Milwaukee Central Library goes green for nationwide challenge

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It's known for its beauty and history not necessarily its energy consumption, until now.

"It's a city building that's important to this community and the work that has been done here really does showcase and highlight the opportunities and savings that come by perusing energy efficiency," says Maria Vargas with the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge.

The Milwaukee Central Library is the city's showcase project for President Obama's Better Buildings Challenge.

This effort launched in 2011 asked business leaders and state and local governments to reduce its energy use by 20% by 2020.

"Saving 20% on our nation's energy bills could mean for us a country about $80 billion a year in savings," says Vargas.

Milwaukee is already well on its way to achieving this goal as it's already reduced its energy consumption by 10% as part of the challenge.

The library has been a leader in this effort with the list of energy-efficient upgrades its made.

"This is from a combination of more efficient lighting, repair and maintenance of steam traps, replaced mechanical system components, and solar panels on the green roof," says Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Helping save money for both the city and taxpayers.

"With these changes we are saving at least $36,000 in utility bills on this building along and over $500,000 on other city facilities," says Barrett.

And the work will continue to make Milwaukee a greener and cleaner place to live.