City of Saint Paul is Going Green

With eyes set to the future, the city of St. Paul is moving forward with green building requirements for new construction projects that receive $200,000 or more in city funding.

An advisory group of architects, designers, contractors, developers, bankers, regulatory agencies, city staff and other industry representatives worked for more than two years to develop the city's new sustainable building policy. Under it, building projects that receive at least $200,000 in city loans, grants or "other funding vehicles" must meet green building standards as defined by one of seven rating systems to satisfy the requirements. A partial list of approved rating systems includes LEED Silver or Green Globes 2 for commercial projects or LEED for Homes or Minnesota GreenStar for residential construction.

Specific policy requirements include meeting Minnesota Sustainable Building 2030 energy standards for new buildings, beating EPA standards for potable water use by at least 30 percent, and using 50 percent less water for landscaping compared to a traditionally irrigated site.

In addition, at least 75 percent of the construction waste, including demolition materials, must be recycled "or otherwise diverted from landfills. " Other requirements apply to things such as indoor air quality and stormwater management.

St. Paul is the first city in Minnesota to adopt such a measure. The policy is intended to help Saint Paul reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by 2012, in accordance with the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

St. Paul is home to more than 20 LEED-certified or registered buildings, including the Western District Police Station and a new fire department headquarters on West 7th Street.

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