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Dane County Finalizes Roadmap to Cut Climate Change Emissions to Zero by 2030

September 29, 2023
Ariana Vruwink, 608-267-8823
County Executive

County Executive Parisi Announces Projects to Tackle Climate Impacts at Henry Vilas Zoo and Badger Prairie Needs Network Food Pantry as part of 2024 Budget


Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the completion of a study that supports Dane County’s efforts to cut the County’s climate change emissions to zero by 2030.  As part of the carbon neutral climate action goal, the County earlier this year announced it had become the 4th county in the U.S. to reach the milestone of using 100% renewable electricity at all county facilities.


“Dane County will continue to be a national leader in combating climate change. We will continue to cut emissions in our buildings and fleet while increasing natural carbon sequestration on County lands so that we achieve carbon neutrality by 2030,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.  “This roadmap identifies the next set of projects included in my proposed 2024 budget, investing in energy efficiency and additional renewable energy projects.”


Parisi’s 2024 proposed budget provides $300,000 to fund up to six new solar projects at the Henry Vilas Zoo, including solar arrays at the bear, seal, aviary and primate facilities. The Badger Prairie Needs Network food pantry will receive $186,000 for the construction of a 62 kW solar array that will reduce operating costs and further green operations at the County’s Verona campus.


Also included in the County’s capital budget is $36.4 million for the construction of a Public Safety Center on the County’s East District Campus. That facility will feature an energy efficient design, a geothermal heating and cooling system and solar arrays, and—as the county’s next substantial capital project—was designed consistent with the priorities laid out in the energy analysis.


HGA, a national engineering design firm with offices in Middleton, was awarded the contract to conduct the Comprehensive Energy Assessment of Dane County government facilities. The assessment identified energy efficiency, renewable energy, electrification, and water conservation opportunities in Dane County facilities supporting County Executive Parisi’s goal that all county facilities, fleet and land operations be carbon neutral by 2030.


The Comprehensive Energy Assessment is a $300,000 initiative introduced by Parisi in his 2022 budget and implemented by the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change. The effort benchmarked energy use in county facilities, modeled potential upgrades that save energy and reduce emissions, and ranked upgrade opportunities using taxpayer savings and emission use criteria.


Dane County’s facilities include the City County Building, Courthouse and Public Safety Building in downtown Madison, as well as other office buildings, multiple highway department garages, the Medical Examiner’s office, the Dane County Regional Airport, the Alliant Energy Center, and the Henry Vilas Zoo.


“An up-front investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy will pay for itself again and again in lower energy bills. We are on track to demonstrate how all of those facilities can be part of a carbon neutral future,” said Parisi.

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