Full text of Legislation available here. Text of the council resolution relating specifically to City or HRA owned buildings is available here.

Saint Paul Sustainable Building Policy for Private Development

This policy applies to the planning, design, construction, and commissioning of any new construction project receiving more than $200,000 in City and/or HRA funding. City and/or HRA funding is defined as money originating from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Tax Increment Financing (TIF), HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME), Multi-Family Housing Revenue Bonds, federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), other federal, state, and Metropolitan Council funding programs, HRA funds, any City of Saint Paul funds, including STAR, from any combination of loans, grants, land writedown or other funding vehicles.

The Policy does apply to parking structures and parking lots and any addition to an existing building that includes a new heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system. The Policy does not otherwise apply to existing structures.

The Developer must choose for the project one of the following rating systems and levels with which to minimally comply:

Commercial Projects:

Residential Projects:

The following mandatory requirements, known as the "Saint Paul Overlay," must be met within the Developer’s chosen rating system:

  1. Predicted energy use shall meet Minnesota Sustainable Building 2030 (SB 2030) "Energy Standards” for new buildings. The conditions for meeting the "Energy Standards” are subject to the "Cost Effectiveness” Protocol of SB 2030.
  2. Predicted use of potable water in the building must be at least 30% below EPA Policy Act of 1990.
  3. Predicted water use for landscaping must be at least 50% less than a traditionally irrigated site using typical water consumption for underground irrigation systems standards.
  4. Actual solid waste of construction materials, excluding demolition waste, must be at least 75% recycled or otherwise diverted from landfills.
  5. Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) must be addressed through the following strategies:
    • ventilation based on ASHRAE 62.1-2004 or meet the minimum requirements of Sections 4 through 7 of ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007
    • construction IEQ management plan
    • low-emitting materials
    • thermal comfort
  6. Storm Water Management Requirements:
    • Site Eligibility: Sites with ¼ acre or more of total land disturbance
    • Rate Control: 1.64 cubic feet per second (cfs) /acres disturbed
    • Water Quality Management: For a 2 year, 24-hour rainfall event, provide treatment systems designed to remove 80% of the average annual post development Total Suspended Solids (TSS) and remove 60% of the average annual post development Total Phosphorus (TP), by implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) outlined in "Urban Small Sites Best Management Practices” handbook (Metropolitan Council), "Protecting Water Quality in Urban Areas” handbook (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), the "Minnesota Storm water Manual” (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency). All BMP treatment systems for subject site need to include safety factors, maintenance, and a back-up plan in case of failure. All manufactured devices require independent laboratory testing to confirm product claims.
    • Volume Control/ Infiltration: Maintain or increase infiltration rates from pre-project site conditions.
    • Operation and maintenance: All practices must have an O and M plan.
  7. Predicted greenhouse gas emissions must be reported to the Minnesota Sustainable Building 2030 database by the design team or building owner.
  8. Annually, actual energy data for the project must be submitted to the Minnesota Sustainable Building 2030 database, by the building owner or by the building’s utility service provider(s) with permission of the owner.

Each project’s compliance with the Green Building Policy must be verified, in accordance with the verification method specified by the Developer-selected rating system. In the event of notification of non-compliance, and reasonable opportunity to cure, the City will refer the project to the Sustainable Building Technical Committee, which will consider remedial action, and make recommendations to the HRA Executive Director or his/her designee. Upon a recommendation from the Sustainable Building Technical Committee, the HRA Executive Director or his/her designee may require remedial action, limited to the amount of funds granted to the Developer.

The requirements of the Policy may be waived, in whole or in part, by the HRA Board or the City Council after consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of a waiver, and upon showing by the Developer a compelling public purpose. The Policy will apply to projects for which schematic design is initiated after July 1, 2010. To assist the Developer comply with the Policy, whether the Developer is required to comply or is doing so voluntarily, the City will:

  1. Provide, at no additional cost to the Developer, a Sustainability Facilitator within PED to help guide each project through the development process, ensuring adherence to the Policy.
  2. At the Developer’s request, help identify sustainable design experts with in-depth experience on specific issues, whether site, building, or operational.
  3. Work with Xcel Energy to provide, at no cost to the Developer, energy modeling in the design stage for all participating projects meeting Xcel Energy’s requirements.
  4. Work with District Energy to assist with energy modeling and other analysis and assistance during the design stage for all participating projects meeting District Energy’s requirements.
  5. At the Recipient’s request, help developers locate building commissioning agents to verify performance against design requirements.
  6. Negotiate, as part of a Development Agreement, signage and labeling for compliant buildings both during and post-construction.

