Highland is a City of Milwaukee Better Buildings Challenge winner!

On October 4th, 2017, Highland won the “Occupant Engagement” award at the ReEnergize Milwaukee 2017 Awards & Celebration, co-hosted by the USGBC Wisconsin and City of Milwaukee Environmental Collaboration Office – ECO!

This prestigious award is part of the Better Buildings Challenge, “a national initiative to make buildings 20% more energy efficient within ten years.” This program’s commitment is to promote and recognize participants for their work in reducing their energy use significantly.

ReEnergize Milwaukee 2017 was the first annual awards celebration, showcasing the leaders that are currently helping re-energize and strengthen our greater Milwaukee and surrounding communities through built environments, as well as spur action to make our buildings better for the future. Several organizers of this program spoke and presented the awards, including an enthusiastic and engaging speech by Mayor Tom Barrett!

Highland was one of three organizations chosen to pilot the Better Building Challenge program. Since then 111 buildings have joined the pledge. Our award for “Occupant Engagement” was based on our dedication to our triple bottom line; working toward building improvements, that not only save us money but are also better for the environment and building occupants. We continue to make an effort to showcase these projects in a way that is both demonstrative and engaging to our staff, students, and community.

Our most recent project was the creation of our renewable energy cart. Led by Highland’s very own Mike Steiner, in collaboration with community partners, Highland’s students researched solar energy and created concept designs. A panel of industry experts helped the students select the best elements from the concepts, turning them into the final design. After completing the theoretical work, the students got busy cutting lumber, driving screws, and painting as they helped to build their creation. Now, the cart’s solar panel powers a system that pumps water captured and stored from our hoop houses to help irrigate the plants within. It can also function as a mobile outdoor classroom providing solar power for experiments and presentations. Way to go!

This work with renewable energy could not be done without the support the City of Milwaukee Environmental Collaboration Office, The Nature Conservancy, Nature Works Everywhere, and Arts@Large. Thank you for your ongoing support of Highland’s efforts to be good stewarts of our world!