We know that Roseville residents cherish their green space, lakes, ponds, and other natural resources and they want them sustained and protected for future generations.
City leaders have listened and are taking action.
Roseville is honored to receive the 2023 Sustainable City Award from the League of Minnesota Cities. The award highlights several initiatives including work on the Xcel Energy Partners in Energy program and implementing our Energy Action Plan.
The City Council made a big gesture this year by adding full-time Sustainability Specialist Noelle Bakken, who works closely with city staff, community partners, and residents to make our city and region more sustainable.
Bakken joined the city as a sustainability intern in 2021 and was promoted to her full-time role in May. Bakken has her master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Minnesota. Bakken, who lives in Roseville, worked in the insurance industry for 14 years before pivoting her career to one that aligned with her values and passions.
What drew you to this work?
Noelle Bakken: While several experiences in my life guided me to this area, my strongest touchstone to the environment is birds. One year I made it my goal to identify every bird in our backyard. Later that same year, on my short walk to the bus after work in downtown Minneapolis, I found several dead or injured birds that had struck windows during fall migration. Seeing these birds that I had just learned to identify in such a state was a clear turning point for me, when I knew I needed to do more than just read books and watch wildlife through binoculars.
What is sustainability?
NB: To me, “sustainability” means responsibly managing the environment and resources available to us now in such a way that they will continue to be available to future generations. It’s about creating a community that is abundant, healthy, equitable, and resilient for us in the present, and will continue to thrive into the future.
Who will you be helping in your new role?
NB: This role is both inward and outward-facing. We want to help business owners and residents to be more sustainable, and work to make our city operations more efficient and sustainable as well. I’m based in public works and engineering, but work across all city departments on sustainability issues.
What is a great starting point to be more sustainable in our own homes and small businesses?
NB: One easy thing you can do is swap out any lightbulbs, including CFLs and incandescent light bulbs, for LEDS. They are much more energy efficient and can save a lot of money on your energy bill.
A Home Energy Squad visit will help you identify where you get the most bang for your buck when it comes to energy savings. Roseville is doing great on this – last year we won the Intercity Home Energy Squad Challenge for most visits per capita!
Subscribe to the city’s sustainability e-newsletter which is full of tips and updates to improve sustainability at home and at the office.
What are some things the city has done to be more sustainable in recent years?
NB: The city installed solar panels on its campus to reduce our energy consumption. All city lights, including traffic lights and streetlights, are LED. We have one plug-in hybrid vehicle, with more electric vehicles on the horizon for other departments.
We also have an environmentally preferential purchase policy for city operations. We ask that any kind of material used by the city (such as office supplies) is recyclable, reusable, or refillable.
What are some of the new initiatives and programs now underway and in the works?
NB: We are working closely with Ramsey County on their curbside organics pickup program and their new environmental service center, which will be located in Roseville.
We’ve also revamped our sustainability award program. It’s now open to all residents including renters and homeowners, businesses, and commercial properties. In addition to recognizing big projects, we also want to recognize how small efforts add up. If you are getting a home energy audit done or using reusable bags for grocery shopping, we want to recognize residents for that!
Two other high-priority areas are expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the city, and developing a comprehensive Climate Action Plan to help guide future program and policy efforts. We look forward to sharing more about those soon!
Learn more about Roseville Sustainability at CityofRoseville.com/sustainability