Milwaukee pledges $100 million to energy efficiency

With the Obama administration making a more serious push toward nationwide energy efficiency, states and cities have begun ramping up efforts recently to commit to sustainability. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced on Tuesday, July 23, that his city was the latest to join the fold, with a new plan that will dedicate $100 million to helping building owners afford green living renovations over time instead of all at once.

Although energy efficient homes and buildings save money in the long run thanks to lower utility bills, the initial upfront costs discourage some from moving further. With this new initiative, that stumbling block is gone.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a local news source, reports that the deal is the result of a new agreement between the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. and the Clean Fund, a California-based company that helps finance energy-saving upgrades.

Clean Fund chief executive John Kinney told the press that his company will devote $100 million to eco-friendly projects over a three-year period, which will be financed by property tax charges.

"What we found is a need to have longer-term thinking for property owners," Mayor Barrett told the source. "We're looking for a voluntary way […] for property owners to invest in their properties and spread the cost of these improvements."

The announcement is a result of the ReFresh Milwaukee initiative, which aims to help building owners reduce energy consumption over five million square feet of properties by 20 percent by 2020. This goal is part of the country's Better Buildings Challenge.

Residents in Virginia can take their own steps toward energy efficiency by having a home inspection conducted. Virginia home inspectors can check your property for ways that you can improve efficiency and, in turn, reduce your energy bills.