Minneapolis Connects the Dots and Establishes Leadership in Building Climate Action

The city of Minneapolis has instituted a new pilot incentive program to promote the construction of affordable housing to the Passive House Standard, to help meet the city’s climate emergency obligations.

On December 8, the Minneapolis City Council passed resolution No 2020R-353, titled Adopting a Sustainability Policy for City-supported one to three-unit new construction residential development. The resolution states in part “Whereas, buildings account for 71% of greenhouse gas emissions from Minneapolis: and Whereas, Climate Action Plan includes a strategy to “Require City-financed projects to meet an energy efficiency standard”;”. The resolution acknowledges that to act on climate, a more rigorous building energy efficiency standard is needed.

To help implement this new resolution, the City’s Division of Sustainability partnered with the Community Planning & Economic Development department to establish a needs-based pilot program. The Office of Sustainability will provide additional financing beyond the Minneapolis Homes Financing program commitments, to projects that meet a higher efficiency standard. The pilot funding incentive can reach up to 20% of total development costs but is not to exceed $90,000 per unit.

One pathway to receive this funding is certification to the Passive House Standard, by the Passive House Institute (PHI).

“We commend the Minneapolis City Council and city agencies for their leadership in connecting the dots and showing how we can address our climate and social equity crises hand-in-hand,” said Tim Eian, a local architect and Passive House Minnesota leader. “We look forward to working with Minneapolis leadership to expand on this effort and bring the benefits of energy-efficient, resilient, healthy buildings to all our neighbors across this great city.”

Essential to achieving this action Passive House Minnesota members worked to help educate policymakers, council staff, and the public about the benefits of Passive House buildings. As a chapter of North American Passive House Network (NAPHN), Passive House Minnesota brought together not just critical local expertise but knowledge and experience from across the US and from around the world.

“Many cities and states have aggressive carbon reduction policy goals in place, but so far few have connected the dots to the implementation of solutions like Passive House to drive down emissions, support affordability, and enhance occupant health,” said NAPHN Board Chair, Bronwyn Barry. “To minimize fossil fuels and electrify effectively, our top priority must be on dropping energy demand. Passive House delivers that. Minneapolis is taking an important first step in this direction.”

The Passive House Standard results in high-quality affordable housing – providing occupant comfort, indoor air quality, and resilience, while drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and associated ongoing utility bills.

Categories: Climate Action