The City of Milwaukee Embraces Energy Savings

City of Milwaukee Reduces Energy Use Intensity by 5%, With Plans to Cut More

Written by Emily Holbrook,, March 29, 2018

To date, the City of Milwaukee has reduced energy use intensity by 5%, saving taxpayers on energy-consumption costs.

In early March, local business leaders gathered at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to dig into city energy data with City Hall officials, all in the pursuit of uncovering energy savings opportunities. This meeting marked the second Benchmarking Jam for the City of Milwaukee as part of its work with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Milwaukee fosters public-private partnerships through their business and community engagement strategy, aimed at expanding energy efficiency to private sector buildings. Milwaukee Better Buildings Challenge Partners have achieved energy-efficiency success by securing financing, since Milwaukee Better Buildings Challenge partners have access to PACE financing.

The city encourages local businesses and K-12 schools to implement energy efficiency projects in their buildings and participate in the city’s comprehensive energy efficiency program, Better Buildings Challenge – Milwaukee (BBC-MKE). BBC-MKE aims to assist 200+ buildings, particularly Class B & C commercial buildings, small commercial buildings, and K-12 schools, in every aspect of energy efficiency projects, including assessment, financing, and implementation, to help buildings reach their energy goals. To date, more than 100 non-city buildings are participating in BBC-MKE.

The City of Milwaukee has committed to reduce the energy used in city buildings by 20% by 2022.

In June 2017, a Milwaukee developer announced she would upgrade an outdated building with energy efficient features thanks to funding from the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) initiative. Developer Juli Kaufmann has installed an energy efficient furnace, a more efficient water heater, upgraded windows, LED lighting, more insulation and a green roof in her 1930s former tavern near downtown Milwaukee. The improvements cost approximately $150,000.

Kaufmann received financing for these improvements from the Milwaukee version of PACE, which allows her to use her annual energy savings of approximately $10,000 to pay the loan back over several years through a special assessment on her property tax bill. Milwaukee then sends the money to PACE equity, which provided the funding.


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