From a Business Journal interview with Ann Beier, Milwaukee’s director of environmental sustainability, conducted by Pete Millard:

1. Since your appointment just over two years ago, what’s been your most satisfying achievement?

“The most satisfying achievement has been the overall success of Mayor Barrett’s sustainability initiatives. I am also pleased with Milwaukee’s reputation as a ‘green’ city. Each year, Sustain Lane, a nonprofit group that provides information on sustainability practices for individuals, businesses and governments, ranks the 50 largest U.S. cities for their sustainability programs. In 2008, Milwaukee was ranked 12th. This a move up from 16th in the prior ranking. This is an important recognition and shows how well we are doing among much larger cities.

We’ve also been named by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of only 24 Solar American Cities, and we are working with the department to reduce barriers to installation of solar technology in Milwaukee.”

2. What are some specific examples illustrating how Milwaukee is more energy efficient today than two years ago?

“The mayor has directed city departments to reduce energy use by 15 percent over the period 2005-2012. By reducing our energy use, we are also reducing our carbon foot print and saving taxpayer dollars.

“We have focused on making our buildings more efficient. We’ve worked with Focus on Energy, the state’s energy efficiency program, to conduct audits of our highest energy-using buildings. We’ve implemented efficiency projects as a result of the audit findings. For the municipal building complex (City Hall, the municipal building and 809 Broadway building), we saved $35,000 in the first year and reduced energy use by 9 percent.

We are also converting stoplights to more efficient LED lights, reducing energy use for stoplights by about 50 percent annually. Another part of our strategy is to convert to cleaner fuels. We now fuel our diesel fleet with B-20 biodiesel fuel. We’ve also installed renewable energy in several facilities.”