The City of Apple Valley is committed to a sustainable future. Read below to learn about past, current, and future city-wide sustainability projects, goals, and initiatives. 

  1. Grants, Awards, and Recognitions
  2. Facilities
  3. Electric Vehicles, Equipment and Charging Stations
  4. Building a Sustainable Infrastructure
  5. Natural Resource Management
  6. In the Community
  7. Employee Remote Work and Virtual Meetings
  8. 2040 Plan

MPCA GreenStep Cities Step 5 Recognition

The GreenStep Cities Program is a voluntary challenge, assistance, and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability and quality-of-life goals. Launched in 2010, the program has five levels of recognition for city action.

The City of Apple Valley was officially recognized as a Step 5 GreenStep City on June 14, 2022. This is the highest recognition level possible under the program. Learn more about the City’s efforts here.

Green Globe™ Certifications

The City of Apple Valley has received multiple Green Globe™ certifications for constructing green buildings and renewing existing facilities with energy efficiency improvements. The award-winning design of several public buildings demonstrates the City’s commitment to minimizing its carbon footprint and improving efficiency.

Green Globe™ certification is a series of rating and certification systems that encourage improved environmental and health performance for all types of buildings except residential structures. Green Globes™ is administered in the United States by the Green Building Initiative.

  1. Apple Valley Liquor Store 3: Certified as Two-Globes, this building utilizes a geothermal heating/cooling system to minimize energy usage for the store and its coolers. This was the first project in the State of Minnesota to be certified by the Green Building Initiative with Two Green Globes. This facility was also the recipient of an Energy Star Award.
  2. Apple Valley Senior Center: Certified as Two-Globes under the Green Globe rating system, this facility makes use of daylight harvesting and in-floor radiant heating and features a green roof.
  3. Valleywood Clubhouse: Certified as Three-Globes, this building features extensive use of daylighting to minimize artificial lighting among many other energy-efficient elements.

Tree City Certification

Apple Valley has been a member of Tree City USA since 1984. Standards to become a certified Tree City include:

  1. Maintaining a tree board or department
  2. Having a community tree ordinance
  3. Spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry
  4. Celebrating Arbor Day

The City aims to include trees throughout the City to sequester carbon, reduce energy usage, remove air pollutants, filter stormwater, and cool hot city streets by providing shade and releasing water vapor. 

For example, the City's downtown Ring Route is approximately 2.75 miles long and contains 417 established trees. Trees are planted in 4' by 4' openings on decorative concrete boulevard surfaces and are spaced approximately 25' apart.

Better Energy Grant Projects

Block Grants

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the City of Apple Valley was allocated $441,500 for its share of the block grants. The city submitted an application for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program on June 25, 2009. On September 14, 2009, the city was awarded the grant funding.


The funded projects were based on formal energy audits conducted at the police facility, the Central Maintenance Facility, and the Water Treatment Plant in 2009, and basic lighting audits conducted at the three fire stations. Using the expertise of the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), staff targeted improvements that would provide the most benefit and return on investment for the city. The grant application also included $110,576 in additional funds that would be leveraged for the projects from ISD 196 and Dakota Electric rebates, raising the total project cost to $552,076.

Plan Summary

In summary, the plan included: $5,100 for assistance from the CEE in developing the plan; $104,603 to retrofit lighting in the three fire stations, Liquor Store #1, the police facility, the Central Maintenance Facility, and the Water Treatment Plant; $166,900 for building automation systems and HVAC improvements to the police facility, the Central Maintenance Facility, and Water Treatment Plant; $155,000 to upgrade and replace the boilers in the Sports Arena; $15,000 for an LED streetlight study project; $20,000 for the study and engineering of the Central Maintenance Facility HVAC improvements; $35,473 for additional administrative (engineering and legal) costs in further analysis and administration of the grant; and $50,000 to use in conjunction with our community-wide energy efficiency effort that provides direct support to residents through a revolving loan fund.

Better Energy for Businesses

Apple Valley businesses are showing that energy efficiency makes sense for their bottom line and the environment. Since 2007, Apple Valley businesses have worked with Dakota Electric and Center Point Energy on over 100 efficiency projects and cut their annual energy bills by over $285,000.

In partnership with the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce and with input from Apple Valley business leaders, Better Energy is finding ways to help businesses cut their costs by saving energy. Two roundtable meetings identified the following opportunities:

  • Benchmarking to help businesses compare their energy use and costs to industry peers
  • Bulk purchasing of proven, low-cost, and quick-payback efficiency devices 
  • Conducting an energy survey to identify progress and opportunities throughout the business community
  • Energy survey for businesses that lease their space
  • Energy survey for businesses that own their space
  • Connecting businesses to efficiency rebates and utility programs
  • Employee "green teams" to save businesses money through no-cost behavior solutions
  • Exploring ways building owners and tenants can both benefit from energy efficiency
  • Recognizing energy-efficient businesses