Tools for
Goal 2. Environmental Health & Regional Initiative 2: Greenways

2A. Promote the reduction of energy consumption, especially from nonrenewable energy sources

Sustainable Cities Initiative Case studies

Case studies on sustainable cities, with topics including land use, transportation, buildings, energy, materials management, water, green infrastructure, economic development, community engagement, and food systems.
Go to Case Study

Center on Sustainable Communities’ Homeowners Handbook

Iowa Center on Sustainable Communities
A homeowner manual that is uniquely written by local experts with specific guidance on our regional climate and maintenance best practices for Iowa. Go to Website

US Department of Energy

Tips for homeowners, vehicle operators, and businesses on how to save energy through small-scale interventions and large-scale interventions alike. Go to Website

American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. Broad resource intended for many different audiences – residential, commercial, industrial; local governments (includes state-by-state energy policy information) Go to Website

Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council Report

For local governments:

  • See page 3-9 through 3-13 for policy options to promote energy consumption reduction
  • See page 4-8 through 4-13 for policy options for promoting clean and renewable energy
  • See page 5-7 through 5-10 for policy options to impact land use and transportation
  • See page 6-9 through 6-11 for policy options to mitigate GHG from agriculture, forestry, and waste management sectors

Go to Website

City of Holland, Michigan, Energy Plan

Forward thinking and aggressive community energy plan; comprehensive; implementation will bring long-term competitive advantages to the city. Go to Plan

Grand Rapids Sustainability Plan and Year 2 Update

Addresses economic, environmental, and social aspects of sustainability in Grand Rapids and gives annual updates reporting progress. Go to Website

City of Kansas City Ordinance No. 990168

Example of an environmentally preferable procurement policy. Go to Website

City of Kansas City Climate Protection Plan

July 2008
Recommendations to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions. Go to Plan

Chicago – “Retrofit Chicago Program” and Infrastructure Trust

Pays for current renovations to government buildings for energy efficiency with cost savings in long-term. Go to Website

Denver Maps Its Future : Greenprint Denver sets goals for 2020, 2035, Sept-Oct 2012. page 20
Metro Vision 2035 goals – focus is in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Go to Website

“Las Vegas Converts 42,000 Streetlights to LED”

Sustainable City Network, Randy Rodgers, April 3, 2013
Estimated energy and cost savings by converting streetlights to LED lights. Go to Website

“Algae Lamp Absorbs 200-Times More Carbon Dioxide Than Trees, Doesn’t Require Electricity”

Tech Blog, March 3, 2013
French biochemist invents an algae lamp that absorbs more carbon dioxide in a year than a tree absorbs over its lifetime. Go to Website

2B. Minimize the waste stream, emphasizing waste reduction in addition to reuse, recycling, and repurposing

Recycle Me Iowa

Local doorstep recycling service (residences, businesses, events), for a small fee. Go to Website

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality: Commercial Waste Reduction Clearinghouse

Tools to help commercial sector reduce waste (reduce consumption, prevent waste, purchase less environmentally damaging materials, and send fewer materials to the landfills.) Go to Website

Waste Reduction Strategies for Each Department within a School District

Provides specific waste reduction strategies that can be implemented within each program area of a school district, and, as a result, can be incorporated into the school district’s daily operations. These strategies can also serve as the basis for developing administrative procedures for each district department to support a district-wide waste reduction policy. Go to Website

US Composting Council

Factsheets, publications, and directory of equipment, products, and services related to composting. Go to Website

Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill

NRDC, Dana Gunders, 2012
This paper examines the inefficiencies in the U.S. food system from the farm to the fork to the landfill. By identifying food losses at every level of the food supply chain, this report provides the latest recommendations and examples of emerging solutions to reduce food waste. Go to Paper

Food Waste is Overwhelming

Here are Five Things People are Doing About It. Interesting exploration of five solutions to reduce food waste in the United States. Go to Website

From Farm Straight to the Trash: Why We Need Innovative Food Waste Solutions Right Now

