Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Izzy's Ice Cream
Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN
Nominated by Sunrise Banks

Creamy, dense, rich – rarely does the word ‘green’ sneak into one’s mind when describing the neighborhood scoop shop. Rooted in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, Izzy’s Ice Cream is aiming to change that.

Bringing ‘Minnesota Nice’ to Mother Earth is a challenge owners Lara Hammel and Jeff Sommers are trying to innovate. In 2005, Izzy’s original location became the first known ice cream shop with the ability to cut a third of its energy consumption via its 200 solar panels, 8.6 kilowatts of power, during high-noon, peak production. More panels have been added to Izzy’s own headquarters, fostering and encouraging an environmentally-friendly ripple effect throughout the company.

Both Izzy’s locations rely on ZAP Water, ElectroChemical Activation (ECA) Technology, which, in a few words, turns water into cleaning agents. This technology efficiently and safely cleans and sanitizes all surfaces and dishware. ZAP Water eliminates the need for Izzy’s to invest in or use potentially harmful chemicals by yielding the ability to kill microorganisms while only requiring a small amount of water and salt brine. With the added capability of being made in-house, no packaging or shipping costs and effects are waged on the world.

Izzy’s newest addition – its Minneapolis shop and kitchen – was tailored with the environment in mind. Four large clerestories are housed above the kitchen, greatly eliminating the need for anything more than natural light. The building’s also designed to disperse residual heat from kitchen machinery, reducing energy needed to heat the space during brutal Minnesota winters. Ducts linking the roof to the basement draw in cool, outside air. This air is  directed to the basement to help moderate the machinery to work more efficiently and prevent overheating, while the warm air from the basement is then directed where it’s needed or outside.

As Izzy’s aims to eliminate chemical use and reduce heating, cooling, and lighting energy expenditure, we also encourage customers to take advantage of our compostable cups, bowls, spoons, and other varied ice cream goods. Our Izzy’s delivery van, playful and petite, relies on an eco-friendly thermal bunker and reusable freezer bags and ice packs in lieu of a larger, fuel-guzzling freezer truck.

To everyone at Izzy’s, being energy-minded is just as important as being locally-minded. Trying to unite the communities we’re planted in is more than important. Creating bonds with local sources of ingredients from coffee beans and maple syrup to the family farm we source our cream from is vital to our core belief in helping one another. These relationships also help the environment by reducing transportation costs while honing our passion for community.

The Twin Cities is a stomping ground for social awareness and community action to make the spaces we all use simply better for everyone. With locations in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, two of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation, Izzy’s would use the money won to promote and facilitate alternative transportation, like biking, to both locations! Through the unity of ice cream, Izzy’s is on a mission to help the environment and the community whenever possible.