Dan Williams has always been interested in sustainability. His older home was heated by a fossil gas-fueled boiler and cooled with traditional central air conditioning. In order to reduce his future reliance on fossil fuels, he decided he wanted to transition to an air-source heat pump to heat and cool his house.
Atop Willy Street Grocery Co-op East are 80 solar panels producing up to 25.6 kW of energy. The story of how they got there is a unique one, and serves as a model for over forty other projects around the state, with more to come.
This month the US Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which represents the largest investment in climate action in US history. The IRA commits about $369 billion to climate action.
Last week we had the opportunity to take a closer look at the top 2021 Climate Champions, the entities that earned 3 or 4 Stars in one or more categories.
Because climate change is an environmental and economic and public health issue, we need to leverage voices and active participation from all parts of our community.
The cold days of early January spur all of us to take stock of what was accomplished during the last year and look ahead to the challenges of the new year. We – and I’m including here all of the folks committed to climate action across Dane County – had some substantial wins in 2021.
When I first heard about a Communications Internship with the Office of Energy & Climate Change I knew I had to apply. I felt a sense of clarity and knew this opportunity was meant for me.
On September 28, 2020 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the 2021 Green Power Leadership Awards. There were just five winners – Boston University, the University of California system, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Dane County, Wisconsin.
As our nation emerges from the pandemic, some folks are asserting that governments at all levels should get back to addressing the climate emergency. I hope local stakeholders understand that here in Dane County we never paused in our efforts to address the climate crisis. Even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dane County was making progress on its ambitious countywide climate agenda.
I have been thinking a lot lately about the pace of change. I think about how quickly the world shifted to wearing face masks to reduce the risk of COVID-19, about the speed at which a clever meme travels the internet.
There is a lot of talk about the ‘new normal’ as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. That “new normal” terminology is deliberate, recognizing that whatever happens next will be different from the pre-pandemic normal, the “old normal”.
Creating a science-based county-wide, economy-wide Climate Action Plan (CAP) that can get us on a path to deep decarbonization is a big task. Really. It's the sort of thing that can keep you up at night--trust me, I know. Luckily I didn't have to do this task alone. One of the great things about Dane County is the people and A LOT of people contributed to our soon-to-be-released CAP. In so many ways the CAP already belongs to the people of Dane County because so many people helped to create the CAP
This Earth Day let’s embrace the numerous tools and activities available to address climate change. Yes, numerous. I’ve been thinking a lot about how some climate advocates are one-solution advocates.
Amid all of the election news this week, it is plausible that you might have missed the important climate milestone. On November 4, 2020 the United States officially withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement.
The County cannot reduce all emissions unless all stakeholders—businesses, nonprofits, farms, individuals—are part of the solution. So engagement is an important part of our strategy. Indeed, we are hosting a virtual meeting on August 20, 2020 to engage one really important set of stakeholders—the people who are part of green teams at their workplaces.
As our office shifts into engagement mode, I am spending more and more time talking with different groups about our work here at the Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change. I am privileged to talk about Dane County’s leadership and the hundreds of people that contributed to our Climate Action Plan, for example, and I also get to see the momentum that’s building around our efforts to take action to reduce emissions. In these conversations it’s common for someone to ask me whether our efforts will be jeopardized by climate deniers.
We are in the process of identifying Climate Champions across Dane County. These are folks leading on energy and water efficiency, on clean fuels, on sustainable farm practices and on climate more broadly.