Examples of a Bioswale, Porous Pavement, and Green Roof

Green Luminary®

What is a Green Luminary® Award?

It takes vision and foresight to sustainably manage water where it falls. A Green Luminary® is ultimately helping protect our rivers and Lake Michigan by adopting practices that harvest rainfall for other uses or mimic nature by draining it into the ground to reduce water pollution. The Green Luminary® projects highlighted below are led by true champions who recognize not only the need to manage stormwater but also the need to innovate and grow. MMSD gives Green Luminary® awards to businesses, organizations, and communities that implement exceptional green infrastructure design projects in the MMSD service area that benefit our lakes and rivers, as well as our communities.

Learn more about Green Infrastructure, our funding opportunities, or consult with our Fresh Coast Guardian Resource Center to learn how you can get started. Together we can help protect our rivers and lakes, reduce the risk of basement backups and sewer overflows, and improve the Greater Milwaukee ecosystem.

Fresh Coast Guardians Resource Center

Explore Green Luminary® Award Winners

Click a blue dot to learn more about our past award winners.

Tippecanoe Church Green Luminary

Located just southwest of Milwaukee’s Bay View Neighborhood, Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church is home to the Milwaukee area’s first church-based, semi-intensive agricultural rooftop.

Chiswick Apartments Green Luminary Award

Located on the site of a former school, the green infrastructure elements at the Chiswick at Dunwood Apartments can manage close to 900,000 gallons

City of Wauwatosa | MMSD Green Luminary® Award

The road to cleaner rivers and lakes starts in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin with 17 green alleys that can manage hundreds of thousands of gallons of water every time it rains. See how green alleys work and hear why the City plans to install more.

Glendale Green Summers| MMSD Green Luminary® Award

This summer, Glendale, WI residents took part in the Glendale Green Summer to help manage water where it falls on their own properties.

Bayside Green Luminary

In Bayside, Wisconsin, a series of underground shallow ditches (that are like swimming pools) filled with rocks, sand, and engineered soils can capture and store 100,000 gallons of water.

Schlitz Audubon Green Luminary

Tour an outdoor classroom on Lake Michigan that can effectively manage millions of gallons of rain while doubling as a nature center with rare species. Green infrastructure abounds at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center just north of the City of Milwaukee.

City of Cudahy | MMSD Green Luminary

Take a stroll through the City of Cudahy and you probably wouldn’t notice all the green infrastructure techniques used to capture and clean 150,000 gallons of water every time it rains.

Sid Grinker | Green Luminary

Sid Grinker helps protect our rivers and Lake Michigan by adopting practices that harvest rainfall. See how they use trees and porous pavement to capture thousands of gallons of water every time it rains.

2100 Apartments

The 2100 Apartments in Wauwatosa offer green living in the urban environment. Just blocks from a popular mall, the facilities manage water where it falls with a green roof, native landscaping and porous pavement.

Coakley Brothers Green Luminary Award

The Coakley Brothers operate in a heavily urbanized section of Milwaukee, so installing green infrastructure such as cisterns, bioswales, porous pavements and rain gardens help them manage water where it falls.

August 2017 - Northwestern Mutual Green Luminary

Northwestern Mutual has a green roof that collects up to 512,000 gallons of rain each year and adds green space to downtown Milwaukee.

MSOE Green Luminary Award

MSOE's Grohmann Museum has a green roof to help capture rainwater where it falls and reduce their heating and cooling costs. MSOE's new building will recycle heat created from their supercomputer to create aa self-melting sidewalk outside the building.

Kaufmann House Luminary

The Kaufmann house captures rainwater on their property through green infrastructure to help protect Lake Michigan.

December 2015 - City of Milwaukee

The City of Milwaukee focuses on building green alleys which consist of porous pavements that capture 15,000 gallons of water per each alley, reducing flooding and water runoff.

Urban Ecology Luminary

The Urban Ecology Center has three locations that uses green infrastructure to collect water and recycle water for other uses at their centers. They use rain gardens, rain barrels and green roofs to collect over 1 million gallons of water at one location.

Walnut Way Luminary

Blue Skies Landscaping and Walnut Way are helping the environment by installing green infrastructure such as permeable pavements, green roofs, bioswales and rain gardens.

Alice's Garden Luminary

Alice's Garden is a farm in downtown Milwaukee that helps manage and use rainwater for their plants using a green infrastructure system. The system includes a bioswale, cistern and a solar pump.

Freshwater Way Luminary

Freshwater Way is a street that houses multiple water technology businesses such as the Global Water Center and the Reed Street Yards. There are green roofs, bioswales, porous pavements and rain gardens that help protect our rivers and Lake Michigan from

Hartung Park Luminary

Hartung Park's pond is used as a green infrastructure tool to drain rainwater from the surrounding neighborhood around the park to reduce flooding and water pollution.

December 2017 - Freshwater Plaza

Freshwater Plaza uses a system of a roof downspouts that feed rainwater into wetland plants and an underground cistern that can capture 75,000 gallons of water. The system creates a sustainable environment and a beautiful setting.