LEARN in Environment, Food, and Waste, Peter Lehner
Suggestions and encouragement to give consumers, retailers and producers the practical tools they need to reduce waste. Go to Website

Pay as you Throw Tools (EPA)

Useful suggestions on how to charge residents a fee for generating waste. Go to Website

Waste Reduction: Strategies for Cities

National League of Cities, Municipal Action Guide, Tammy Zborel, 2011
This guide presents four strategies that cities may consider to reduce municipal solid waste and benefit their communities. Go to Guide

Food Recovery Challenge

Asks participants (Grocers, universities, stadiums and other venues) to reduce as much of their food waste as possible – saving money, helping communities, and protecting the environment.
Go to Website

“Reducing Food Waste Basics”

Information for how consumers can reduce food waste, and the benefits of doing so.
Go to Website

How One Ohio Town Turned its Garbage Into Cheap Green Energy

Good, Deena Shanker, February 11, 2013
Outlines the process by which Oberlin, Ohio converted its garbage into green energy, projected to meet 55% of the expected needs by 2013.
Go to Website

Metro Methane Recovery Facility

Des Moines Metro Waste Authority
The Methane Recovery Facility produces energy from landfill gas, an environmentally friendly resource that reduces the reliance on coal, oil, and other fossil fuels. Go to Website

San Antonio Multi-Family Recycling Project

City of San Antonio, Solid Waste Management Department
Resources including a plan, a guidebook, and instructions for property owners to adhere to an ordinance requiring multi-family properties to provide recycling services for their residents.
Go to Website

Austin Resource Recovery

ity of Austin, Resource Recovery
Zero Waste is a philosophy that goes beyond recycling to focus first on reducing trash and reusing products and then recycling and composting the rest. Resource Recovery is one measure to help Austin move towards Zero Waste. Go to Website

Global Inheritance

Los Angeles
Activities to encourage participants to think about waste; reduce waste at concerts. Go to Website

Hennepin County, Minnesota Organics Recycling

Resources for residents, businesses, and schools to learn more about the benefits and implementation of organics recycling. Go to Website

Downtown Atlanta Zero Waste Zone

Describes an Atlanta program to eliminate waste in downtown hotels and restaurants. Go to Website

Albuquerque Recycling and Zero Waste

Strategies for recycling and zero waste programs within the city of Albuquerque. Go to Website

“San Francisco Paves the Road to Zero Waste”

Arch Daily, Irina Vinnitskaya , Feb 21, 2013
Describes the steps the City of San Francisco is taking to achieve Zero Waste by 2020. Go to Website

2C. Build a region-wide connected system of natural resource areas and corridors

Conservation Design Development

Zoning techniques and land use policies to promote conservation (like natural resource overlay districts), conservation design development, and low impact development. Go to Website

The Forest Stewardship

US Forest Service
Offers a model of a simple forest management plan. Go to Website

Trees Forever

Developing forest or tree management plans. Go to Website

Case Study: Portland, Oregon

Retrofit or require new development to use green infrastructure for stormwater.

Prairie Crossing Homeowner’s Association Environmental Management Plan

Stewardship of common and natural areas to promote the improvement of ecological health and function. Go to Plan

San Diego County Tree Map

Database of county trees that residents can view and update. Includes statistics that quantify environmental benefits of county’s trees. Go to Website

Case Study: “Midwest Group Helps Agroforestry Efforts Take Root”

Sustainable City Network. Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. March 27, 2013
Opportunities related to agroforestry. Go to Website

2D. Develop a regional stormwater approach emphasizing the use of natural processes to carry out the functions of built systems

Sustainability and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund a Best Practices Guide

EPA + Clean Water State Revolving Fund, July 2012
Provides an overview of a variety of state policies and practices supporting the priorities outlined in the EPA’s Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy (released on October 1, 2010); intended for state programs as they consider policies and initiatives to promote community and water infrastructure sustainability. Go to Guide

