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How is Milwaukee pushing Sustainability?

City of Milwaukee – Office of Environmental Sustainability

Read about how the City of Milwaukee is creating a citywide strategic vision for making Milwaukee a more economic, environmental and socially sustainable place to call home.

In July 2013, Mayor Barrett launched ReFresh Milwaukee, a citywide strategic plan to develop a sound environmental, economic and social sustainable future for the community. The plan aims to implement sustainable projects and encourage citizens and businesses to engage in solutions that are economically, environmentally, and socially smart for our community.

Hotel Metro Cycling
Hotel Metro bicycles

Milwaukee County Office of Sustainability

Enhancing the quality of life for all Milwaukee County citizens through initiatives that conserve resources, reduce operating costs, and promote environmental stewardship.

Hotel Metro
Registered LEED Building; complimentary Metro cab powered by soy certified biodiesel, complimentary bicycles; sustainable technical features.

Great Lakes Distillery
Innovative “Bottle Conservation Program”; locally produced ingredients.

Lakefront Brewery
Travel Green Wisconsin and Green Tier membership; country’s oldest certified organic brewery; 100% organic hops; clean/reclaimed energy.

Lakefront Brewery
Lakefront Brewery

Iron Horse Hotel
The Iron Horse Hotel™ is part of an urban revitalization that integrates irreplaceable historic architecture with the latest in luxury amenities, technology and environmental sustainability.

From water usage and packaging sustainability to brewery waste and energy consumption, MillerCoors strives to make more beer while using less water and ensuring that nearly 100% of brewery waste is reused or recycled.

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
A new icon on the Milwaukee skyline, the hotel is 19 stories with 381 rooms, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and one-of-a-kind views of Milwaukee. The hotel has 16 suites, each with an expansive living area, a large master bedroom and bathroom,and all of the amenities to make for the most luxurious stay in the area. The 3,000-square foot presidential suite sits on the top floor of the hotel and is the largest of its kind in Milwaukee.

Through numerous green initiatives, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino has become one of the premier sustainable developments in Milwaukee. In May 2015, the hotel became the first casino hotel in Wisconsin to attain the prestigious LEED® Gold certification. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, ranks buildings on how well they save energy and water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve indoor environmental quality.

Urban Agriculture

Milwaukee has become a national leader in urban agriculture and aquaponics and was awarded an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant in 2011 to aid in further study of this promising agricultural technology.

Growing Power
Will Allen, recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, founded this famous urban agriculture center; tours available.

Victory Garden Initiative
A grass-roots nonprofit organization that empowers communities to grow food, reintegrating human and food ecology and advancing a resilient food culture.

Walnut Way
A showcase initiative to bring urban agriculture to an inner city neighborhood.

Brown Fields to Green Fields
Brown Fields to Green Fields

Menomonee Valley
Once the center of heavy industry in the city,Milwaukee’s Menomonee River Valley is now a national model in economic development and environmental sustainability.300 acres of former brown fields have been converted to mixed use and natural green areas. The valley now features over one million square feet of green buildings, housing more than thirty-fivecompanies, and resulting in more than 4,700 family-supporting jobs.  Seven miles of riverside trails have been constructed and 45 acres of native plants installed, leading to improved wildlife habitat and water quality

The Brewery
Awarded the prestigious LEED Platinum level for Neighborhood Development, the former home of the Pabst Brewing Company has become Milwaukee’s newest sustainable, historic neighborhood with two major university centers, offices, apartments, the Brewhouse Inn & Suites, Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub and more prospective tenants. Sustainable strategies include comprehensive guidelines covering brownfield redevelopment, historic preservation of former brewery buildings, stormwater management, construction waste management and green building methodology.

Sustainable Architecture

Clock Shadow Building
Multiple award-winning “green” building that consumes 50% less energy, uses 60% less water, diverts 100% of stormwater from the sewer system and used recycled material for over 50% of the building. The Clock Shadow building is home to Clock Shadow Creamery as well as social justice organizations and a community clinic. Ranked on Top 10 Green Building list of the American Institute of Architects in 2013.

Milwaukee's Green Water Industry
Milwaukee's Green Water Industry

Water Council of Milwaukee
The only organization of its kind in the United States, the Water Council is a coalition of water-based industries and university research centers that has resulted in the city becoming recognized as a world hub for water research, education and economic development. Through the efforts of the Water Council, Milwaukee was awarded United Nations Global Compact City status, one of only 13 cities worldwide and the second in the U.S. to achieve this designation.

The Water Council created a water research and business accelerator center in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood which opened in 2013. The Global Water Center, a 6-story converted warehouse, is new home to the Water Council, as well as water-related research facilities for universities, existing water-related companies and accelerator space for new, emerging water-related companies. This building’s redevelopment also serves as a catalyst for the development of the Reed Street Yards which have been designated by the city of Milwaukee as a water technology research park and will serve as a global showcase for water management.

UWM School of Freshwater Sciences
The UWM School of Freshwater Sciences (SFS) is the first graduate school in the nation dedicated solely to the study of freshwater. Established in 2009, SFS expands a tradition of freshwater studies at UWM that began in 1966 with the Center for Great Lakes Studies and continued with the Great Lakes WATER Institute in 1973.


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