Minneapolis and LEED Design

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


Minneapolis LEED Buildings might not be as extensive as Portland, Oregon (the general comparison MPLS Green is making in this series), but we do have pioneers.

Of 154 LEED-oriented commercial and residential projects in Minneapolis overall, 76 have completed the certification process. The first were commercial interior projects:

  • mechanical and electrical engineering firm Dunham Associates (50 South Sixth Street, Suite 1100), which got silver-certified status in November 2007, largely for using innovation to reduce water usage by 30% and optimize energy efficiency;
  • and litigation attorneys Bowman & Brooke LLP (150 Fifth Street, Suite 3000), certified in December 2007, largely for re-use and recycling of materials and improvement of indoor air quality.

Three LEED commercial projects in Minneapolis have completed certification process thus far in 2015.

  • Room and Board Central Campus, which is gold-certified for its renovation of an existing building (72 of 110 points), especially for its energy and atmosphere improvements using smart materials. (June 2015)
  • Washburn Center for Children (2430 Nicollet Ave), which is gold certified for new construction (62/110 points), with its strongly sustainable site focused on indoor air quality. (June 2015)
  • CMA Office Relocation (800 Washington Ave N.), which became certified for commercial interior improvements (40/110) by scoring well on development density and communication connectivity, with improvements in water use reduction. (April 2015)

See also the MPLS Green article about LEED Housing.

Here is the list of LEED-certified commercial buildings in Minneapolis thus far.

New Construction

Existing Buildings

Core and Shell

Commercial Interiors


See our MPLSGreen story about the greening of Edison High School

LEED Homes in Minneapolis:
Where are they?

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.

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.

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.