Energy and Conservation

The energy and conservation component of the Comprehensive Plan update will provide an in-depth review of local energy production. It will establish a baseline of local energy production, including methods of production and the levels of emissions associated with those methods, and establish policy direction for future energy production, pollution and emissions reduction goals, and environmental conservation. 

We presented draft research questions at the first focus group meeting in February 2017. Based on feedback we got at that meeting we finalized the research questions in April. After conducting research to answer these questions and looking at best practices for energy topics in comprehensive plans, we developed draft Energy & Conservation policies. We presented these draft policies at the June 2017 focus group meeting and are currently working on gathering more feedback from the public and community partners, revising the policies, and beginning to draft implementation strategies for each policy. Goals are broad topic areas we think this section of comprehensive plan should focus on. The 13 policies listed below are more specific ideas that can help us achieve the goals. Implementation strategies, which we have not drafted yet, are actions we can take to implement the policies.

Draft policies as of 6/21/17:

      Goal 1: Design buildings sustainably to serve current and future generations.


  1. Identify and adopt additional energy efficiency standards where appropriate and cost-effective.
  2. Incentivize commercial building owners to benchmark and publish building energy use.
  3. Prioritize residential energy efficiency retrofit programs and projects with housing rehabilitation funds.
  4. Identify and promote existing building energy incentives such as rebates, low interest loans, efficiency certification programs, and affordable energy efficiency retrofit programs.

      Goal 2: Increase the use of renewable energy sources.


  1. Identify locations and partnerships for cogeneration, including the City’s steam plant and large institutions such as hospitals and colleges.
  2. Identify locations and partnership opportunities for solar gardens, such as vacant tax forfeit land, brownfields, and building rooftops.
  3. Identify and promote opportunities for renters and incentives for landlords to affordably invest in renewable energy.
  4. Identify and promote opportunities for homeowners to affordably invest in renewable energy.

      Goal 3: Support development and growth with efficient public infrastructure and services.


  1. Adopt energy efficiency and energy saving targets for City owned facilities and City operations.
  2. Explore the feasibility of converting the steam plant to biomass.
  3. Consider the costs and benefits beyond the financial ones when making decisions about energy and infrastructure investments.
  4. Encourage energy efficient outdoor lighting, such as LED, on public and private property and streets, while ensuring lighting doesn’t negatively impact the aesthetics and quality of life of the city.
  5. Mitigate and prepare for extreme weather events and changing climate.


Meeting Agendas and Summaries

Next Meeting: TBA


June 21, 2017


February 9, 2017



Duluth Greenhouse Gas Inventory (2008)
Duluth Greenhouse Gas Inventory (2001)