Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change

Climate Action Plan Preview

The Dane County Climate Action Plan (CAP) will be the culmination of the work of the Dane County Council on Climate Change, the Office of Energy and Climate Change, and the Office of Energy and Climate Change Work Groups.

In 2018, the working groups met to develop recommendations for programs, policies and projects that will help Dane County achieve its climate goals. The Council reviewed, discussed and ultimately approved the recommendations that will be included in the CAP, which will be released soon. Below are a small sampling of the working groups' recommendations.

A rural farm scene in Dane County.

Agriculture, Forestry, and Food

  • Dane County should promote carbon sequestration by expanding healthy soils and perennial based farming practices.
  • Join the “4 Per 1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate”.
  • Facilitate the expansion of agricultural conservation easements.
  • Help farmers apply for DATCP designation of a county-wide rural area Agricultural Enterprise Area (AEA).

  • Invest in building a wholesale food terminal that keeps fresh food cold so that more food may flow through our region.
  • Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change should provide matching funds for the food projects portion of the Partners in Equity grants program.
A rural farm scene in Dane County.



Dane County will join leading local governments across the globe by tackling carbon emissions from the buildings sector. The energy savings from the Building and Climate Leadership Program will improve the quality of life in Dane County by offering our residents healthier, more productive and more economical places to live, work and learn.

To encourage robust participation in the Building & Climate leadership program, the program will be positioned around the following key drivers:

  • Market and peer recognition for participants.
  • Health, productivity and quality of life benefits from efficiency and clean energy.
  • Community engagement, economic development and creating a built environment aligned with Dane County’s values.
  • Return on investment over simple payback.


The program goal is to increase energy efficiency achievement county-wide by 25% by providing technical support, efficiency services and finance tools.

  • Offer reliable and comprehensive efficiency information, beginning with underserved rural and urban households, multifamily residents, and small businesses.
  • Connect participants with current state and local resources.
  • Suggest low- or no-cost strategies to reduce resource use.
  • Share case studies and showcase successes.
  • Recognize efforts and develop a culture of efficiency leadership.
Solar installer in front of panels.

Renewable Energy

There are 28 cities and villages in Dane County, 33 towns, and many other unincorporated communities in Dane County. Each of these has facilities and operations with carbon footprints that Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change can work with to reduce those emissions. The Office of Energy and Climate Change will lead a renewable energy working group that all Dane County Cities, villages and towns will be invited to participate in.

This proposal recognized that education and awareness about the state of solar technology, affordability and other aspects of installing solar electric generating systems is a major barrier to realizing greater solar adoption. Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change will work with solar developers and consultants, utilities, clean energy advocates, municipalities, Wisconsin Energy Institute, UW Extension and others to develop, test and launch a public relations campaign and outreach effort with the goal of increasing business and individual investment in solar PV systems.

A rural farm scene in Dane County.

Transporation and Land Use

Continue to fund, implement and expand the Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan that preserves natural resource areas, greenspace and farmland.

The County will enable more active transportation with the build-out of a comprehensive bike and pedestrian network that enables non-motorized transportation between its communities.

A weed harvester on Lake Monona.


The Office of Energy and Climate Change will gather best practices for energy efficiency and reduction for water utilities; share that information with utilities in the county.

Monitor salt regulatory requirements for potential energy impacts; engage with organizations and interest groups to identify opportunities to reduce salt use.

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