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Energy Commons - Historic King Drive Business Improvement District

The Historic King Drive Business Improvement District is recruiting businesses and building owners to publish their energy usage data in a new environmental sustainability program called Energy Commons.  

It is designed to help reduce energy costs.

"When you have a small business owner who is really conscious of every single penny, this will allow them to make better and more refined choices," said Jerome Knapp, Executive Director at the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District.

Once a building owner opts into Energy Commons, the building's automation system uploads resource usage data to a public cloud-based server.  Neighboring business -- or anyone interested -- could view the data, both historic and in real-time.

"In sharing this information as much as possible, everyone benefits," Knapp said. "We tend to think of buildings in isolation from one another.  The purpose of this is to start to think of the urban setting as an ecosystem, rather than a collection of people or structures."

By aggregating data, building owners would be able to monitor their energy use, manage the system remotely, and compare efficiency to other buildings of similar use and size.  Knapp says publishing the data puts building owners in more favorable position to negotiate rates with the energy provider.

Beyond energy statistics, Knapp's vision is to integrate other information about a community into the Commons, like crime rates, property values, and air quality.

Knapp said the the system could give everyone "a better sense of what their community is."

Large private companies in Chicago are already using Energy Commons, but the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District is the first BID in the nation to launch the program. 

Right now the program is open to any building owner in Milwaukee.  If you'd like to find out more, contact the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District at (414) 265-5809.