2012 Small Community Finalists - Sustainable Community Awards


Middleton, WI

Purcellville, VA

River Falls, WI

Middleton, Wisconsin

Middleton is being honored for the Middleton Sustainable City Plan. The plan addresses seven separate, yet interconnected aspects of life within the City of Middleton. For each of these seven categories, the city created a vision statement, identified indicators by which performance can be measured, selected desired performance trends, and prioritized a list of possible actions to accomplish these objectives. In total, the plan has created 53 targets and 53 action steps for the community.

Middleton's 7 Sustainability Planning Areas 
  • Energy
  • Transportation
  • Land use
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Economy/food/fair trade
  • Public outreach
  • Education

Middleton has set a goal to decrease energy use by 10% by 2020. To achieve this goal the city has replaced 82 streetlights with L.E.D., adopted a lighting ordinance to decrease light wastage, and provided incentives to encourage residential building beyond the minimum code requirements.

To decrease water use, Middleton has incentivized the use of rain barrels, rain gardens, and low-flow fixtures; improved water efficiency at the municipal golf course; and began using porous pavement when possible. About $ million was spent on minimizing stormwater impact and improving water quality by building the Middleton Confluence Pond.

Over $15 million was spent revitalizing Middleton’s downtown and preserving historic buildings, including the “Pet Milk” building, which was rehabbed into 19 condominiums.

Purcellville, Virginia

Purcellville is being honored for the “Go Green Purcellville” plan and its successes in preserving historic land while developing responsibly.

The Go Green Purcellville plan is designed to enhance the quality of life for current and future residents and visitors, create a sustainable community through a diverse set of governmental, private, and nonprofit partnerships, and provide essential services while being prudent stewards of the environment. From promoting locally sourced foods to preserving hundreds of acres of local land, Purcellville is advancing sustainable initiatives, all while the economy grows and remains vibrant.

In 2011, Purcellville completed the restoration of the Bush Tabernacle, a major structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Tabernacle is the most significant cultural structure in the community and has been fully restored using environmentally sensitive designs, equipment, and materials. In addition, the land upon which it sits is now in permanent conservation easement.

Despite the recession, Purcellville’s economy continues to thrive. There are two major commercial construction projects underway and the town’s sustainability goals are being implemented in those developments through the re-adaptation and reuse of historic structures within a new commercial shopping center.

River Falls, Wisconsin

River Falls is being honored for its Comprehensive Plan. The plan has 13 overall themes that cast a wide net to incorporate all aspects of sustainable living from a traditional triple bottom line approach. The plan reflects a vision that is people-oriented, enduring, vibrant, and sensitive to the environment.

In 2011, The City of River Falls built a LEED Silver certified city hall, the first certified city hall in Wisconsin. The municipal utility has a full-time energy conservation coordinator that, as part of his duties, oversees POWERful Choices!—a sustainable energy project. The project has been responsible for educating students, residents, and businesses about practices that reduce energy usage and demand.

River Falls is also an EPA Green Power Partner Community. River Falls was the first city in the Midwest to achieve this designation.  Six percent of the municipal utility customers participate in a renewable energy certificate program—the 5th highest in the nation--buying 7.2% of the utility’s total power load in green power offsets (based on NREL 2010 Annual Assessment of Leading Utility Green Power Programs). 

About the Siemens Sutainable Community Awards

The Siemens Sustainable Community Awards applaud the nation’s foremost examples of local public and private entities working in partnership to take on the challenge of sustainable development. The finalist recognition goes to local governments, chambers of commerce, convention bureaus, economic development authorities, and similar organizations that have made exceptional contributions towards long-term social and economic development in their local communities. The Small Community category is for municipalities with less than 50,000 residents.