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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Milwaukee to revamp energy efficiency program

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Milwaukee is revamping a program aimed at encouraging homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient and will unveil it this spring, Mayor Tom Barrett said.

The city sought a variety of funding alternatives to encourage homeowners to boost the efficiency of their buildings, letting city residents pay for the upgrades over time on their utility bill or their tax bill.

Rebuffed in those efforts, the city will instead apply stimulus funds to help create a revolving loan fund for the projects when it relaunches the ME2, or Milwaukee Energy Efficiency program, this spring, Barrett said during a White House roundtable Tuesday on "greening America's cities."

"But to me that still doesn't get at the core issue," Barrett said. "The challenge is how do you take that family, or single woman or man, who's living in that house who's got financial issues right now. They live in an older home, and how do you convince them that it's in their best interest to make their home more energy efficient?"

The barriers to increasing investment in energy efficiency are many, despite the payback in lower energy costs, said Joel Rogers, head of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy and a leader in the national Emerald Cities Collaborative aimed at making government and institutional buildings more cost-effective in their energy use.

"The first major barrier is that most people don't know much about what they can save," Rogers said.

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