The Better Buildings Challenge -- Milwaukee is a comprehensive energy efficiency program that provides all of the tools and resources that building owners and property managers need to effectively develop and implement energy efficiency projects in their buildings.

Lead Performer: City of Milwaukee – Milwaukee, WI
-- Franklin Energy, LLC – Port Washington, WI
-- Milwaukee Area Technical College – Milwaukee, WI
-- Midwest Energy Research Consortium – Milwaukee, WI
-- Staples Energy – Pewaukee, WI
-- Milwaukee Business Improvement Districts – Milwaukee, WI
-- Transwestern Sustainability Services – Milwaukee, WI
-- U.S. Green Building Council – Wisconsin Chapter – Milwaukee, WI
-- Office of Energy Innovation – Madison, WI
-- Focus on Energy – Madison, WI
-- BOMA-Wisconsin – Milwaukee, WI
DOE Total Funding: $750,000
Cost Share: $750,000
Project Term: August 1, 2015 – July 31, 2018
Funding Opportunity: DE-FOA-0001168 Advancing Solutions to Improve the Energy Efficiency of U.S. Commercial Buildings (2015)


Energy efficiency projects are often not management priorities because they seem too technical and complicated, too time consuming, and too expensive. In addition to these obstacles, many cities have real estate markets with higher than desired vacancy rates, creating the temptation for building owners to try to compete for tenants through lower rents. As a result, these barriers lead to deferred energy upgrades, wasted money spent on energy bills, and potentially unsatisfied tenants.

The goal of the Better Buildings Challenge – Milwaukee program is to address these problems by creating a comprehensive energy efficiency program for commercial buildings that will make energy efficiency retrofits easy, affordable, and compelling to building owners and managers. The program will bundle a streamlined customer experience that involves energy benchmarking, energy assessments, PACE financing, and other energy efficiency project resources with workforce development, technology transfer, operations and maintenance support, and marketing and awards for participating buildings.

The program objectives are to 1) impact at least 200 buildings in Wisconsin through energy assessments and benchmarking, 2) increase Wisconsin’s footprint of the Better Buildings Challenge, 3) integrate existing DOE tools throughout Wisconsin’s building efficiency delivery system, 4) train the next generation of building efficiency workers with state-of-the-art technology and tools, and 5) demonstrate how energy efficiency increases profitability of buildings.


The Better Buildings Challenge – Milwaukee program will make energy efficiency retrofits easy, affordable, and compelling for commercial building owners and managers and in the long-term will increase the profitability of these buildings through energy and dollar savings and increase occupancy levels and occupant comfort. The primary audience impacted will be Class B&C commercial buildings, but schools and small commercial buildings are also included. By the end of the award period, the program will impact at least 200 buildings with energy benchmarking and assessments and will hopefully spur energy efficiency projects in these buildings.


DOE Technology Manager: Amy Jiron
Principal Investigator: Erick Shambarger, City of Milwaukee

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