Full Cost Water Pricing

CMAP/Illinois Indiana Sea Grant/University of Illinois Extension . – This manual explores full-cost pricing as a tool for local decision makers interested in sustainably managing community water supply (water supply and wastewater). The intended audience for this document is local decision makers. Section 1: Full-Cost Water for Livable Communities provides the ‘why do it’ for mayors, village managers, planners, board and council members, and interested residents. Section 2: Towards Full-Cost Pricing provides a basic ‘how to do it’ overview for readers interested in learning more details about effective utility management. Section 3: Water Rate Structures delves further into one of the most important decisions in setting water rates, designing the rate structure. Go to Website

Banking on green: a look at how green infrastructure can save municipalities money and provide economic benefits community-wide

ASLA, American Rivers, Water Environment Federation, and ECONorthwest, 2012
Focuses on the economic impacts caused by polluted urban runoff. target=”_blank”>Go to Document

Iowa Stormwater Management Manual

Provides financial assistance advice and brochures for stormwater management. Go to Website

Low Impact Development

Explains an approach to land development (Low Impact Development) that works with nature to manage stormwater as close to its source as possible. Go to Website

Benefits of Low Impact Development (LID) Fact sheet series

Addresses obstacles to wider adoption of LID, explain the benefits of LID in clear terms and through examples to directly address specific concerns that have been raised about adopting LID, thereby busting barriers; primarily intended for state and local decision makers who are considering adoption of Low Impact Development (LID) Go to Website

Benefits of LID: How LID Can Protect your Community’s Resources

LID Fact Sheet #1: Challenges the perception that LID isn’t worthwhile and provides general background information that outlines hydrologic and economic benefits provided by LID. Go to Fact Sheet

Terminology of LID: Distinguishing LID from other Techniques that Address Community Growth Issues

LID Fact Sheet #2: Addresses LID’s place in the jumble of terms for managing the environmental impacts of growth that coexist today and describes and distinguishes these terms. Go to Fact Sheet

Costs of LID: LID Saves Money and Protects Your Community’s Resources

LID Fact Sheet #3: Challenges the perception that LID is too expensive. Go to Fact Sheet

Aesthetics of LID: LID Technologies Can Benefit Your Community’s Visual Environment

LID Fact Sheet #4: Challenges the perception that LID is unattractive. Go to Fact Sheet

Effectiveness of LID: Proven LID Technologies Can Work for Your Community

LID Fact Sheet #5: Challenges the perception that LID doesn’t work. Go to Fact Sheet

Maintenance of LID: Communities Are Easily Managing LID Practices

LID Fact Sheet #6: Challenges the perception that LID is too hard or costly to maintain. Go to Fact Sheet

Encouraging LID: Incentives Can Encourage Adoption of LID Practices in your Community

LID Fact Sheet #7: Highlights incentive strategies to catalyze LID. Go to Fact Sheet

Green Infrastructure—A Landscape Approach

APA Planning Advisory Service, David Rouse, Ignacio Bunster-Ossa, 2013
This new report from the American Planning Association shows how green infrastructure cleans the air and water, replenishes aquifers, reduces flooding, and moderates the climate. Green infrastructure approaches also help promote healthy exercise and access to more grown food. Go to Website

9 Ways to Make Green Infrastructure Work

Regional Plan Association, Paul Winters, November 2012
Includes: How Green Infrastructure Works. Challenges to Implementation, Securing the Space, Finding the Funding, and Rethinking Management Go to Document

Protecting Water Resources With Higher-Density Development

EPA, 2006
Promoting compact development/density as a best management practice for stormwater. Go to Document

Using Compact Development as Stormwater Best Management Practices

Outlines ways Smart Growth strategies can help reach environmental, community, and economic goals. Go to Document

Case Study: Minneapolis

The City’s Stormwater Credit Program gives incentives to implement effective stormwater management practices. Go to Website

Case Study: Urbana

The City of Urbana’s storm water management system includes 129 miles of pipe ranging in diameter from 6-inches to 120-inches, 7,773 manholes and inlets, and two regional stormwater detention basins. Go to Website

Case Study: Portland

The city works with citizens, businesses, and property owners to increase public awareness of stormwater issues and promote private stormwater management efforts. Go to Article

