Committee Work and Events
The Middleton Sustainability Committee’s purpose is to help Middleton become a more sustainable and equitable city. We do this by advising the Common Council and helping city residents get the information they need to live more sustainably. Our main goal is to help the city reach its target of meeting 100% of our community’s energy needs with renewable sources by 2050, with intermediate steps of 21% by 2030 and 80% by 2040.
Here are 5 things you can do to help reach our goal!
We can’t reach 100% renewable energy by 2050 without the help of all good neighbors.
Join your neighbors who are reaping the benefits of solar energy. Thanks to a 26% federal tax credit and solar “group buys” by MadiSUN and Legacy Solar Co-op, installing rooftop solar is more affordable than ever! If solar isn’t right for your home, you can support solar by signing up for MG&E’s “Solar Shares” program. MGE customers are eligible to buy shares of the Shared Solar Program to power their home or business. The solar energy from the array at the Middleton Airport and Municipal Operations Center is delivered to the grid. Customers are allocated a portion of that energy based on the shares purchased. The current program is full, but residents can sign up to be on the waiting list for the next expansion of Solar Shares. Indicating that you’re interested might even help to speed up that expansion.
Go, Mow, and Blow Electric
Ultimately, we need to rapidly electrify everything and shift to electrical generation without greenhouse gas emissions. Reduce your carbon emissions by replacing your gas appliances and your car with electric models. Building a new house? Start clean and stay clean by skipping the gas hookup and going all electric with heat pumps (air or ground source) that handle air conditioning and heating. They pollute much less and can be much more efficient than fossil gas or electric resistance heating systems. Renovating or replacing your furnace and appliances? Switching to electric models will reduce dangerous emissions from fossil fuels and get us closer to our energy goals. Did you know that gasoline-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and snow blowers emit much higher levels of toxic pollutants than cars do? Cordless electric lawn equipment and snowblowers are much cleaner and much more quiet than gas-powered versions. Now that’s being a good neighbor! If you want to go further, consider replacing part or all of your lawn with native plants that provide beauty, habitat, and water-retention benefits in addition to eliminating the need to mow.
Change Your Bulbs
LED bulbs are 80% more efficient than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. They are 25% better than CFLs and don’t come with the mercury hazard. Replace your 5 most-used bulbs with LEDs to reduce emissions and save around $75 each year on your electricity bills. Residents can receive LEDs as part of energy- and money-saving packs available for free from Focus on Energy.
Rethink Your Commute
In 2019, passenger cars accounted for 41% of carbon emissions from transportation. You can reduce your impact by driving electric, and by walking, biking, sharing rides, and taking public transportation. Meeting virtually also reduces the impact of transportation, so work from home and opt for virtual events when you can. Both fully electric cars and hybrids are increasingly common and affordable (even without helpful tax credits that sweeten the deal), with auto manufacturers from BMW to Volvo gearing up to roll out an estimated 100 new battery electric vehicles by 2024.
Participate in Your Democracy
As a citizen you owe it to yourself, your children and grandchildren, and your community to insist our leaders lead, act, and decide in ways that address the growing climate crisis. For the sake of a sustainable world and livable climate, individual actions are necessary. However, they are not sufficient - unless those actions include work to change policies and systems. In a democracy, we are very much the government and we together need to act to impact government representatives and officials to change climate-related laws, systems, and programs before it’s too late. Vote, call, write, act, organize, and — where appropriate — applaud and encourage leaders who act to solve the climate crisis. You can also join one or more of the many groups that draw people together to collaborate and cooperate in the democratic process in various ways related to the climate, sustainability, and equity. Some local groups include 350Madison, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Madison Chapter, Environmental Voter Project, and League of Women Voters of Dane County.
Here are 5 things we're working on in 2021-2022 to meet our goal
Lakeview Park “Solarbration”
The Lakeview Park Shelter has energized its solar! Join us on July 10, 2022 for a family-friendly celebration of the new solar array, with exhibits and demos about ways to make your home and your city more sustainable.
LED Bulb Exchange and Shredding Events
The response to our April 2021 exchange was amazing! The committee will be working with residents in multi-family housing in Middleton to exchange more energy efficient lightbulbs and save money. Another paper shredding event is in the works for Fall 2022. Stay tuned!
Starting in the Fall of 2021, we are partnering with the Middleton Public Library to offer a year-long series of events (in-person and/or virtual, as conditions warrant) to help all our Middleton neighbors learn about living sustainably — why it matters, what our city is doing, and how you can help. Attend one or more of these free sessions starting in October 2021.
Sustainable City Plan
We’re revising the 2010 plan for helping our community meet the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050, along with other goals for clean air and water and making Middleton sustainable for all our residents. Community input will take place in June 2022.
Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing
We’re working with Elevate Energy and Sustain Dane to bring energy efficiency and solar to affordable workforce housing in Middleton. We support allocating funds to bring the benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency to the people who make their homes in such housing.
Let Us Know What You Think
The Middleton Sustainability Committee is a great resource for Middleton residents. As appointed public officials, we want to hear what our city’s residents think and we want to help you live more sustainably.
To sign up to receive notifications regarding our meetings and other activities, enroll in the city’s “Notify Me” service and select the “Sustainability Committee” option.