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Global Warming: What Is St. Paul Doing About It?

ANNE HUNT
Sustainability Coordinator for the City of St. Paul

Mayor Chris Coleman and the Saint Paul City Council are committed to making Saint Paul “The Most Livable City in America” and a leader in sustainable urban living. The City will take proactive steps to protect the air, water and urban landscape by focusing on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) reduction activities. To accomplish this, efforts will be concentrated in the following areas: energy efficiency and conservation, clean energy supply, alternative fuels, transportation options, recycling and waste reduction, reforestation and green spaces, and water quality. The following points highlight these developments.

Green Initiatives

St. Paul plans to expand the use of alternative fuels such as biodiesel. In the summer of 2006, the City moved beyond the state-mandated use of 2% biodiesel (B2) to 5% (B5) and then to 10% (B10). The City uses B5 for the winter season, then gradually increases to B10 for the spring and summer months. This is part of the initiative to reduce CO2 emissions in city fleets through the purchase of more fuel-efficient vehicles while reducing the total number of vehicles in the fleet.

Another part of the Green Initiative plan is to invest one million dollars in The Energy Conservation Investment Fund, a revolving loan fund that supports energy-efficiency investments that have a documented payback of less than 10 years for city-owned buildings. The next step is to analyze eight to ten city-owned buildings and retrofit them with energy-efficient heating and lighting systems. Part of the plan includes the installation of energy-efficient upgrades to lighting and heating systems in Linwood Recreation Center, Phalen Golf Course Clubhouse, and the Street Maintenance Facility. St. Paul will also hire an Energy Coordinator to help reduce the City’s overall energy use and to coordinate energy conservation initiatives.

The Parks and Recreation’s horticulture and environmental services programs will be sharing a VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America, through Americorps) staff person for the next three years. The VISTA staff will develop educational and job training activities for volunteer groups and Youth Job Corps participants. These programs will focus on the Invest Saint Paul initiative for a healthy, stable community.

Green Accomplishments

In the last year, the Parks and Recreation Department, with the help of Green River Greening and nearly 500 volunteers, planted over 12,000 native trees and shrubs (over half along the Mississippi River in Crosby Farm Regional Park) and 10,000 native grasses, forbs and aquatic plants. The City of Saint Paul Public Works Department worked with the Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) to plan and design rainwater gardens and infiltration trenches as part of the Arlington/Pascal Residential Street Vitality Program.

In January 2007, St. Paul’s Mayor Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced the formation of the Mayors’ Initiative on Green Manufacturing. A development team met to examine how the Twin Cities can become leaders on promoting and developing green manufacturing technologies and products. The 1st annual Sustainable Saint Paul Awards were presented in April of 2007. The annual program was established in 2006 to honor outstanding achievement of individuals, businesses and organizations that are protecting and restoring the environment in Saint Paul.

Beginning January 1, 2007, the new partnership between Tetra Pak, Eureka Recycling and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency now makes it possible for Saint Paul residents to recycle juice boxes and milk, soy and broth cartons in their recycling bins along with bottles and cans. In 2006, total recycling increased by 23%, and reuse by 93%. Electronics recycling nearly doubled, from 46 to 90 tons.

In the spring of 2007, the City of Saint Paul broke ground on the Saint Paul Police Department’s new Western District Police Facility. The building will be certified LEED Silver and will be 45% more energy efficient than required by Minnesota’s building code. This is in support of the newly passed resolution on Sustainable Development Policy for New and Renovated Municipal Buildings: all new or greatly-renovated Saint Paul municipal facilities will use one of the following two well-established standards: 1) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or 2) State of Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines.

For additional information please
contact Anne Hunt, Mayor Chris Coleman’s office at 651.266.8520 or anne.hunt
@ci.stpaul.mn.us. You can also visit
stpaul.gov/initiatives/sustainable.
Upper Landing overlooking downtown St. Paul.
Riding with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman on Metro Commuter Challenge Day

Sustainable St. Paul Initiative

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