Energy Action Plan

Energy efficiency by 2035

In 2018, Bloomington’s Sustainability Commission recruited a twenty-five member Energy Action Team. Through numerous proposals, the group introduced many dynamic goals in both energy efficiency and renewable energy, which soon became the City of Bloomington’s Energy Action Plan.

It is the belief of the City of Bloomington that it has a responsibility to proactively address climate change in order to prevent undue harm toward future generations. The energy actions outlined in this plan should help the City achieve a number of aggressive goals by the year 2035.

  • Community Energy Goal: 75% reduction in city-wide energy-related greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Electricity Goal: 95% reduction in city-wide electricity-related greenhouse gas emissions
  • Natural Gas: 33% reduction in city-wide natural gas-related greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Transportation: Pursue all viable opportunities for promoting the elimination of vehicle emissions, including support for electric vehicles, increased public transportation, higher-density and mixed-use zoning, additional biking and pedestrian infrastructure, and telecommuting

Focus areas before and after 2020

By 2020, the Energy Action Plan seeks to accomplish a number of near-term priorities and goals under its four focus areas. All of the strategies outlined in this plan, are expected to get Bloomington 60% of the way towards the annual average emissions savings needed to meet the City’s 2035 goal of a 75% reduction in city-wide energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. 

After 2020, the City of Bloomington expects to continue building capacity, maintain support for the initiatives started in the first two years of Energy Action Plan implementation, and ramp up participation in existing programs.

Business energy efficiency

Why is this important?

Bloomington’s businesses are a priority for the City’s near-term energy efforts because they account for 79% of the city’s electricity use and 59% of its natural gas use. This energy consumption presents a significant opportunity to both save energy and source more energy from renewable sources.

By 2020:
  • Have 70 businesses participate in an energy audit or recommissioning study
  • Double baseline energy efficiency program participation
  • Sign up an additional 10 businesses in Bloomington for Xcel Energy’s Windsource® program, Renewable Connect® program, or a community solar garden subscription
After 2020:
  • Explore incentives (e.g. property tax credits, utility franchise fee waivers, regulatory waivers) for choosing renewable energy sources
  • To incentivize investments in energy efficiency, require landlords to disclose estimated energy costs for potential business tenants
  • Start to explore and promote onsite renewable energy options for businesses

Municipal energy efficiency

Why is this important?

Focusing on municipal buildings and processes is a near-term priority, given the pre-existing commitments the City has made with programs such as GreenStep Cities. Prioritizing municipal energy actions also demonstrates a desire to be a leader in the community when it comes to conservation.

By 2020:
  • Hire a full-time sustainability professional, responsible for reducing both municipal and city-wide greenhouse gas emissions
  • Benchmark City facility energy use and develop a strategic plan for identifying savings opportunities and begin plan implementation
  • Join SolSmart and review City practices around solar
After 2020:
  • Develop a plan reducing fleet emissions by incorporating the following strategies when appropriate: downsizing/rightsizing, purchasing hybrid vehicles, purchasing electric vehicles. Consider lifetime carbon emissions when purchasing energy-intensive municipal equipment
  • Commit to an emissions reduction goal for municipal operations, with the intention of setting one more aggressive than the city-wide goal
  • Research and present to the Council for deliberation green building codes that would continuously promote higher building standards and performance for future building development

Residential Energy Efficiency

Why is this important?

Bloomington residents are a priority audience for energy efficiency and renewable energy adoption because there are many more individuals responsible for making residential energy decisions than commercial ones, and energy programs can help residents have more comfortable homes by improving living spaces through energy efficiency measures, and identifying ways to save money.

By 2020:
  • Sign up 850 households for Home Energy Squad® visits in Bloomington – 350 in 2018 and 500 in 2019
  • Sign up an additional 850 households in Bloomington for Xcel Energy's Windsource or Renewable Connect programs – 350 in (2018) and 500 in (2019)
  • Have at least four Bloomington multifamily buildings engage in energy efficiency programs annually, during 2018 and 2019
After 2020:
  • To incentivize investments in energy efficiency, require an energy audit disclosure with estimated energy costs, as part of real estate transactions
  • Establish a financing program for greenhouse gas emission-reducing home improvements, similar to the existing Housing and Redevelopment Authority programs

Transportation energy efficiency

Why is this important?

93% of Bloomington households own a vehicle, and single occupancy vehicles are the primary way Bloomington residents get to work. Electric vehicles in Minnesota provide a GHG reduction of at least 61% in most cases (based on Xcel Energy’s electricity resource mix) and 95% in many cases (for vehicles charging on renewable energy subscription programs like Windsource). 

By 2020:
  • Aid in the acceleration of electric vehicle (EV) adoption by installing two-five EV chargers at popular municipal locations (e.g. parks) throughout the city

After 2020:
  • Update zoning ordinances to ensure that new and redeveloped parking areas (e.g. lots, garages, street parking) are EV ready
  • Develop a strategic plan for developing a more EV-friendly city
  • Continue to support the Alternative Transportation Plan, which focuses on increasing opportunities for biking and walking within the city
  • Continue supporting 494 Commuter Services, and provide additional assistance for their work to promote alternative transportation
  • Conduct education to promote healthcare benefits associated with biking

Additional information

For more information, please see the PDF icon Bloomington Energy Action Plan in full.