climate-related goals, continued progress will depend on reducing greenhouse gas pollution caused by burning fossil fuels. With that in mind, the City’s Green Business Cost Sharing Program has now expanded to help businesses go solar, reduce air pollution and improve energy efficiency. Part of the City’s Clean Energy Partnership with CenterPoint Energy and Xcel Energy, the program collaborates with organizations like CEE, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Lake Street Council to bring resources and community based technical assistance to businesses.
Currently CEE is also the City’s lead nonprofit partner for training and outreach in the Minneapolis Energy Benchmarking program and Building Energy Challenge. And with a core goal to increase energy efficiency, the Green Business Cost Sharing Program prioritizes those buildings that participate in energy benchmarking, as well as businesses in Minneapolis “green zones.”
Dating back to 2012, the Green Business Cost Sharing Program started as part of the statewide Clean Air Minnesota, a public-private partnership to enable government agencies to develop, fund, and implement voluntary projects to reduce air pollution. Today, 74 participating businesses annually save more than $600,000 while cutting over 50,000 pounds of air pollution. All told, these businesses have removed a whopping 10.86 million pounds of carbon dioxide — equivalent to taking over 1,200 cars off the road or planting more than 125,000 trees.
Project funding is available through online applications in five specific award programs, each with monthly deadlines on March 1, April, May 1, and June 1:
- Green Business Energy Efficiency (up to $100,000) — for business practices to improve energy efficiency, targeting Minneapolis Green Zone businesses and properties in the Minneapolis Energy Benchmarking program and Building Energy Challenge.
- Green Housing Energy Efficiency (up to $30,000) — to help multifamily residential buildings with four units or more to become energy efficient.
- Green Business Solar projects (up to $75,000) — incentives of $0.25 per estimated annual kilowatt-hour production, for the first year of production for eligible buildings.
- Innovative Ways to Reduce Pollution (up to $100,000) — for green business initiatives that improve air quality by lowering harmful emissions and pollutants. All businesses that pay a Pollution Control Annual Bill (PCAB) may apply.
- Vehicle Repair, Service, and Maintenance (up to $25,000) — for businesses that provide vehicle and maintenance services and are working to reduce pollution, with funding to support grants for auto-shops and assistance with transitioning to water-based paints.
The videos below are a great way to learn more and see the program in action at A Chance to Grow (solar project), Prospect Foundry (industrial business), and Gandhi Mahal (small business).
For Minneapolis businesses, the Green Business Cost Sharing program is an opportunity to reduce investment costs while supporting your hometown’s longstanding commitment to improve energy efficiency and cut pollution. If you’re looking to make your practices and operations cleaner and greener, it’s worth checking out the program to see if there’s an award that’s right for you.
City of Minneapolis: Green Business Cost Sharing Program
Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership
Minneapolis Energy Benchmarking Dashboard
Image credit: Tony Webster va CC