MPLS Green Spotlight: Neighbors

Minneapolis: Progressive, Livable, Sustainable, Green

There are movers and shakers leading Minneapolis Greeniness. Neighbors, entrepreneurs, research labs, policy makers, grassroots organizations. This is where MPLS Green shines a spotlight on what they are doing.

“Sustainable We” forums

If you want to be join the conversation — to listen, learn, share and/or suggest — we are creating a network of Minneapolis residents, entrepreneurs and policy-makers who want to understand all the interlocking pieces of the sustainable puzzle. Not just focused on pollinator-friendly plants and composting… but also how to effect fewer carbon emissions from our buildings… how to reduce consumption, not only waste… how to develop sustainable citywide and neighborhood communities that actively finds solutions to reduce the many ways we segregate ourselves (on the basis of ethnicity, home ownership, particular causes).

Learn more here.

— Mikki Morrissette, founder,

MPLSGreen Neighbors

Q&A: Marnie Peichel, on Affordable, Sustainable Housing

As one of the 2015 Eco-Blend award winners, for her work designing sustainability into an affordable North Minneapolis multifamily unit, Marnie Peichel is finding the balance between family life and city engagement that makes a difference in new ways. Her family uses solar power and electric vehicles. And professionally, Peichel is seeking ways to create meaningful impact by…


Celebrate at Surly Brewery! A “Sustainable We” Forum

Toxins — Waste — Design — Energy A Message from Mikki Morrissette: I am sorry to report that the July 5 “Sustainable We” event will be canceled. We did not get the numbers or diversity I was looking for to have a deeper interdisciplinary, citywide discussion. We have much to celebrate in Minneapolis around sustainability,…


Making Things Visible: Sarah Super

What do air pollution and rape have in common? Both were the focus of conversation at “The Visibility Cloak” on Tuesday, April 19, Red Stag — what is invisible right in front of us, and what can we do about it? With so many issues begging for attention — with the sometimes overwhelming weight of white supremacy,…


Seeding Change By Getting to the Table

Last year I had the pleasure of learning about the work of Dr. Cecilia Martinez and Shalini Gupta, co-founders of Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED), because of a writing assignment from Minnesota Women’s Press. On April 19, 2016, they participated in a discussion with me at the Earth Day-inspired Fierce Lament event, “The Visibility Cloak,”…

Adam Kay (in blue shirt), St. Thomas sustainability science professor, with students

Q&A: Adam Kay, St. Thomas, Science and Sustainability

At the inaugural Sustainable We forum on October 20, one of the special guests involved in the group discussion was Adam Kay, biology professor at the University of St. Thomas. He is an ecologist specializing in urban agriculture, urban ecology, and food justice. He believes that it is the responsibility of scientists to provide evidence to…


One Point in the Spider Web

In a recent cable TV interview (clip coming), I noted that one of the purposes of the new “Sustainable We” forums, launching October 20th, is to celebrate the people who embrace the fact that we are a part of the interconnected ecosystem — not above it, or apart from it. What are they doing that we can…


Four Points on the Interconnected Web of “Sustainable We”

In the last four days I’ve been inspired by four different but related Minneapolis conversations that reiterate why MPLS Green is the movement of a network that doesn’t even realize yet that it is a network. MPLS Green is titled as much for Minneapolis green initiatives as it is for the informal tagline, Minneapolis: Progressive, Livable,…


When a Tree Came Down in Lynnhurst: A Renewable Energy Story

When a 280-year-old elm tree in George and Jenna Hutchinson’s backyard had to come down, they turned it into a solar power opportunity. With their new south exposure, they worked with All Energy Solar to put up a rooftop Photo-Voltaic solar array in August 2013. Trained as an architect, and a self-described numbers nerd, George…


2015 EcoBlend Award for Home Design

At the recent BLEND Awards, two local designers were recognized for their smart, sustainably minded designs as EcoBLEND badge winners. Affordable and Sustainable One laudable project was done by Marnie Peichel Architecture and Design, with Lewis Building & Remodeling, on behalf of the City of Lakes Community Land Trust, for a property in North Minneapolis. It is a multi-generational…

Insulation options

How Do We Avoid Ice Dams AND Mold?

