Thinking green locally


Michael Krause, a Minneapolis Planning Commission member and former executive director of the locally based Green Institute, is leading a for-profit consulting business that would work with developers and cities to promote alternative energy and green buildings.

Krause, the company’s principal, and others created Kandiyohi Development Corp. in August. Potential projects range from helping developers evaluate the costs and benefits of green technology to collaborating on a proposed biomass project in the Phillips neighborhood, a plant that would burn waste wood to create electricity. It is an idea he worked on while at the Green Institute.

Other key members of the Kandiyohi Development Partners are:

– Chief Operating Officer Kim Havey, downtown resident and former Empowerment Zone director.

– Chief Landscape Ecologist Craig Wilson of Lowry Hill, a development associate with Artspace and a master’s degree student in urban planning and landscape architecture at the Humphrey Institute.

– Communications Director Evan Remnick, who has done communications for the Phillips Partnership and Midtown Community Works.

Wilson said the group had common core ethics. They all consider themselves environmentalists and at the same time pro capitalism – “at least capitalism led by a mission.”

The company is still in its infancy and is still taking shape. It’s Web site is supposed to be up soon (

“Part of being entrepreneurial and starting something like this is that you have to be somewhat of a realist, too,” Wilson said. “While you have a dream for something to happen, whether or not that takes root or has a market basis has yet to be seen and tested.”

Krause said the company would also seek consulting work in what he called ”industrial ecology.”

As one small example, he cited efforts at the Green Institute to pair a local foundry and asphalt plant. The foundry had waste sand from its casting process; the asphalt plant needed sand. The Institute facilitated an exchange, so the foundry didn’t have to haul away the sand.

On a larger scale, the company could consult in areas where residential and mixed-use developments are crowding into industrial areas, such as will happen along the Midtown Greenway or the Humboldt Industrial Area. It was important for cities to maintain their industrial land base, he said.

“One of the things you do is you build greener buildings for your industrial activities so there is less of an impact on other kinds of land uses,” he said.

The company will work locally and out of state. Krause said he had already made a trip to Milwaukee looking for potential sites for a biomass plant.

As Krause becomes more involved in local developments, he said he would eventually have to step down from the Planning Commission. “There will be too many conflicts,” he said.

Most of the company’s officials have close ties to City Councilmember Lisa Goodman (7th Ward), who also has an interest in promoting alternative energy sources.

Havey and Goodman are friends and live in condos in the same building; Wilson has worked as an intern in Goodman’s office for the past three summers, focusing on such issues as Downtown greening, the new stormwater utility fee and green roof policies.

Krause and Goodman jointly own a farm in Kandiyohi County – the source of the company’s name. “It’s the ground that grounds me,” Krause said.

He and the others didn’t want a company name with “eco” in it, Krause said. “We didn’t want to do “Green this’ or ‘Earth that.’”