Sustain Dane Programs

Sustain Dane programs help you prioritize and implement sustainability actions. We welcome you wherever you are in your sustainability journey and celebrate your unique experiences and perspectives.

Accelerate Sustainability Workshops

Our Accelerate Sustainability Workshop is a leadership opportunity designed to help achieve sustainability initiatives at your organization or personally. The workshop includes changemaking and sustainability leadership strategies, current sustainability plans & research including the Dane County Climate Action Plan, and local case studies of successfully implemented sustainability initiatives in areas such as energy efficiency, renewables, food management and alternative transportation. Learn more about projects and participants from the 2021 Accelerate Sustainability Workshop here and 2022 here—100% of past program participants would recommend the workshop to a colleague. This workshop is building on the success of our MPower Program. Our 2023 workshop dates are TBA, reach out to facilitator Lorenza Zebell to learn more.

“Sustain Dane is taking a holistic approach to sustainability in our community with programming for businesses, schools, and community members alike. We all have a responsibility to this community and this world and Sustain Dane is here to hold us accountable.”

—Alex Lindenmeyer, Short Stack Eatery

Sustainable Breakfast Series

The Sustainable Breakfast Series highlights current sustainability topics through expert speakers, case studies, and skill-building opportunities. Breakfast meetings are attended by regional business leaders and individuals who care about integrating environmental, social, and economic sustainability into their professional and personal actions. Members have access to recordings of past meetings. Learn more and register:

Tuesday, January 25: Well-being & Leadership For Employees to Drive Social Impact

Tuesday, April 26: Sustainable Breakfast Series: Create a Ripple Effect of Climate Action

Tuesday, July 26: Reducing the Energy Burden in Affordable Housing

Tuesday, December 13: Food Scraps: Year In Review and Future Opportunities

Sustain Dane members listen to presentation on UW-Health’s sustainability initiatives presented by Tom Thompson.

Speakers Jay A. Patel, Lauren Yang, and JD Stier at our “Sustainability & You = Social Impact” Sustainable Breakfast series meeting.

Members convene at the Wisconsin Energy Institute to explore issues surrounding environmental justice in our community.

Master Recycler

Have you ever paused at the recycling bin and wondered if what you’re throwing out is actually recyclable, or what will happen to it after it’s picked up? Then our award-winning Master Recycler program is made for you! We developed this program in partnership with the City of Madison. The program will give you the tools you need to teach your family, neighbors, friends, and coworkers how to improve recycling and community sustainability. Each session has two 90-minute classes to become a Master Recycler. This program is part of our broader efforts for better recycling in our region. Learn more on our Recycle Better page.

Session 1

Thursday, April 7, 12PM—1:30PM

Thursday, April 14, 12PM—1:30PM

Session 2

Wednesday, July 20, 6:30 PM—8:00PM

Wednesday, July 27, 6:30 PM—8:00PM

Lunchtime Networking

Join us for lunchtime networking to discuss your current sustainability successes and challenges with your fellow members. Networking is an opportunity to connect with members of other established or emerging green teams and sustainability committees. Participate in welcoming peer-to-peer conversations, share best practices, and elevate your projects together. Participants in the Climate Action program will have the opportunity to connect at this networking program. Learn more and register:

Wed, March 23, 12:00—1:00PM

Thurs, June 23, 12:00—1:00PM

Wed, Sept 14, 12:00—1:00PM

“I support Sustain Dane because they multiply their impact through partnerships with businesses and communities promoting sustainability. Improving our environment and quality of life is a collaborative process.”

—Seth Nowak, Individual Member

Water Steward

Fresh water is Earth’s most precious resource. We all use it every day and can all have an impact on the ability to provide reliable supplies of clean water now and for future generations. Become a steward of our local waters with our new course! Water Stewards is developed in partnership with Sustain Dane, the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, the Madison Area Municipal Storm Water Partnership, the Madison Water Utility, and the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department. We’ll meet in two sessions:

Tuesday September 20, 6 PM to 7:30 PM

Tuesday, September 27, 6 PM to 7:30 PM

This program will be in person at the Water Utility-Engineering Building located at 119 E Olin Ave, Madison, WI 53713 First floor conference room A & B. Join us in prottecting out local waters – register today!

Efficiency Navigator

Are you interested in energy efficiency, water efficiency, or solar, but don’t know where to start? We are offering the Efficiency Navigator program with Elevate to help small to medium-sized multifamily housing become more efficient, affordable, and resilient while reducing operating costs for owners and energy cost burden for residents. The goals of the program are to address housing resilience, equity, and climate change. We provide complimentary efficiency assessments and step-by-step navigation of implementation. The program is for renter-occupied buildings with rents affordable to residents at or below 80% Area Median Income. This housing stock is known as naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH). Send an email to to get involved. 

Apply Now for Northside Building Energy Efficiency Upgrades! 

We are now accepting applications for the Efficiency Navigator program to help affordable rental housing located on the Northside of Madison. Submit an application as a property owner or recommend your building as a resident. Rolling application review is open. 

Selected buildings will receive funding in the range of $10,000 – $20,000 for efficiency upgrades in areas such as efficient lighting, improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, improved insulation with the addition of attic insulation and air sealing, water softener optimization, tune-ups or replacement, water conservation systems, and identify healthy building elements (asthma triggers). Based on previous experience, we anticipate the upgrades will lead to a 10 – 20% energy and water savings.

Sustainability Stories

Sustain Dane’s Sustainability Stories platform amplifies the voices of people from different backgrounds, races, ages, genders and geographies that are working on and want to inspire others to build a more sustainable and inclusive community. Share your sustainability stories with us, and be inspired by other people’s stories.

Holly Hollister (left) and Dina Nina Martinez (right) share their stories at a Sustain Dane story slam.

Upcoming Sustain Dane Programs