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The city of La Crosse will start looking for ways to produce its own energy as part of an exergy program coming down the pike, Mayor Tim Kabat announced Tuesday at an event celebrating the city’s recent sustainability resolution.

An exergy plan is a developing system to let organizations create their own energy sources. The city is taking the first steps in its efforts to convert methane from its wastewater-treatment facility to energy, and it will continue during the next half a year.

“Hopefully within the next six months or so, (we can) start to develop some analysis and some recommendations for how the city can be more opportunistic and more aggressive in producing our own energy, utilizing our waste materials in those systems so that we’re reducing, again, how much waste and how much carbon dioxide we’re producing,” Kabat said.

Mayor Tim Kabat

Kabat

He added that more information will be available in the next few months.

Patrick Wilson of the Coulee Region Sierra Club organized the event to thank Kabat, the La Crosse Common Council and the Sustainable La Crosse Commission for taking steps to address the climate crisis and join the group’s Ready for 100 program.

“Ready for 100 is a program where cities around the country can act locally to help eliminate climate change, to start eliminating climate change,” Wilson said.

La Crosse is the fifth city in Wisconsin to agree to those goals.

“We’re really happy to have it be one on the list of cities,” Wilson said.

Barb Janssen mug

Janssen

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Council member Barb Janssen, who co-sponsored the resolution to go 100% renewable, said the ambitious goals hold the city to a high standard.

“It takes the work that’s been done by previous councils and mayors and departments and staff, and it just takes it one more step,” Janssen said.

The city has made sustainability a priority during the past years, doing things like approving clean diesel and electric buses, approving projects to make heating and cooling systems more efficient and replacing fluorescent light bulbs with LED lighting.

The resolution builds on efforts to reduce carbon emissions that began more than 10 years ago, with Kabat noting that the city has seen a 27% reduction in emissions since 2008. It still produces 14,000 metric tons of emissions each year.

“We’ve got a ways to go. This is not going to be easy,” Kabat said, adding that, “It’s going to take a lot of effort to get that last 14,000 tons.”

The city is looking into adding a solar array to the roof of the La Crosse Center and a solar facility at the La Crosse Regional Airport, as well.

“We want to provide an opportunity and be role models for the rest of our citizens of our community because it’s not just City Hall that’s important in this process, it’s every one of us,” Janssen said.

It’s a quality-of-life issue for La Crosse residents, she said.

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Jourdan Vian can be reached at jvian@lacrossetribune.com or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.

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City government reporter

Jourdan Vian is a reporter and columnist covering local government and city issues for the La Crosse Tribune. You can contact her at 608-791-8218.

(4) comments

markeugene

Sustainability is an admirable goal. For the present, however, infrastructure - our city streets - is a more urgent and ongoing need. Since when did such basic public works cease to be a priority? And more importantly why?

Cassandra2

It's probably too little, too late, but at least it's something.

Rick Czeczok

Good idea but I hate to think of the cost in consultant fees to get this done. City can't seem to do anything without consultants. Usually a sign of poor leadership.

JanetteDean

Thank you, Mayor Kabat, La Crosse City Council Members, Sustainable La Crosse Commission, Coulee Region Sierra Club, and all the other people and organizations who have and are working so hard to build a sustainable city and community! I hope La Crosse County will pass a similar resolution next and nearby cities and counties, too. The beautiful La Crosse region and its fortunate leaders and residents can and should work for a safe and livable future for all here, and 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality in La Crosse along with equitable policies will help us get there. We should all want our families and our fellow tri-state residents to not just survive here, but to live and thrive. Here's to continued progress!

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