1. Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP)
GESP is a program administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce that provides technical and financial assistance to Minnesota city, county, state, school, and higher education organizations to improve the energy management of their buildings. Visit the GESP website to learn more.
2. GreenStep Cities
"Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability and quality-of-life goals. This free, continuous improvement program, managed by a public-private partnership, is based upon 28 best practices. Each best practice can be implemented by completing one or more actions at a 1, 2 or 3-star level, from a list of four to eight actions. These actions are tailored to all Minnesota cities, focus on cost savings and energy use reduction, and encourage civic innovation." - Minnesota GreenStep Cities website.
B3 Benchmarking is one of the many best practice actions cities can take to improve sustainability. Categorized under Buildings and Lighting in the Efficient Existing Public Buildings Best Practice, cities striving to complete the B3 Benchmarking action strive to, "Benchmark energy usage, identify savings opportunities in consultation with state programs, utilities and others to implement cost-effective energy and sustainability improvements." - Efficient Existing Public Buildings page.
Has your city approved a GreenStep Cities resolution? Are you wondering what your next step should be?
If your city is planning to implement the Buildings and Lighting: Efficient Existing Public Buildings Best Practice, B3 Benchmarking is your best first step. B3 Benchmarking is an online tool supported by the State of Minnesota free for city use, and with no upfront costs, taking an inventory of building energy consumption is a great start. By measuring and tracking the energy used in buildings, your city will gain an understanding of the city’s current building performance compared to engineering models and to peers. These analyses guide future steps by helping you prioritize buildings that have the largest room for improvement and greatest return on investment.
As the old adage goes, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” So start measuring today!
GreenStep Cities Program Best Practice Requirements
The GreenStep Cities program has increasing levels of recognition for accompanying effort and success. Participating cities must complete 4, 6, or 8 best practices depending upon their city category from the program’s website in order to receive Step Two recognition. Cities may choose the best practices they would like to implement, and B3 Benchmarking may be one of those activities. Steps Three and Four specifically require B3 Benchmarking. Building and meter information in B3 Benchmarking must be current in order for a city to be recognized at the annual June League of Minnesota Cities conference for Steps Three and Four.