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South Washington County cities recognized for energy conservation efforts

The cities of Cottage Grove, Newport and St. Paul Park were recognized last month at the League of Minnesota Cities annual conference for energy and resource conservation and innovation.

As part of the 56-city initiative called GreenStep Cities, south Washington County is helping lead the charge toward creating a more sustainable Minnesota. St. Paul Park, which became the most recent member of GreenStep Cities, recently completed Step 1 by adopting four best energy practices. Cottage Grove completed Step 2 by adopting eight best practices and Newport, leading the way, completed Step 3 by adopting 18 best practices.

“Since we joined in 2012, we have accomplished 18 of the 28 best practices and had an energy audit earlier this year,” Newport executive analyst Renee Helm said at the City Council’s meeting last month. “We’ve replaced the furnace in fire station two and the council recently passed a purchasing policy for sustainable equipment.”

City Administrator Deb Hill praised the city’s actions toward a more energy efficient model and said Newport is one of the smallest cities on the GreenStep Cities list.

“You’ve put a lot of great working into this to get it going,” Mayor Tim Geraghty said.