There are also requirements for new municipal and HRA-owned buildings in the City of Saint Paul

Below is legislation that predates the Sustainable Building Requirements that is applicable to all new construction projects funded in whole or in part, including those with less than $200,000 of City funding.

Interim Saint Paul PED / HRA Sustainability Initiative
January 30, 2007
(amended April 30, 2008)

Objective of the Initiative
To make future development projects in Saint Paul more environmentally and financially sustainable by identifying and incorporating proven and tested practices that demonstrate significant measurable results and return on investment.

Requirements for development projects funded, in whole or in part, by the City of Saint Paul PED/HRA:


All developers who plan to newly construct:

  • a commercial building of 15,000 square feet or greater, or
  • a residential building with common space of 15,000 square feet or greater, or,
  • a residential building of 150,000 square feet or greater (not including the garage)

are required to participate in Xcel Energy's Energy Design Assistance program and implement energy-saving recommendations. Initial inquiry should occur during the schematic design phase to maximize energy saving potential.

Energy Design Assistance (Xcel Energy will determine the best level)

  • Level 1 (generally for buildings 50,000 square feet or larger) provides a comprehensive approach to energy savings including personalized computer energy modeling for a planned building. This modeling predicts energy use, suggests energy-saving strategies and projects energy-cost savings.
  • Level 2 (generally for buildings smaller than 50,000 square feet) provides a review of preliminary construction documents and recommends energy-saving strategies.
  • Compared to code requirements, participants save an average of 30% on annual energy bills.
  • Follow-up services help ensure that strategies are implemented and working to save on energy bills.
  • Cost:
    • Consultation is free.
    • Xcel Energy pays the architectural and engineering team for their participation in Level 1.
    • Recommended strategies qualify for Xcel Energy’s cash incentives, which decrease out-of-pocket cost.


All developers of new residential buildings that have less than 15,000 square feet of common space are required to participate in the ENERGY STAR HOMES program. All developers of rehabilitated single-family or duplex homes are required to participate in Home Performance with ENERGY STAR. New and rehabilitated buildings must receive third-party verification from an accredited organization.

  • The Neighborhood Energy Connection (NEC), through its Peak Performance Homes custom consulting program, certifies independent consultants who provide developers with specific information about how to increase the energy efficiency of their buildings.
  • Consultants provide recommendations and projected payback time for each improvement made.
  • Consultants make site visits to ensure that agreed upon improvements are being made and installed properly.
  • After passing inspection, buildings will be certified as ENERGY STAR HOMES/Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, programs backed by the EPA and DOE.
  • Financing, in the form of Energy Efficient Mortgages, is available. Tax breaks, rebates and other incentives may also be available.
  • Approximate Cost for ENERGY STAR HOMES:
  • $600.00 for consulting services on a stand-alone home.
  • May be reduced if multiple homes are being built.
  • May be recovered through Xcel rebates or other sources.
  • $900.00 is the average added cost for improvements.
  • Costs are recovered by the homeowner through lower utility bills.


On every HRA / City-funded project within the District Energy service area, the developer is required to obtain cost estimates from District Energy and Xcel Energy for the provision of heating and/or cooling services early in the design process.


On a project by project basis, including new construction, rehab and conversion, PED staff will attempt to negotiate with developers higher standards, which may include, but are not limited to, the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards; the Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines; and Minnesota Green Communities standards.


This policy applies to all projects that have not yet reached the design development phase.

City Contact:
Kurt Schultz
1300 City Hall Annex
25 West 4th Street
St. Paul, MN 55102