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City Buildings and Operations

City-owned buildings and City of Saint Paul operations create approximately 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Saint Paul through the energy and fuels used to heat, cool, and power buildings and vehicles. 

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Despite the modest contribution to citywide emissions, reducing emissions from city buildings is more firmly within the City’s control compared to other emissions sources. The Saint Paul Climate Action and Resilience Plan calls for the City to drive net greenhouse gas emissions from City operations down to zero by 2030.

The City of Saint Paul has been working to make City buildings more energy efficient for over a decade using an Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund. The City also has rooftop solar on some City buildings and uses geothermal energy at a few buildings. In addition, the City subscribes to community solar gardens for a portion of our electricity needs.

The City’s fleet of vehicles is the other major sources of greenhouse gas emissions from city operations. With Project GreenFleet, the City has begun to replace City-owned gas-powered passenger vehicles with battery electric and hybrid vehicles.

The biggest challenges in this area will be converting City buildings to geothermal and electric heating, and heavy-duty vehicles to zero-emission options.

A focus on municipal buildings lets the city lead by example and demonstrate a commitment to climate leadership first within its own operations. Saint Paul has already invested in energy efficiency within several of its buildings. The municipal focus area will include continued emissions reductions in buildings, vehicle fleet, and street lighting.

city operations and municipal leadership

Key Actions:

CO-1 Track and organize all city electric and natural gas meters in a benchmarking program (e.g., B3). Identify poor performers and manage energy data. Look for opportunities to automate data management and building controls to improve the outcomes and reduce staff time

CO-2 Accelerate the existing goal for city buildings to be carbon neutral from 2030 to 2025.

CO-3 Increase the city’s internal revolving loan fund to $10 million

CO-4 Convert municipal streetlights to LEDs. Explore other opportunities to for smart lighting

CO-5 Identify opportunities to deploy renewable thermal technologies (district heating, solar thermal, etc.)

CO-6 Increase municipal purchases and installations of renewable energy. Prioritize opportunities that will result in a net cost-savings to the city, including on-site solar or community solar gardens

CO-7 Work with eligible schools to participate in Xcel Energy’s low-income solar opportunities; ensure an educational component and student involvement

CO-8 Assess the city’s vehicle fleet to identify opportunities for electrifying, right-sizing, and improving overall efficiency of vehicles; install electric vehicle charging infrastructure in municipally-owned parking lots

CO-9 Identify opportunities to convert heavy-duty vehicles to alternative fuels that reduce carbon emissions

CO-10 Work with state and regional partners (state, MnSCU, Metropolitan Council, cities) to develop a robust workforce development program that includes recruitment and training of building energy workers and provides opportunity to grow equity while reaching the city’s GHG targets

CO-11 Encourage employees to reduce single-occupancy commuting practices through incentives and workplace amenities (bike racks, showers, etc.)

  • Advocate for Climate Action
  • Vote for city officials who prioritize Climate Action