Sustainability is a Way of Life in Roseville, MN

Sustainability is a Way of Life in Roseville, MN Main Photo

6 Feb 2023


While “sustainability” is used frequently in economic circles today, its meaning can be somewhat ambiguous. Sustainability in a community and economic sense refers to maintaining the natural resources and advantages present in a balance of an area’s natural ecology and sought-after amenities.

That description fits Roseville, MN, perfectly. Residents, businesses and city leaders have a dedicated mindset to ensure the natural advantages and amenities are present to deliver the best quality of life today and into the future. City leadership has taken on the mantle of leading that environmental stewardship.

“The City can be a leader in helping educate about the importance of sustainability and methods to achieve sustainability throughout the community,” said Roseville Mayor Dan Roe. “We all have a role to play in combating the threat climate change represents to our future.”

Sustainability is a goal.

The City’s recognition of its environmental responsibility has surfaced in its regulatory framework. The City’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan guides the city’s growth, redevelopment and overall improvement. As the City intends to be an environmentally-healthy community, sustainability is a critical component of the plan. To ensure Roseville is a desirable place to live, work and play, the City aims to be an early adopter of creative and sustainable redevelopment policies through measurables like installed renewable energy generation capacity.     

The plan is more than a city leadership initiative, however. Community engagement indicates sustainable energy and natural resource management approaches are desirable to Roseville residents. People want the City to incorporate renewable energy sources into facilities and policies while investing in transit alternatives to automobiles to help reduce congestion and improve community access and health. Furthermore, water stewardship, tree coverage and diversity, electric fleet vehicles, energy‐efficient buildings and waste reduction are high priorities for residents.

“The community has had a focus for a long time, tracing back at least to our vision developed in 2005,” said Roe. “Our residents are knowledgeable on climate issues and typically ahead of the curve on the subject.”

There is much to gain from sustainable practices beyond simply a desire to do so. Roe said sustainability makes economic sense, helping make the City unique to site selectors and others looking to engage with Roseville.

“As individuals and organizations seek places to locate their business, sustainability offers them the ability to stretch their goals and develop economic opportunities,” he said.

Sustainability actions

The City has taken many actions aimed at meeting the goals of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. Regarding renewable energy, the City intends to support the increased adoption of renewable energy by protecting access to direct sunlight and supporting the development of local renewable energy installations. It will strive to source 100% of the electricity used for City operations from renewable sources such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and wind by 2040, with a minimum of 25 percent in on‐site generation at City properties.

To that end, the City installed solar panels at City Hall, the Fire Station and the Maintenance Facility in 2019 from iDeal Energies. Visit the link above to view the current generation. The installations have generated nearly 700 MWh combined since their completion. 

Due to its efforts, Roseville achieved the highest designation possible in the national SolSmart Program, being named a Gold City in 2019. SolSmart encourages cities to grow participation in solar energy. The achievement signals that Roseville is open to attracting new solar businesses and gaining the economic benefits of solar market development. 

Another facet of the Roseville 2040 Comprehensive Plan is the goal to reduce citywide emissions by 80% by 2050. The City’s involvement in Minnesota’s GreenStep Cities program, initiated in 2014, is critical to meeting that goal. The voluntary program helps cities achieve their sustainability and quality‐of‐life goals. Based on 29 best practices, GreenStep recognition focuses on cost savings, energy use reduction and civic innovation. Roseville gained the highest honor of a Step 5 City in June 2021 and has demonstrated the necessary improvement to maintain that designation in 2022. This recognition reflects a high level of more than 60 actions across categories like buildings, lighting, land use, multi-modal transportation, solid waste reduction, environmental management and more. 

The City also focuses on being more efficient in its current energy use. In July 2020, the City of Roseville began participation in Xcel Energy’s Partners in Energy Program, which supports communities by assisting them in developing and implementing energy plans. Roseville’s Energy Action Team worked with staff from Xcel Energy and the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) to establish goals and strategies to form the City’s first Energy Action Plan. Formally adopted by the City Council in June 2021, the plan has several annual focus areas to guide the city:

Roseville also led 26 cities in CEE’s 2022 Intercity Home Energy Squad Challenge for most Home Energy Squad visits per capita in 2022. The Home Energy Squad, delivered by CEE, is provided by Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy and specializes in installing materials and inspecting insulation, water coolers and heating and cooling systems to save energy and money. 

Eye on the future

With Roseville’s path toward sustainable actions, future dedication is more likely. Residents can participate through Xcel Energy audits and solar panel installations. Xcel Energy offers incentives to residential and business customers to help increase energy efficiency. Participation rates for these programs can be found in Xcel Energy’s Community Energy Reports.

A study by the University of Minnesota and included in the Roseville 2040 Comprehensive Plan indicates Roseville can generate 252,346 MWh/year through rooftop solar energy, approximately 61% of the electricity currently consumed within the city. Residents interested in solar panel installations at their homes can find information here.

Recognition always helps ensure continued participation. Roseville has revived and reimagined its Sustainable Steward Award, a program created in the 2010s to recognize and reward residents and businesses for their sustainability and best energy efficiency practices. Applications for each year are due by December 31, with $100, $250 and $500 prizes awarded to the winners. View the City of Roseville website for the application, eligibility and judging information. 

“We are proud of developing sustainability into our decision-making for our plans,” said Roe. “As the whole community contributes towards reducing our climate footprint, we build a better future for all.”

"The Roseville Economic Development Authority (REDA) coordinates and administers economic development and redevelopment initiatives for the City of Roseville, MN. It serves as a comprehensive resource for businesses seeking to startup and grow in the area. In addition to prioritizing business retention and expansion, the REDA connects area employers with the dedicated and talented workforce they need to succeed and thrive."