The policy requires compliance with the most recent rating system version in existence at the time of development application. Where elements of the selected rating system and energy code differ, the policy requires adherence to the most stringent.
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This policy applies to new construction and significant renovations and additions in municipal developments and developments seeking a financial assistance in the form of:
Significant renovations and additions are defined as those that are of 10,000 square feet and greater and replacing or installing HVAC equipment.
Using a third-party rating system, such as LEED or Minnesota Green Communities, ensures that buildings are meeting sustainability requirements that are widely recognized as best practices. Doing so also clarifies liability and also allows for more certainty for the design team in knowing the policy requirements will be met. The cost for engaging the third-party rater is typically less than one percent of the cost of a project and when examined early in the design process, studies show that utilizing sustainability practices contributes 1 to 3% to total costs on average.
Cities have the authority to add conditions when granting financial assistance. The Sustainable Building Policy is a set of requirements ONLY for buildings requesting financial assistance through the city. Buildings not receiving financial assistance would not be subject to the requirements. Because of that and that the state establishes the building code, this policy is not a code.
The policy aims to cover a broad spectrum of sustainability areas including energy, water, waste, and materials. The listed rating systems were selected because they achieve that aim and because they are used in similar policies by other cities in the region. Creating regional consistency helps to improve implementation efficiency and lower costs. As rating systems are constantly evolving, the policy is designed for flexibility with other equivalent rating systems being allowed as approved by the city for an individual development. These two tables describe the rating systems and Northfield Green Requirements (NGR) standards:
University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR)
Minnesota-specific rating system. Developed originally for state of Minnesota bonded projects. It is available now for all developments for a fee.
Categorizes requirements by:
Commercial, multifamily, single family
US Green Building Council
Globally recognized rating system. It is available for all developments for a fee.
Minnesota Housing Finance Agency for projects receiving their funding; otherwise Enterprise
Enterprise Green Communities is a national rating system targeted at multifamily. It is available for multifamily developments for a fee. The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency requires implementation of and provides technical resources for the Minnesota version of that standard for projects it funds.
Green Business Certification
Globally deployed rating system. It is available for parking developments for a fee.
Sustainable Buildings 2030 (SB2030)
Minnesota-specific performance standard following the Architecture 2030 model that seeks net zero energy construction by the year 2030. In 2021, the standard is 80% more efficient than the same building built to code in 2006. Prescriptive path is available.
Zero Energy Ready Homes
1 to 3 unit residential
U.S. Department of Energy
National standard targeting small residential with both prescriptive and performance based paths.
B3 Guideline E.2
Evaluate the feasibility of sourcing 2% of energy load with on-site renewables. Install if cost-effective per B3 guideline.
Looking back five years, this policy would have applied to seven developments. If historical development patterns continue, we’d anticipate about 1 to 3 projects per year would be subject to the sustainable building policy.
Developers who request funding from the City of Northfield will be notified of the sustainable building policy. If the developer chooses not to follow the policy, the city can withhold granting the funding request. Once the project is complete but chooses not to certify under the chosen sustainability standard, the city has the option to rescind the funding incentives provided.
This is not part of the policy.
Compliance will be based on specific context of developments. Because most publicly funded developments involve negotiations with the city, such elements will be addressed in that process.
No, not at this time.