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Milwaukee Showcases Leadership in Energy Efficiency, Better Buildings Challenge

WASHINGTON – As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to double energy productivity by 2030, the Energy Department today recognized the city of Milwaukee, Wis., for its leadership in the Department’s Better Buildings Challenge – helping the city save on energy costs and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, Milwaukee has pledged to reduce the energy intensity for five million square feet of city-owned buildings by 20 percent in ten years. Since 2009, the city has already reduced its energy intensity by 10 percent.

“Through President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge, our partners are committing to real change, breaking through barriers and sharing their successes,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. “We applaud these partners, including Milwaukee, for joining this leadership initiative and we look forward to supporting their work to make their communities more energy efficient, save money for taxpayers and protect our air and water.”

As part of the Better Buildings Challenge, Milwaukee has retrofitted the Milwaukee Central Library, including surveying and repairing dozens of steam traps in the basement to help cut energy waste and replacing old lighting with new, energy efficient bulbs throughout the building. As a result of these upgrades, the Milwaukee Central Library is on track to save about $47,000 in energy costs per year.

“Through the Better Buildings Challenge, we're working to rebuild Milwaukee from the inside out.” said Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Mayor. “With energy efficiency projects, our historic existing buildings can save money, create local jobs, and contribute to a more vibrant community.”

Through these efforts, Milwaukee Central Library has cut its energy use by over 11 percent and is evaluating additional efficiency measures, such as upgrading the building’s energy controls and piloting a new energy monitoring software to help coordinate the facility’s different HVAC components. These improvements are expected to reduce building-wide energy use by an additional four percent.

In 2011, President Obama launched the Better Buildings Challenge to catalyze revolutionary change in energy use and achieve record-breaking energy bill savings. More than 120 organizations -- including a diverse set of public and private sector partners from local governments, school districts and universities to commercial real estate, healthcare and manufacturing – are partnering with the Energy Department to achieve portfolio-wide energy savings and share successful strategies that maximize efficiency. In addition, the Better Buildings Challenge includes a network of Financial and Utility Allies to assist partners in overcoming financial and data access barriers across the marketplace.

Better Buildings Challenge partners are actively deploying energy efficiency projects across their entire building portfolios and updating data on energy use and energy savings, including more than 7,700 facilities to date. Of these, more than 1,300 have reduced energy intensity by 20 percent or more, while another 2,100 have reduced energy intensity by at least 10 percent since their baseline years. Over the first year of the Better Buildings Challenge, these partners have also completed more than 50 showcase projects that highlight innovative, cost-effective energy saving strategies. Better Buildings Challenge Financial Allies have also extended more than $1.1 billion in private financing for energy efficiency improvements.

Find more information about the Better Buildings Challenge participants, including the city of Milwaukee, and their energy efficiency projects at