Wausau Proposes Seven Projects to Improve Energy Efficiency

By: Matt Behrens Email
By: Matt Behrens Email

Many people are trying to lower their energy costs by going green, and the city of Wausau is no different.

"We've been doing energy efficient items with all of our programs since our inception, so for basically over 25 years," says Ann Werth, Interim Community Development Director for Wausau.

And now the city is looking to continue that trend with a set of seven energy efficient projects up for approval, which are:

- $500,000 to replace the city's street lights with LED bulbs.

- $445,000 to help low-income homeowners make energy improvements.

- $300,000 to help non-profit organizations make energy improvements.

- $300,000 to replace all windows on Wausau's Federal Building.

- $300,000 in incentives for businesses who construct new buildings using green materials.

- $275,000 for energy improvements at the Public Safety Building.

- $225,000 to help small businesses replace windows and doors.

The seven projects will cost a combined $2.3 million, to be funded through Wisconsin's federal stimulus dollars, but some of them will immediately begin producing yearly returns for the city.

"We spend about $450,000 on electrical costs just to light our streets, to keep them safe," says Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple. "If we can put in some LED lights, we put in a $500,000 grant, half a million to retro-fit, put lights in, we could probably save over $400,000 in energy costs."

But other projects may not bring immediate savings, such as the $300,000 to replace windows on the vacant Federal Building, but the city doesn't plan on its' vacancy lasting long.

"We have had a number of different potential developers going through the building, taking a look at it, and coming up with potential uses, so whatever we can do now will help to defer the cost that we would be incurring somewhere along in the future," says Werth.

But the city is also looking for more than just financial gains.

Mayor Tipple says, "We don't have unlimited fossil fuels around, so we can't use it all up in this generation and not worry about future generations."

"Every one of these projects addresses energy efficient needs, and as you said, sustainability, and it brings us into the next century," adds Werth.

The state hasn't approved money for the projects yet, but Werth says they expect to hear more soon.


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