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Milwaukee became a partner in the Department of Energy's (DOE) Better Buildings Challenge in 2012. As part of the program, Milwaukee pledged to reduce the energy use of the City building portfolio 20 percent by 2020, developed a Showcase Project using the Milwaukee Central Library, and created a Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing Program as an Implementation Model for other cities to replicate. 

In 2015, Milwaukee was awarded a $750,000 award from the DOE to expand the Better Buildings Challenge - Milwaukee (BBC-MKE) program by developing and implementing a comprehensive energy efficiency program for commercial buildings. Over 3 years, the City and its partners are aiming to impact 200+ buildings, in particular Class B & C commercial, small commercial, and schools.