Case Study: Seattle

Mandate the use of green infrastructure for stormwater management in developments. Go to Website

Case Study: The Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization

Dakota County, Minnesota
Worked with municipalities to develop ordinances that support one of the best trout fisheries of any urban area in the country. The JPO recommended that all new developments retain on site 98 percent of all rainfall events, primarily by infiltrating the runoff. Besides virtually eliminating pollution, this standard replenishes the groundwater that keeps the trout stream cold and the trout alive despite summer heat. Municipalities and the JPO developed a watershed plan in 2005, standards in 2006, and rules in 2007. At each step of the way, municipalities weighed in, setting the tone and modifying the requirements. This collaborative approach resulted in the adoption of the standards and rules by all 20 municipalities in the watershed. Go to Article

Report: Stormwater Management Handbook

Implementing Green Infrastructure in Northern Kentucky Communities. Green infrastructure handbook to help Northern Kentucky communities manage and reduce their stormwater runoff while still allowing the region to grow and prosper. The handbook includes land use policies and strategies that both address stormwater concerns and create attractive, walkable neighborhoods. The handbook also illustrates innovative site-level design strategies that reduce runoff from development and how they could be successfully applied in Northern Kentucky.

Plan 2040 for Northwest Indiana, Chapter III

Environment & Green Infrastructure. Establishing a network of “green infrastructure” that co-exists with urban development and the transportation network, will consist of agricultural and natural areas that merit protection connected by well-buffered streams, trails and recreational open space. Go to Website

“The Twelve Months of Water Stories”

Metropolitan Planning Council, Lauren Contorno. December 6, 2012
Stories of real life water stewards from the Chicago and northwest Indiana region. Go to Website

2E. Expand regional park capacity in terms of acreage, facilities, programs and services, and connections

Case Study: Cedar Falls, Iowa

Network of natural lands and corridors incorporated in comprehensive planning. Go to Website

Case Study: Chicago

Expanding the system of parks and open space from 250,000 acres to 400,000 acres Go to Website

2F. Other Sustainability Tools

Toward a Sustainable Community

A Toolkit for Local Government. Go to the Toolkit

Sustainable Cities Institute Research Center

Case studies, calculators, and general information about wide range of planning topics at multiple scales. Go to Website

Sustainability Toolkit

This three-part “Sustainability Toolkit” provides online toolkits, assessment tools, checklists, modeling software, and case studies designed to aid policy makers and design professionals roll out sustainable projects at the regional, urban, and local levels. Go to Website

The Green Guide

Jersey City’s Inventory of Sustainability Programs
The Green Guide promotes sustainable development in the City’s Redevelopment Areas by providing: Strategies for incorporating sustainability into projects for both new development and rehabilitation of existing buildings as well as resources for information about sustainable development; and Inventory of programs promoting sustainability at the Federal, State, County and local levels. Go to Website

Technical Guidance Manual for Sustainable Neighborhoods

Land Use Law Center at Pace Law School in conjunction with USGBC, Dec 2012
Provides elected officials, local planners, and other professionals and interested stakeholders with the tools necessary to improve communities through sustainable neighborhood development by integrating criteria from LEED-ND prerequisites and credits into local planning, regulatory, and policy initiatives. Go to Website

Metropolitan Planning Council Publications

Downloadable publications on a wide variety of topics in and around the greater Chicago region. Go to Publications

Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure

Housed at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the mission of the Zofnass Program is to develop and promote methods, processes, and tools that quantify sustainability for infrastructure. Its goal is to facilitate the adoption of sustainable solutions for infrastructure projects, and expand the body of knowledge for sustainable infrastructure. Developing Envision Rating System for Infrastructure (product of a strategic alliance and collaboration of several organizations including the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), a nonprofit organization co-founded by the American Public Works Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Council of Engineering Companies, and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.) Go to Website

“A Scorecard for Companies With a Conscience”

New York Times, Tina Rosenberg, April 11, 2011
Outlines the strategies “triple bottom line” businesses can take to remain focused on social and environmental pursuits while staying profitable. Go to Website