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solar panels
green alley
tosa green summer

Public Work's Solar Panels

The City of Wauwatosa partnered with McKinstry to design, install, commission and monitor solar panels on the roof of the city’s Public Works Facility. The solar panels are expected to meet about 96% of the facility’s annual electricity consumption. Additionally, the City of Wauwatosa received more than $100,000 in incentives through the Renewable Energy Competitive Incentive Program (RECIP) offered by Focus on Energy.

Check out this dashboard to see the solar panels' output and efficiency.

LED Street Lights

Wauwatosa owns about 6,300 street lights, and we are in the process of converting these lights to LED fixtures. Switching to LED streetlights saves both money and energy while simultaneously increasing safety and visibility. The LED lights are dark-sky friendly because they allow little to no uplight, reducing light pollution and allowing people to see stars and planets more clearly. The LED lights are also expected to last more than four times longer than current streetlights, meaning fewer outages and fewer repair trips. Additionally, the LED lights’ components are recyclable.

Tosa Green Summer

The City of Wauwatosa partnered with MMSD in the summer of 2018 to distribute free rain barrels, rain gardens, and soil amendments to residents to make their lawns much more absorbent. Rain barrels collect and store rain water runoff, which helps to reduce runoff pollution and erosion. Residents may purchase rain barrels through MMSD.

Green Alleys - An Example of Construction with Green Infrastructure

The City of Wauwatosa was recognized by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District (MMSD) as a ‘Green Luminary’ for our green alley construction. We have installed 17 green alleys so far, with 5 more coming in 2020. The green alleys feature new concrete paving, storm sewer relay, surface restorations, and sidewalk and drive approaches in alleyways. The process reduces rainfall runoff, helps clean and recharge groundwater and alleviates flooding concerns. 

Single Use Plastic Straws

The Common Council passed an ordinance prohibiting single-use plastic straws in Wauwatosa. No establishment serving food or drinks to the public may provide a customer with a single-use plastic straw.

Exceptions to this ordinance include:

  • Prepackaged individual serving beverages where a small plastic straw is included in the packaging
  • Upon a customer’s request
  • Milkshakes, smoothies, or other beverages that require a large, durable straw for which a non-plastic straw would not be suitable
  • Compostable straws. The City of Wauwatosa’s Sustainability Committee will publish a list of acceptable compostable straws on
  • Plastic straws in hospitals, nursing homes, or other healthcare facilities

The compostable straw must meet the requirements for ASTM 06400 or ASTM 06868, whichever is appropriate, or is certified or accepted by the Biodegradable Products Institute or the Compost Manufacturing Alliance and is accepted by local industrial composters for Wauwatosa. These straws may not be compostable in a backyard or home composting environment.

The Sustainability Committee recommends the following resources to find alternatives to plastic straws: