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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Public Museum gets sustainable facelift

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  • An artist's rendering of the Milwaukee Public Museum's solar wall. It will be complete in Spring of 2014.
  • A 2,000 pound slab of marble is hoisted from the museum's facade.

The Milwaukee Public Museum is getting an eco-friendly makeover.

234 tons of marble has been removed from the south wall, making way for an 8-story solar wall.

The original marble facade was built in the 1960s, but since then, it has become weathered and less stable. MPM explored a few replacement options, including a wall of recycled material, but it chose solar because of its energy-generating potential. 

“Our interest is in how people interact with the environment. This lets people see that we are not just talking about sustainability, but also we’re doing something about it,” said Ellen Censky, Senior Vice President at the Milwaukee Public Museum. 

The panels will create approximately 78,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, which is enough to power about eight homes. It will be the first building in Milwaukee with a full solar wall, according to a museum spokesperson. 

Construction began in July and is expected to end in March 2014. Right now, crews are weatherproofing the wall before installation of the solar panels begins. 

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