Milwaukee to spend $100 million on energy efficiency commitment

As the White House begins to ramp up efforts in addressing the country's energy and climate change concerns, cities all across the nation are jumping on the energy efficiency bandwagon and committing to the Obama administration's Better Buildings Challenge. The goal of this national initiative is to reduce city energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020. In accordance with this mission statement, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced on Tuesday, July 23, that he was pledging $100 million to making the city more eco-friendly.

One of the primary roadblocks that keeps sustainability from catching on more is the upfront cost. While green homes and buildings save money in the long run on lower utility bills, the expenses required to first make those modifications may discourage some from pursuing the option further. But the Milwaukee plan looks to remove this obstacle by helping building owners pay for energy-saving upgrades over a period of time instead of all at once.

Local news source The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the announcement was made in part because of a new deal between the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. and the California-based Clean Fund, which works to finance energy efficiency renovations. The arrangement will appropriate $100 million to green projects over a three-year period.

"What we found is a need to have longer-term thinking for property owners," Mayor Barrett told the source. "We're looking for a voluntary way […] for property owners to invest in their properties and spread the cost of these improvements."

The program is a part of the city's ReFresh Milwaukee campaign, which looks to reduce energy usage by 20 percent across five million square feet of property.

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