LEED Homes in Minneapolis: Where are they?

Second in a series that looks at Minneapolis and our approach to sustainable design, climate change and energy efficiency

Anyone navigating around the Downtown and Uptown areas knows how much new construction of multi-family complexes is going on.

Density… biking… healthy living… sustainability. These are the watchwords of the growing population of the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) market.

As Jerry Yudelson wrote in the 2008 book, The Green Building Revolution, “America has experienced the emergence of a new demographic segment made up of people working in knowledge-intensive businesses. The rise of this ‘creative class’ has the potential to change American demographic patterns as dramatically as the rise of Levittown and the suburban lifestyle did after World War II. An increasing trend for creatives and baby boomers is to relocate into one of the top 30 metropolitan areas. They want connectedness. They want the amenities of urban living. And they don’t want to commute for hours each day for the privilege of mowing a patch of grass on Saturdays. This trend is already evidence in Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, New York, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco.”

Minneapolis city planners, policy-makers and developers understand this trend.  Minneapolis is literally building toward being a prime destination for the LOHAS market — roughly defined as the 1 in 4 adults who believe in progressive social, economic and environmental change. But a big piece of that is…

Where will they live?

Many professional architects and builders in Minneapolis follow standards of LEED and Minnesota GreenStar (now part of Michigan-based GreenHome Institute). They are helping the LOHAS market find and recreate more energy-efficient homes and buildings. But inventory-wise, the number of LEED homes in Minneapolis isn’t plentiful right now.

Over the years, fewer than 20 Minneapolis homes and multifamily new constructions have sought LEED certification. In contrast, 170 homes in Portland, Oregon, have pursued LEED standards. In addition to many multifamily units built to LEED standards, Portland recently opened an affordable housing complex for some of the region’s poorest households, which will save on energy bills and have healthier air quality because of it. Through passive housing standards, the building has a goal of using just over 120 kilowatt-hours per unit per month, compared to about 400 kilowatt-hours a month for the typical Oregonian.

(MPLS Green will draw a lot of comparisons to Portland because of similar population numbers and progressive values.)

One reason Minneapolis is not on par with Portland in LEED housing is that many of our residents simply aren’t aware of the benefits.

In this MPLS Green series, we look at:

  • What the LEED standards mean for enhancing energy savings and health quality over time — and potential resale value;
  • The ways commercial buildings are pursuing LEED standards — largely for the cost savings that ultimately come from it;
  • How older homes can be retrofitted for greater energy efficiency, with increasing access to resources and materials;
  • The architects and developers who are helping to make that happen.

In this article, we specifically look at a few houses in Minneapolis created by LEED pioneers.

There are more than 80,000 LEED-focused projects across the United States. Of those, more than 28K are homes.

LEED Housing

The following Minneapolis homes have completed the LEED certification process. (Six more are in process.) Levels are based on points tallied during the reconstruction or build process related to sustainability of site, materials used, indoor air quality, improvement of energy and atmosphere, and innovative design.

In This Series

Related Resources

Based on the full City of Minneapolis report on house demolition in Minneapolis, “Green Building and Deconstruction Report” (March 2015)


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