MCW Sustainability Initiative
The MCW Sustainability Initiative was an initiative bringing nonprofit, business, and energy partners together to improve sustainability along the Midtown Greenway – Lake Street corridor. The focus area included the 17 Minneapolis neighborhoods along this corridor, offering programs and resources for small business, large business, multi-family residential, and single family residential.
After the MCW Sustainability Initiative started the conversation around increased energy program outreach, Xcel Energy offered to bring their Partners in Energy program to the Midtown Greenway - Lake Street Corridor. The planning process for the Partners in Energy program resulted in the Lake Street Energy Challenge.
The MCW Sustainability Initiative also identified opportunities for improvement around commercial recycling. One outcome of these conversations was a commercial recycling pilot program implemented by Lake Street Council to do additional outreach to small businesses to improve their recycling rates.
Lake Street Energy Challenge
The Lake Street Energy Challenge was an opportunity for residents and businesses in the Lake Street – Midtown Greenway corridor to lower energy use and create more renewable energy. Working through neighborhood and business associations, the Challenge offered ways to broaden the reach of energy efficiency programs and promote solar gardens.
The Challenge focused on three areas:
RESIDENTIAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY: The Challenge worked with neighborhood organizations to host neighborhood energy parties, table at new events to reach nontraditional participants in energy programs, buy down the cost of Home Energy Squad visits for low-income residents, host a community conversation around energy and multifamily buildings, and create a program for energy outreach interns in the summer 2016 in conjunction with the Step-Up program.
COMMUNITY SOLAR: The Challenge assisted corridor neighborhood associations figure out how each organization could best support community solar gardens, either as an educator, coordinator, or a garden sponsor for a specific solar garden developer.
SMALL BUSINESS: The Challenge expanded upon the Lake Street Energy Coaching program by Lake Street Council and Metro CERT by developing targeted market research, a streamlined list of resources for small businesses including assistance from Xcel’s Business Solutions Center, and expanded outreach to local business associations.