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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Mpower ChaMpions: A Pioneering Clean Energy Campaign

Madison, Wisconsin

Federal Funding: $499,496
Project Timeline: February 2011 – February 2014

Latest Update

The City of Madison and Sustain Dane continue to work with local businesses and schools to reduce greenhouse gases. After successfully working alongside 37 businesses in the first two years of the program, Sustain Dane kicked off the 2013 Mpower Business ChaMpions Program with 19 new businesses. The City has held three "Lunch and Learns" about "Energy Efficiency – Facilities," "Water Stewardship," and "Sustainable Food Choices" for the businesses participating in the 2013 program. The City has also hosted a Sustainable Business Network Meeting and presented lessons learned from MPower at the Sustainable Cities Conference. Finally, the possibility of replicating MPower in other communities in Wisconsin has been explored and will continue to be a focus in the future.

The school program has also made steady progress. Results for 2012 have been reported, and Energy Champions and MPower Schools have been selected and announced for 2013. The City and Sustain Dane will continue to work closely with participating schools and businesses in the upcoming year while conducting outreach throughout the broader community.

Photo and Video

Photo of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at Leopold Elementary School.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Visits Leopold Elementary School

Click to play this video.

Going Sustainable

The Mpower Business ChaMpions program is the first in South-Central Wisconsin that ensures businesses “go green” effectively and efficiently. Over the span of one year, we work with participating businesses and help them both develop and roll out a sustainability strategy that will enable them to achieve measurable results. Exit Disclaimer

Project Summary

Mobilizing the Business Community and the School District to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

Madison launched Mpower ChaMpions in 2007 to raise community awareness and mobilize the commercial sector to join the City in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Mpower ChaMpions was developed to help businesses negotiate the multitude of free resources available to them, to take precise measurements of their baseline emissions, increase their energy efficiency, use renewable energy, mobilize their employees to make changes at work and at home, and track their overall progress. With the Climate Showcase Communities grant, Madison is:

  • Expanding the program to reach 106 businesses over three years
  • Mobilizing the Madison Metropolitan School District to join the program
  • Creating a Sustainable Business Network
  • Increasing sustainability and commercial economic competitiveness
  • Documenting and publicizing the program

Energy Advocates work one-on-one with ChaMpion businesses. Additional staff have been hired to accommodate the new ChaMpions, and Madison is seeking efficiencies that will allow each Energy Advocate to work with more businesses. To further improve efficiency and encourage program replication, Madison is developing standardized toolkits for tracking data. Madison is also working with the Madison Metropolitan School District to launch the Mpower ChaMpions Schools Program. The goal of this program is to engage 50% of Madison elementary, middle, and high school students in hands-on lessons about sustainability and energy efficiency over three years.

The Sustainable Business Network will provide a forum for businesses and schools who have completed the Mpower program to share best practices and unexpected benefits. This network will also help to inspire and engage the broader community, help recruit new ChaMpions, and feed into an ongoing GHG reduction effort in the Madison area. Madison will also work with the Dane County Clean Air Coalition to focus on reducing vehicle miles travelled and establish a partnership with the Madison Water Utility.

Finally, Madison will share program case studies via print products, television and online media, public outreach, and networking events. This outreach will support growth of the program, and encourage other communities to replicate it.

The program will have many co-benefits, including:

  • GHG reductions
  • reduction of other pollutants including VOCs, NOx, and particulate matter (PM)
  • improved public health
  • economic and competitive benefits including decreased expenses, money savings, green and sustainable alignment, increased employee retention, and improved employee health
  • increased awareness and use of alternative transportation
  • increased awareness and consumption of organic, local food options
  • increased recycling efforts, and
  • decreased water use.

Community Characteristics

Population: 229,051
Area: 68 square miles
Government Type: City
Community Type: Urban
Median Household Income: $51,288

Program Results

  Reported Results (as of September 2013) Projected Cumulative Results
Annual GHG Reductions 8,237 mt CO2e 27,000 mt CO2e
Annual Cost Savings $268,118 $7,309,741
Participating Businesses 56 106

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