Milwaukee Public Museum rebuilt their roof and instead of a traditional roof, they implemented a sustainable solution: a green roof. The green roof provides a green space in the middle of downtown, offers heat reduction and collects over 90,000 gallons of

Columbia St. Mary's Luminary

Ascension Columbia St Mary's hospital in Milwaukee utilizes two green roofs for stormwater management which helps with patient morale, as well as helping manage water pollution.

February 2017 - Cream City Farms Luminary

Cream City Farms uses rainwater that is collected from bioswales and a cistern to sustainably water and grow their crops on their urban farm.

October 2017 - Fondy Farmers Market Luminary

The vacant lot at the Fondy Food Market has been transformed into a stormwater park which contains a bioswale, rain garden, crushed granite which can hold up to 77,000 gallons of water. The rainwater from the streets around the market gets diverted to the

January 2017 - Green Solutions Greenfield

Green Solutions is a program in Greenfield that implemented rain gardens and rain barrels in one section of town, near Alverno College, to help capture rain. Since it's one of the most densely populated watersheds in Wisconsin, helping capture rainwater c


Northpoint Lighthouse uses restorative stormwater conveyance systems to divert rainwater and lead it towards rain gardens, as well as using porous pavement to collect water.

July 2016 - MillerCoors Green Luminary

MillerCoors green roof and rain gardens promote a sustainable environment by helping protect Lake Michigan and our watersheds from flooding and water pollution.

January 2016 - Alverno College

Alverno College is located in the most heavily urbanized watershed in Wisconsin and to reach their sustainability goals they have implemented a bioswale, rain gardens, and a green roof.

August 2016 - Friends of the Monarch Trail Green Luminary

Friends of Monarch Trail use green infrastructure such as rain gardens, bioswales, and wetlands to help with the return of monarch butterflies and collect rainwater.

February 2016 - West Allis

City of West Allis turned storm water management education into a fun experience for residents with rain gardens and rain barrels.

September 2016 - Victory Garden Initiative Green Luminary

Victory Garden is a community-based organization that uses green infrastructure to help feed neighborhood families and educate children. They use a cistern to collect and water their community farm, and soil amendments such as compost and wood chips to im

March 2016 - Boerner Botanical Gardens

The Boerner Botanical Gardens harvest rainwater by collecting water from the roof and porous pavement in a huge cistern underneath a rain garden, which is used for irrigation on site.

October 2016 - St. Francis Green Summer Green Luminary

The City of St. Francis educates and helps residents build rain gardens and rain barrels to capture rain as it falls and protect our rivers and Lake Michigan from water pollution.

April 2016 - Mequon Nature Preserve

The Mequon Nature Preserve uses rain barrels, rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, permeable pavement, cisterns and wetlands to collect over 250,000 gallons of rainwater which they then recycle and use onsite.

November 2016 - Brown Deer Bradley Rd Green Luminary

To combat floods in Brown Deer on Bradley Road, the village replaced four lanes of concrete with a half mile of bioswales to manage the rainwater and prevent runoff pollution.

May 2016 - Fund for Lake Michigan

Fund for Lake Michigan has invested $12 million on 150 projects that help protect Lake Michigan with green infrastructure. These projects help manage stormwater and prevent water pollution and runoff.

December 2016 - Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee Green Luminary

Westlawn is a housing development in Milwaukee that uses green infrastructure such as bioswales in order to limit the impact of flooding in the neighborhood from rainwater.

June 2016 - Century City Triangle Neighborhood Association

Century City is a community-based organization that helps children in the neighborhood learn how they can help manage water. Children are able to decorate rain barrels and build rain gardens.

July 2015 - All People's Green Luminary

All People's Church uses rain barrels, cisterns and bioswales to collect water to use in their gardens to help the community.

February 2015 - Shorewood Natural Lawncare

The Village of Shorewood uses soil amendments such as Milorganite and compost to take care of their natural lawn to help grow healthy grass which acts as a sponge to absorb water.

August 2015 - Zoo's Green Luminary

The Milwaukee Public Zoo uses a variety of ways to manage rainwater such as the forest and ponds surrounding the Zoo, along with rain gardens and green roofs.

March 2015 - Mitchell Park Domes

Rainwater is collected into a cistern to use at the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukees, along with a green roof and porous pavements along the sidewalk. The water collected is used to water plants in the Domes.

September 2015 - Summerfest Luminary

Summerfest uses rain gardens, bioswales, a green roof and porous pavement to collect and limit the stormwater and pollution that goes into Lake Michigan.

April 2015 - Maryland Ave. Montessori

Maryland Avenue Montessori School renovated and turned a parking lot into a huge rain garden in addition to building a pond, bioswale and catch basin to collect rainwater. They use the green infrastructure as an education source for the students, as well

October 2015 - UW-Milwaukee Luminary

Managing 16.5 million gallons of rain water a year with green infrastructure, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee is making great strides reducing water pollution in a heavily urbanized area. From utilizing rain gardens, cisterns, and green roofs, UW-Milw

May 2015 - Poblocki Paving Luminary

Poblocki Paving replaced their parking lot with porous pavement that fills up tanks and supplies them with water for their business. They save money while also helping the local Milwaukee environment.

November 2015 - Mandel Group

Mandel Group develops buildings that have green roofs that help with water pollution, as well as making a green space for residents to enjoy in the middle of downtown Milwaukee.