Going Sustainable Events Live Forward Blog About Us


How much does this cost?

Thanks to program partners: City of Madison, MGE, grants, and program sponsors - participants will pay a nominal program fee* of $750 or $950 for non-MGE Customers. *Please inquire regarding payment plan strategies if needed, contact Stacie Reece, 608-819-0689 or stacie(at)sustaindane(dot)org.

How much time does this program require?

It varies greatly from organization to organization, but an average of 6 - 8 hours a month per team, plus the time for to identify, implement, and track 5+ projects. Please email Stacie Reece, stacie(at)sustaindane(dot)org, for more details.

What do the “5 projects” look like?

We want you to reduce waste and use sustainability as a way to meet your businesses goals. Projects can be as simple as adding those occupancy sensors you "keep forgetting" to install, to more complicated energy retrofits. We suggest you choose a variety of projects (see the Sustainability Session topics for ideas) and include some that are “easy wins” and some that focus on long-term impact. That said, your team knows your business best. Identify projects that are feasible, can build momentum, involve those with personal passion, and/or attract the attention of executive management.

Do I/we need to have my projects figured out before I apply?

Certainly not! The first 3 to 6 months are spent cataloging possible projects and consulting with local experts so you can craft an intimate, customized plan for action. We expect you to communicate your projects to us by about half-way through the year-long engagement.

What if I’ve/we've already done everything?

Have you really done everything? Even businesses who have been working on sustainability for years - think Full Spectrum Solar, WECC, Willy St. Coop - have been able to identify projects and gain value from participating! If you aren't sure, email Stacie Reece, stacie(at)sustaindane(dot)org, to discuss your goals. If this program isn't right for you, but you want to network with other sustainability-minded businesses, consider joining the Sustainable Business Network. We are also opening up the monthly Sustainability Sessions to the public for a small fee. If you would like to be added to a regular invite list email Stacie (see above).

What if we have never had a "green team?"

Not a problem! This program helps you move forward from wherever you are at. We have worked with many first time green teams, and will help you build one that is strategic and cross-departmental. During the MPower process you will identify: an executive decision maker, an “MPower team” lead, representatives from departments such as facilities, HR, accounting and IT that will make up your first green team.

What if we already have a "green team?"

So much the better! We have worked with many businesses that already have green teams that are looking for focus or to take on “the next step”. Depending on the makeup of your existing team, we will help you identify whether or not it makes sense to create a new “MPower team” for this year. Please email Stacie Reece, stacie(at)sustaindane(dot)org, if you'd like to discuss your unique situation.

What if we rent?

While not necessary, we do suggest you get your landlord on board with your participation, especially if you don’t pay your own utilities. We have had many successful renters participate in the program including: Sergenian’s Floor Coverings, Project Home, and Ian’s Pizza on State Street.

You say it’s not a problem if we rent. What if our utilities are included in our rent?

Together we will decide if it makes sense to benchmark your building and/or estimate your utility consumption.

Are we too small to participate?

Probably not! We have worked with businesses that are only 4 people and occupy less than 1000 square feet. Please email Stacie Reece, stacie(at)sustaindane(dot)org, to discuss.

Can I participate if I am a home business?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept home businesses into MPower. As a home business you are eligible for residential rebates from energy efficiency programs and you can join the Sustainable Business Network to connect with and learn from like-minded businesses! We are also opening up the monthly Sustainability Sessions to the public for a small fee. If you would like to be added to a regular invite list email Stacie Reece, stacie(at)sustaindane(dot)org.

What if we have more than one building?

You can still participate! Generally, we suggest you take the MPower year as an opportunity to test and pilot your efforts at one physical building. Take what you learn and expand it to the rest after you have built momentum. However, there may be specific reasons to focus on more than one building. Please email Stacie Reece, stacie(at)sustaindane(dot)org, to discuss your unique situation.

How are you funded?

The MPower Champions Program is made possible through funding and support by MGE, the City of Madison, the grants and sponsors. In addition, many MPower alumni and program partners offer support and resources to make the program a truly collaborative and community-owned success.

Do you provide financial support to participants?

No, we do not administer grants or loans. We help you build capacity and keep you on track with your sustainability goals. That said, we are always on the lookout for funding for Champion businesses to use for implementing projects and will keep you informed when opportunities arise.

What if I'm already a member of Sustain Dane's Sustainable Business Network?

Fantastic! These programs complement each other. Get ready for someone to hold you accountable to your goals!

What are the "Sustainability Sessions"?

Sustainability Sessions are an opportunity for program participants to learn and connect with community experts and each other. MPower Champions are required to attend at least 6 of these educational events. Provided you organization has the capacity, we suggest you have at minimum one person from your MPower team who attends each session for consistency’s sake, and then send additional team members when the topic is of particular interest and/or is job related. These monthly meetings are generally 2 hours in the morning at the Goodman Community Center (subject to change).

What topics are covered at the Sustainability Session?

Topics include: Energy Efficiency, Green IT, Alternative Transportation, Waste Reduction, Water Management, Sustainable Food Choices and more!

What are the the 6-month Check-in Meeting with Sustain Dane?

Around the 6-month mark of the MPower year, Sustain Dane staff will formally meet with your MPower Team at your business. This meeting serves as a time to touch base, to ensure your team is on progress and you are getting the support you need.

What is Energy Stewards?

Energy Stewards is a cloud-based web platform that makes energy use and benchmarking easy to understand, engaging participants to take action to reduce financial & environmental costs. It is an effective tool for leaders to efficiently spread energy improvement actions and view the results. It easily integrates into and strengthens existing energy management programs and links to ENERGY STAR benchmark.

Do I need to be in Dane County to apply?

No, you don’t! However, some of the free resources we have access to have geographical limitations to either Madison or Dane County. Also, please note that attendance at the monthly Sustainability Sessions is required. These events are held at the Goodman Community Center on the East-side of Madison.

What is the Program Orientation and the Natural Step Training for all Green Teams?

The Program Orientation and the Natural Step Training is a half-day session designed to provide all teams with an overview of the MPower Program and training in the Natural Step framework for sustainability. We recognized that teams are best prepared for a successful MPower year when all members are familiar with the key elements of the program and can share a common language of sustainability. Training in the Natural Step (TNS) framework serves to lay a strong foundation from which teams make sustainability-related decisions in the workplace.

How do I find out more?

Please visit our "Learn More" page to download the MPower Information Packet, and contact the MPower Program Director, Stacie Reece, at 608-819-0689 or stacie(at)sustaindane(dot)org.