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‘Renewable resources:’ Solar panels added to roof of Central Library in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE -- The City of Milwaukee has pledged to have 25 percent of its energy come from renewable resources by 2025. The city's latest step to meet this goal involves bringing solar energy systems to three Milwaukee Public Library locations: Central LibraryCenter Street Library and Tippecanoe Library.

Hermoine Bell-Henderson

A good book can take you on a journey to places real and imagined. At Central Library, to find the source behind its power, you have to take a journey up.

"I think it just really brings in a new excitement because people really don't know that we even have a green roof," said Hermoine Bell-Henderson, Coordinator, Business Technology and Periodicals Department.

The library's green roof has a number of purposes -- including producing solar energy. During warmer weather, the library gives tours twice a week.

Central Library

Central Library

"The view is phenomenal," said Hermoine Bell-Henderson.

Mayor Tom Barrett

The green roof is just the start. The city is planning to install additional solar panels, costing about $400,000. The energy produced is expected to save the city around $35,000 every year.

"We felt that libraries were a natural place. We think this is the right time to address this issue in a very, very comprehensive fashion," said Mayor Barrett.

The solar panels here at Central Library will be almost quadrupled. They're also adding solar panels at Center Street Library and Tippecanoe Library.

Central Library

"This is really a statement that I’m making, and the city’s making, that Milwaukee is going to be moving to more renewable resources," said Mayor Barrett.

Construction is expected to start this spring. The three libraries will have a display to show the public the daily output of the solar panels.

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