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Dane County Executive, Madison Mayor to Reconvene Local Leaders to Continue Progress on Sustainability, Climate Change

February 23, 2021
Ariana Vruwink

Collaborative Has Seen First Net-Zero Energy School Open in Wisconsin, More Than 50 Solar Installations on Local Government & School Property

Cities, towns, and villages across Dane County are coming together on February 24 to celebrate clean energy and sustainability accomplishments through the Sustainability Leaders Collaborative, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced today. The Sustainability Leaders Collaborative (SLC) was created by Parisi and Rhodes-Conway back in 2019 and is a first-of-its-kind collaboration to bring together elected officials, administrators, and staff who work on sustainability issues from nearly two dozen cities, villages, and towns in Dane County.

“When we first discussed forming this countywide group, our vision was to enable collaboration so that one community could learn from the experiences of another to move further and faster on sustainability efforts,” said County Executive Joe Parisi.

On February 24 the full SLC membership, now also including school district officials, will reconvene to showcase local success and highlight collaborative opportunities.

“The time is right to reflect on all that communities have achieved since 2019 and also to think strategically about the opportunities ahead with a new federal administration,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.

Parisi and Rhodes-Conway first convened the SLV back in August of 2019, where officials created four work groups to collaborate on ideas related to solar development, renewable fuel usage for municipal fleets, energy efficiency/sustainability for facilities, and green infrastructure to manage run-off from heavy rain events. The full SLV later gathered to review progress made by the work groups and develop implementation plans for using sustainable strategies in both the public and private sectors.

Significant achievements since 2019 include:

  • Cottage Grove, Cross Plains, McFarland, Shorewood Hills, Sun Prairie, and Verona establishing sustainability committees, joining Fitchburg, Madison, Middleton, and Monona that had committees previously.
  • More than 50 solar installations on local government and schools across Dane County (see Dane County’s Clean Energy map for details -
  • Oregon School District opening the first net-zero energy school in the State of Wisconsin.
  • Residents in the Town of Vermont working with other stakeholders in Western Dane County to facilitate a solar group buy in 2020, resulting in 17 installations.
  • Seven communities achieving Climate Champion recognition for their efforts from Dane County in 2020.

“City of Madison staff have worked hard to green Madison’s operations and we are happy to share our experience in energy efficient buildings and clean-fuel vehicles with others around the county,” said Rhodes-Conway.

The February 24 event will also focus on opportunities ahead. In 2021, residents across Dane County will have access to two Solar Energy Group Buy opportunities, for example.

“Given all the progress we have seen since 2019, we are excited to see what communities will accomplish in 2021 and beyond,” said Parisi.

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