The City of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin (pop. 48,376) has been busy reducing their carbon footprint through energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. They completed energy audits and performed efficiency upgrades to HVAC and lighting on City buildings. They are piloting hybrid police vehicles. And, they are half-way to a thoughtful conversion of their 6,000 street lights to LEDs, which they expect to complete by 2021. This will save money (a 7-year ROI) and energy while increasing safety, visibility, and dark skies for safe bird migration.
To promote renewable energy, Wauwatosa achieved a SolSmart Silver designation and completed a residential group buy. In December 2019, the City completed a 370 kW solar PV system on the roof of their public works building that is estimated to offset 96 percent of the 140,000 square foot facility’s annual electricity consumption. They received a grant from the Focus RECIP program in 2019 for more than $100,000 to help offset the costs and are financing the balance. McKinstry was hired for the design, installation and commissioning of the solar project.
Overall, in a report by the City’s Sustainability Committee, Wauwatosa’s energy use for municipal operations has decreased 10 percent since their 2010 baseline with decreases of 17 and 18 percent in electricity and natural gas use. Energy use is expected to decrease by 16 percent in 2020. They have reached their goal of 20 percent CO2 reduction by 2020 and are realizing an estimated $300,000 in annual savings to the City. The committee is in the process in drafting a clean energy resolution for consideration by the Common Council to expand their goals and progress. Congratulations on setting goals, implementing projects, measuring and tracking progress toward them, and introducing continuous improvements.