Sustainable Communities and Businesses

Sustainability Framework for Management and Planning

UW-Extension provides education to community organizations, governments, and businesses that want to become more sustainable or green.  Sustainable actions and policies are those that help meet the needs of the present generation without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  Education is available on a sustainability framework called The Natural Step.  It is a science-based approach which also utilizes systems theory and practices.

Local Governments Slowly Adopting Sustainability Initiative – While communities across the nation are increasingly conscious of sustainability issues, many localities are still at the beginning stages of turning green-focused priorities into concrete actions, according to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

Energy Conservation Development

UW-Extension conducts education that helps families, businesses, neighborhoods, and governments become more energy efficient and move toward energy independence.  Strategies include:  organizing neighborhood/ business district energy outreach projects, accessing federal and state funding, working with utilities and service providers to assess and improve buildings, analyzing community energy demand by source, and preparing municipal energy plans.

Drinking Water Quality and Conservation

UW-Extension helps communities and households understand options for managing private and public drinking water supplies.  Private well water must be safeguarded at both the household and community levels in order to maintain the quality of drinking water.  Water conservation can reduce the cost of providing drinking water from both ground and surface water sources.  Strategies may include town-wide drinking water testing and education programs.  A new interactive mapping resource, called the “Wisconsin Well Water Quality Viewer,” is helping to understand more about the water quality in Wisconsin communities.   The viewer is not a replacement for well water testing.  The new viewer, available at, allows people to obtain previously unavailable information about groundwater quality in the areas where they live.

Weigh in on the Winnebago Waterways – After analyzing three months worth of feedback from the people of Calumet, Fond du Lac, Outagamie, Waushara and Winnebago Counties, the Weigh-in on the Winnebago Waterways project has published a results report and is once again looking for input. Starting June 28, residents, business owners and municipal staff will be able to review the collective input and comment on the results.  Weigh in on the Winnebago Waterways sought public input on the various threats to the waterways, possible solutions and favorite regional destinations. The report synthesizes the feedback collected from participants at eight public meetings, responders to a paper survey and registered users on an online forum. The report will be available for review and download starting on June 28 here: Winnebago Waterways Report

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