Wisconsin Cities Working Together
Progress Within 2.7 Years of Program Launch*
residential evaluations completed
residential energy upgrades completed
residential loans provided (for a total of $1.9 million)
commercial evaluations completed
square feet of commercial space covered by upgrades
*Progress reported through June 2013.
Wisconsin Energy Efficiency (WE2)
- Milwaukee Energy Efficiency (Me2)
- Green Madison
- City of Racine
Milwaukee, Madison, and Racine, Wisconsin
Target Building Types:
Residential, commercial, and industrial
Three Wisconsin cities and their respective utilities, governments, trade allies, trade associations, and financing partners are combining their skills and resources to help increase energy efficiency in homes and commercial/industrial buildings and create jobs.
With $20 million in seed funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC) and its partner cities of Milwaukee, Madison, and Racine created Wisconsin Energy Efficiency (WE2). In collaboration with Focus on Energy, Wisconsin utilities' statewide program for energy efficiency and renewable energy, We2 is putting the latest energy efficiency approaches into action to help upgrade residential and commercial buildings and support job creation.
Milwaukee: Me2 Promotes WE2 to Milwaukee Homeowners
Milwaukee: Me2 for the Commercial Sector
Madison: Going Green in the State Capital
Workforce Development: Partners Support Jobs in All Three Communities
"We recognize that there is a shortage of jobs in our community, but that there is no shortage of opportunities to do energy efficiency work. This grant will allow us to catalyze the private market for energy efficiency retrofits."
Acting Director of Environmental Sustainability, Milwaukee
Focus on Energy
City of Madison
City of Milwaukee
City of Racine
Madison Gas & Electric
Summit Credit Union
Me2 Promotes WE2 to Milwaukee Homeowners
Milwaukee Energy Efficiency (Me2) is educating residents and business owners about energy efficiency, financing options, and available rebates for energy efficiency upgrades. Me2 helps make energy efficiency improvements in homes and businesses as part of the We2 pilot program sponsored by the City of Milwaukee and Focus on Energy.
Me2 is enticing homeowners to make upgrades with a $300 rebate on a home energy assessment (a $400 value for a single-family home), which provides a list of recommended energy efficiency upgrades. When a participating contractor completes the recommended improvements, the remaining cost of the home energy assessment is refunded. Additionally, homeowners are eligible for cash incentives based on the percentage of energy savings achieved in the home; cash-back rewards and rebates offered through Focus on Energy; and financing through Me2's finance partner, Summit Credit Union. Homeowners can also receive up to $1,000 for upgrades that improve health and safety, along with special pricing for ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances purchased at Sears.
Promoting residential energy efficiency through energy advocates who live in the City of Milwaukee, Me2 is building a sense of community around energy efficiency. Energy advocates attend real estate events, home shows, and other neighborhood events to interact with their neighbors and discuss energy efficiency. Energy advocates also assist in scheduling home energy assessments with participating consultants, link homeowners with participating contractors, facilitate the rebate and financing process, and educate homeowners about behavior changes that can save energy. To reach additional residents, community groups are distributing door hangers and conducting neighborhood canvassing.
Me2 for the Commercial Sector
Me2 is offering three different commercial financing options based upon energy efficiency project costs at commercial properties achieving energy savings of at least 15%:
- Clean Energy Financing: Property owners of rented properties can finance energy efficiency projects that cost $20,000 to $5 million and pass these costs onto tenants by adding a Municipal Special Charge from the City of Milwaukee to their energy bills. According to Me2, tenants' energy bill savings are expected to be greater than the charge.
- Small Business Financing: Businesses can finance up to 100% of projects that cost $5,000 to $20,000 through low-interest loans available from Summit Credit Union.
- Smart Security Financing: Up-front collateral is provided for projects that cost $10,000 to $1 million. The financial institution providing the loan receives a deposit from Me2 to fund a reserve to protect the loan from going into default.
Additionally, commercially owned one- to three-unit dwellings will be eligible for cash incentives based upon energy savings achieved. Commercial property owners may also be eligible for Focus on Energy cash-back rewards described below.
|10% to 14.9%||10% of project cost||20% of project cost|
|15% to 24.9%||20% of project cost||40% of project cost|
|25% or greater||30% of project cost||60% of project cost|
Going Green in the State Capital
Green Madison, another subprogram of We2, plans to complete residential energy efficiency upgrades, in addition to upgrades for commercial and industrial businesses. Green Madison offers homeowners a $200 rebate for home energy assessments, as well as cash incentives for achieving more than 15% energy savings in the home. Homeowners may also be eligible for Focus on Energy cash-back rewards and rebates. Similar to Me2, Green Madison has partnered with Summit Credit Union to offer loans for energy efficiency upgrades from as little as $1,000 to as much as $15,000.
Green Madison also offers commercial business owners financing options and cash incentives for achieving energy savings at their facilities. Large commercial businesses are eligible for Smart Security Financing, as well as incentives for energy saved with a goal of 15% reduction in energy usage. Small commercial business owners are eligible for a small business loan through Summit Credit Union and incentives based upon a percentage of project cost with a minimum of 15% energy savings. Business owners may also be eligible for Focus on Energy cash-back rewards.
Partners Support Jobs in All Three Communities
The City of Milwaukee has a Community Workforce Agreement in place with WECC that sets criteria to promote local hiring and sustainable wages for participating businesses and individual professionals. Energy professionals and contractors wishing to participate in the We2 program must be approved Focus on Energy trade allies. Once approved, they can receive access to training and mentoring opportunities through the program, including BPI certification, OSHA 10-Hour Construction training, Environmental Hazardous Materials Awareness Training, and sales training.
Brian Driscoll - WECC
608-249-9322, Ext 264
U.S. Department of Energy
Better Buildings Neighborhood Program