Mayor Tom Barrett
Press Release

Mayor Barrett and U.S. Secretary of Energy Chu call for renewed Clean Energy Tax Credits as Milwaukee joins the Better Buildings Challenge

Milwaukee commits to reduce energy use by 20% by 2020

By - Jul 12th, 2012 06:39 pm

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu joined Mayor Tom Barrett today on a tour of Ingeteam’s expanded manufacturing facilities in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley. Secretary Chu highlighted the need to extend clean energy tax credits and support the continued growth of clean energy industries in Wisconsin and nationwide. Ingeteam received a $1.66 million Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit to build a new $21 million campus in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley, hire local workers, and begin production of their wind turbines here in the U.S.

Promoting energy efficiency efforts in existing buildings is another key to economic development. Mayor Barrett today announced Milwaukee’s partnership in the Better Buildings Challenge, a Department of Energy (DOE) national leadership program calling on corporate chief executives, university presidents, state, local and school district leaders to reduce their portfolio-wide energy use by 20 percent by 2020 and showcase the solutions they use and the results they achieve. The City will be reviewing its portfolio of core buildings with the Department of Energy to determine which may qualify for the challenge.

“The City of Milwaukee is leading by example. We are systematically making energy efficiency improvements in all City buildings, saving the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually,” said Mayor Barrett. “Today, I’m pleased to set new goals for city buildings focusing on downtown facilities.”

The Milwaukee chapter of the Building Owners and Management Association (BOMA) and the Downtown Business Improvement District have joined the effort and will encourage all of Milwaukee’s downtown property owners and managers to participate in the Better Buildings Challenge.

Sheldon Oppermann, the incoming President for the Wisconsin chapter of BOMA said, “Energy efficiency projects can help existing building owners remain competitive. We need to walk the talk, and we hope others will follow our lead.” Oppermann, who is also the Vice President for Compass Properties, has pledged the CityCenter at 735 N Water Street, as the first office participant from the private sector to accept the challenge.

The City of Milwaukee and US Department of Energy stand ready to support Milwaukee property owners take the Better Buildings Challenge with the Milwaukee Energy Efficiency Program, Me2. Me2 is a city-wide program that provides grants and financing to businesses who make energy efficiency improvements in existing buildings between now and May, 2013. For large commercial buildings, Me2 can pay for up to 30% of energy efficiency projects, up to $300,000 per property.

The Me2 program has 39 participating commercial contractors available to make these energy efficient upgrades. Each one is committed to putting Milwaukee residents back to work on these projects. Johnson Controls International, whose Building Efficiency Unit is headquartered in Milwaukee, is currently developing several large-scale Me2 projects and is available to assess opportunities for improvements and implement comprehensive projects in large office buildings.

About the Better Buildings Challenge

The Better Buildings Challenge is a national leadership initiative that calls on chief executive officers, university presidents, and state and local leaders to significantly reduce their portfolio wide energy use and share the results of their energy reduction strategies. Launched by President Obama in December of 2011, the goal of the Better Buildings Challenge is to make American commercial and industrial buildings at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020. More than 100 organizations, representing almost 2 billion square feet of commercial and industrial buildings and almost $2 billion in energy efficiency financing, currently partner with the U.S. Department of Energy in the Better Buildings Challenge. For more information please visit

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