MPCA has developed a set of 28 Best Practices, grouped into 5 general categories, that identify aspects of sustainability that can improve efficiency and reduce our environmental impact. The MPCA GreenStep Cities website provides information about the environmental and financial costs and benefits of each Best Practice. By completing the Best Practices the city will be recognized by the MPCA for its efforts. Bigger cities are required to complete more of the Best Practices to achieve each "Step" of the program. Based on its size, services, and organization Northfield is considered a large city ("Class A City") in the GreenStep Cities program.
MPCA has developed a list of Action Steps that can be completed in order to fulfill each Best Practice. The combination of required and optional Action Steps varies between the Best Practices, but the ultimate result is a great deal of flexibility in the way that cities can approach the program and meet their individual goals. In June 2011 the site will be updated to provide more guidance on how cities can complete the Action Steps.
The ultimate intent of the GreenStep Cities program is to help cities like Northfield develop a set of attainable goals toward greater sustainability. By creating a community of cities all working together they will be able to share tools and processes that work best.