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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Director pleased with city's 'green' reputation

From a Business Journal interview with Ann Beier, Milwaukee’s director of environmental sustainability, conducted by Pete Millard:

1. Since your appointment just over two years ago, what’s been your most satisfying achievement?

“The most satisfying achievement has been the overall success of Mayor Barrett’s sustainability initiatives. I am also pleased with Milwaukee’s reputation as a ‘green’ city. Each year, Sustain Lane, a nonprofit group that provides information on sustainability practices for individuals, businesses and governments, ranks the 50 largest U.S. cities for their sustainability programs. In 2008, Milwaukee was ranked 12th. This a move up from 16th in the prior ranking. This is an important recognition and shows how well we are doing among much larger cities.

We’ve also been named by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of only 24 Solar American Cities, and we are working with the department to reduce barriers to installation of solar technology in Milwaukee.”

2. What are some specific examples illustrating how Milwaukee is more energy efficient today than two years ago?

“The mayor has directed city departments to reduce energy use by 15 percent over the period 2005-2012. By reducing our energy use, we are also reducing our carbon foot print and saving taxpayer dollars.

“We have focused on making our buildings more efficient. We’ve worked with Focus on Energy, the state’s energy efficiency program, to conduct audits of our highest energy-using buildings. We’ve implemented efficiency projects as a result of the audit findings. For the municipal building complex (City Hall, the municipal building and 809 Broadway building), we saved $35,000 in the first year and reduced energy use by 9 percent.

We are also converting stoplights to more efficient LED lights, reducing energy use for stoplights by about 50 percent annually. Another part of our strategy is to convert to cleaner fuels. We now fuel our diesel fleet with B-20 biodiesel fuel. We’ve also installed renewable energy in several facilities.”

1 comment:

  1. Of the money we have seen thrown around thus far let me ask you this, that 168 billion that our country borrowed to give away to us in the form of an "economic stimulus package" ...did it do a darn thing to create jobs or stimulate our economy? NO, nothing. And we borrowed the money from China.

    This past year the high cost of gas nearly destroyed our economy and society. More people lost jobs and homes as a direct result of that than any other factor in our history.

    Fannie and Freddie continue to get all the blame. Of all the homes I have seen lost in my area SW FL and believe me I have seen many, none were due to an adjustable mortgage. They were due to lack of work.

    Families went broke at the pump alone. Then added to that most saw record rate hikes at their utility companies. The high cost of fuel resulted in higher production and shipping costs that were passed on to the consumer, in most cases higher prices for smaller packaging.

    Consumers tightened their belts, cut back, went out to eat less or stopped totally. Drove around on tires that needed replacing longer, some even quit buying medicines they really need.Unfortunately cutting back and spending less results in even more layoffs. A real economical catch-22.

    And, as we are doing the happy dance around the lower prices at the pumps OPEC is planning to cut production to raise prices. They are even getting Russia in on the cutbacks. Oil is finite. We have used up the easy to get to reserves already. It will run out one day.

    We have so much available to us. Solar and Wind are free sources of energy. Of course to get the harnessing process set up is somewhat costly it is still free energy.

    It would cost the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive an electric car. The electricity to charge the car could be generated by solar or wind at least in part and in most cases totally.

    If all gasoline cars, trucks, and suv’s instead had plug-in electric drive trains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota. What a powerful resources we have neglected.

    Jeff Wilson has a profound new book out called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. Powerful, powerful book! I think we need to rethink all these bailouts and stimulus packages. We need to use some of these billions to bail America out of it's dependence on foreign oil. Create clean cheap energy, create millions of badly needed new green collar jobs and get out from under the grip foreign oil has on us. What a win -win situation that would be for America at large