This is the second part in a Q&A series with architect Tim Eian, of TE Studios in Northeast Minneapolis, focused on issues of building codes and insulation in Minnesota. See Part 1, about renovating older homes for energy efficiency, here. Q: Why do you think it is hard to get older codes updated for newer materials? Tim Eian:…

Tim Eian, TE Studios

Q&A: Tim Eian on Renovations

I met Tim Eian, owner of Northeast-based TE Studio, at a house demonstration event in St. Anthony Park, and appreciated his articulate, passionate viewpoints about home construction and renovation. I sat down with him for a few hours of conversation, about everything from innovative building materials to progressive politics, from frustrations to hopefulness. Here is…


Q&A With Home Designer Michael Anschel

Minneapolis-based home designer Michael Anschel of Otogawa-Anschel Design+Build (aka OA) led the effort to develop The Minnesota GreenStar building standards, now used in a 7-state region. His has been a long-standing mission to strengthen local housing — starting with a city battle at age 16 around homelessness. Years ago, after being penalized by the city for his…


Q&A: Architect Ron Fergle on Sustainable Materials

Action to address climate change started happening in some areas of the U.S. roughly 20 years ago. Certain businesses started to adapt their spaces, and build more efficient ones, recognizing serious long-term cost savings. Now, gradually, residential homeowners are beginning to recreate with sustainability in mind. The trick for a Minneapolis homeowner – whether pursuing…

zero energy house, St. Anthony Park

A Zero-Energy House Grows in Our Backyard

If you’ve been following our series on Minneapolis sustainable design and the role of homeowners in impacting climate change, you know that in the U.S.: commercial and residential buildings take 75% of the electricity we produce buildings alone create 44.6% of greenhouse gas emissions residential houses use 22% of our energy (heating, cooling, lighting, refrigeration, washing, etc.)…

The sustainable design going up at Edison High School in Northeast Minneapolis Summer 2015 (photo: AWH Architect Alex Haecker)

Spotlight: Edison High School

After Kevin Reich was elected to the Minneapolis City Council in 2009 for Ward 1 (Northeast), he noticed while walking his dog that there were four different lawn care services and four jurisdictions maintaining, in isolation, adjacent youth-oriented properties: Hennepin County Library, YMCA, Edison High School, and some open green park area. He was also…

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Q&A: Metro Bloom’s Rich Harrison on Raingardens

Rich Harrison is a Registered Landscape Architect with Metro Blooms who has worked on water quality issues for more than 20 years. His degrees in urban regional planning and environmental sciences has led to a commitment to reverse the impact of humans. He aspires to help cities redevelop and grow without destroying the natural systems…


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…

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Citizens Climate Lobby participants from Minnesota were among 800 who spoke in 500 Congressional offices in June 2015.

Minneapolis Climate Action Leaders

Climate Action Lobby is a national organization of concerned citizens who are asking for stronger climate protections — including the lobbying of D.C. Congresspeople for carbon fees. Its Minneapolis Climate Action leaders host the monthly conversation in Linden Hills. Monthly meetings are held via national phone conference call on the first Saturdays. The July 11…

Common Roots Cafe, Minneapolis

Support Green Businesses

These are some of the businesses, housing developments and green restaurants in Minneapolis that have been recognized (as of June 2015) as Hennepin County Environmental Partners. That means they have taken steps to put green practices into effect, such as recycling, re-use and composting. Consult this list for places you can support for their respect…


Q&A with Xcel: Community Solar Gardens

One of the primary ways that Minneapolis residents can participate in renewable energy in the near future is through subscriptions in a Community Solar Garden (CSG). We’ve written about this option in detail on this website, including the cooperative model being created to include low-income households and focus on creating local jobs. Through a collaboration…