Frequently asked questions

What is an “assessment,” and how does one typically work?

The assessment process begins when an interested organization contacts RETAP and requests an assessment. Once a determination has been made to go ahead with the assessment, the interested organization will be asked to

  • Sign a letter of agreement outlining the scope of the assessment.
  • Provide the names and contact information of key representatives of the organization.
  • Provide copies of the last 12 months of utility bills, including electricity, natural gas, LP gas, water, sewer, garbage collection, and recycling pickup. 

The on-site visit includes a thorough walkthrough of the facilities, looking at the major systems (HVAC, lighting, building envelope, water use) and waste generation.

After the assessment visit, the assessment team prepares a written report with specific recommendations for waste reduction, pollution prevention, energy conservation, and opportunities for cost savings. 

A few months after the report has been presented to the organization, a Minnesota RETAP representative will follow up with the organization to learn about recommendations that have been implemented or planned and to answer questions generated by the assessment.

How much does an assessment cost?

The RETAP service is free to the client. The MPCA provides financial support for Minnesota RETAP. 

Who are the assessment team members?

Most assessment team members are retired engineers, scientists, managers, or other professional who have worked in Minnesota business, industry, or education and have 30 to 40 years of experience. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have received training in conducting assessments in the areas of pollution prevention, waste reduction, and energy conservation.

Who does the assessment team work for?

RETAP has a coordinator; the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency provides funding and administrative oversight. 

What are the benefits of an assessment?

Through facility assessments, information is generated to help determine the efficiency of a facility’s operating systems, opportunities for waste reduction, and its total energy use. This information is valuable to those overseeing the operations and safety of the buildings. In addition, participants receive a written report that offers recommendations for energy savings, waste reduction, and pollution prevention that benefit the environment and may save money. In most cases, the report will include a “benchmarking” score that compares the facility to similar structures in this region of the country. The report offers the opportunity to use recommendations as a guide for setting priorities and budgets for future projects.

Is my business, organization, or school eligible?

All small to mid-sized businesses, industries, and institutional facilities (public, private, and tribal) in Minnesota are eligible for Minnesota RETAP services. Facilities served by Minnesota RETAP include, but are not limited to hotels, restaurants, hospitals, grocery stores, schools, auto repair shops, rental properties, small manufactures, breweries, binderies, printers, bakeries, moving and storage companies, and local governments. If your goal is assessment of a large manufacturing plant or very large company, RETAP may refer you to another service.

Will the assessment team try to sell me engineering, consulting, or other services?


Does Minnesota RETAP help with regulatory compliance?

No. Minnesota RETAP assessments are outside the regulatory and compliance framework of MPCA. For assistance with compliance issues, please visit the MPCA’s Small Business Environmental Assistance Program.

What’s the difference between Minnesota RETAP and Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP)? Are they the same program?

RETAP and MnTAP are different but complementary programs. Both are free services supported by the MPCA. Both use technically trained, experienced professionals to assist Minnesota organizations in reducing waste, pollution, and energy use.

  • Minnesota RETAP focuses on the non-manufacturing commercial and service sectors, conducting integrated environmental assessments and other services, and making recommendations for reducing waste, pollution, and energy use.
  • • MnTAP provides detailed analyses of specific problems and works with organizations to implement practical solutions. Minnesota RETAP may refer a client to a MnTAP specialist who can further assist the organization.