Is it possible for one of the fastest growing cities in Minnesota to be sustainable? The City of Woodbury has committed to try.
In March 2006, Woodbury’s Energy Conservation Task Force invited polar explorer Will Steger to speak to the community about global warming and the effects of climate change. The event, which was planned for approximately 200 people, was attended by more than 600. Woodbury citizens were sending a clear signal of concern about our environment, and the city listened. Mayor Bill Hargis used this opportunity to announce that the City Council had just adopted a Sustainability Resolution for the city.
That resolution provided a glimpse of what was to come for the City of Woodbury. Since the resolution was adopted, Woodbury has made progress toward its goal of becoming a sustainable community through the following initiatives:
Woodbury Sustainability Committee: In January 2007, the Woodbury Sustainability Committee held its first monthly meeting to address issues of energy conservation, green building, public education and awareness, and the development of performance measures. The committee consists of eight city residents, and is a subcommittee of the city’s Environmental Advisory Commission.
Sustainability Critical Success Factor: In May 2007, sustainability was incorporated as one of the city’s seven "Critical Success Factors" that have been identified as crucial to Woodbury’s success as a community.
2030 Comprehensive Plan Update: The City Council has directed staff to make sustainability a key element in the updated comprehensive plan, which will guide development through 2030. As part of this process, the city is undergoing a sustainability audit that will lead to a better understanding of how Woodbury can enhance livability by developing in a more sustainable way. When the comprehensive plan is completed, Woodbury will participate in the update of Minnesota’s model sustainability ordinances.
Woodbury City Hall: The city has decided to lead by example and to incorporate green features into its remodeling and expansion project at city hall. These features include premium efficiency mechanical and electrical systems with a geothermal system for heating, cooling and hot water, permeable pavers, a green roof, lighting control and occupancy sensors, and a south-facing corridor to optimize natural lighting.
Green Building: In coordination with city staff, the Sustainability Committee has developed sustainable building idea lists for commercial, residential, and remodeling projects. The lists are given to developers with applications, and serve as a first step in formalizing a green building program.
Future actions will likely include participating in the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and joining the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI).
Woodbury City Hall’s green remodeling expansion project
A rain garden in Woodbury