By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Sep 22, 2015 at 9:06 AM

To help highlight MMSD Green Luminaries awards, we're focusing on the winners by asking about their practices and new environmental approaches.

MMSD's goal is to create enough green infrastructure in the region to capture 740 million gallons of water every time it rains, to reduce water pollution and improve Lake Michigan and our rivers.

Last month, we talked with the Milwaukee County Zoo.  

Today, it's Summerfest and Milwaukee World Festivals, Inc.  Of course, it's almost autumn, but the grounds at Henry Maier Festival Park, the home of Summerfest and many other events, need care all year round.  I talked to Jason Stuewe, architectural designer, about the organization's approach to creating an even more green friendly approach on the grounds.

OnMilwaukee: How do you maintain the grounds in the off season?

Jason Stuewe: MWF Inc. employs a full time facilities staff that maintains Henry Maier Festival Park year round.  During the winter months, the staff focuses on grounds maintenance, snow plowing, building repairs, relocation and storage of items, staff recruitment, planning and coordination for the upcoming festival season.

OnMilwaukee: What impact does being directly on Lake Michigan have?

Stuewe: Lake Michigan is the greatest asset to Henry Maier Festival Park.  There is no festival site in the world located directly on the water.  We have always done our best to showcase this amazing piece of land on the shores of Lake Michigan and make every effort possible to preserve this asset.

OnMilwaukee: What are some key things that are done on the grounds to make Summerfest greener?

JS: Every year, we make an effort to incorporate sustainable materials, components and systems on the grounds and as part of the festival.  Most recent components include an energy and lighting management system, low-flow restroom fixtures, energy efficient fixtures and equipment, geothermal heating and cooling systems in year-round buildings, reflective roofing materials reducing the heat island effect, locally sourced materials and equipment, use of a 100% recyclable plastic cup, an intensive recycling program and maximizing our landscaped spaces.

It may not seem like it, but recycling at Henry Maier Festival Park is one of the most complicated and intensive procedures we have from a facilities perspective.  We work extensively to create public awareness of what is recyclable, how those recyclables are handled and where to find recycling receptacles on the grounds.  We also work with our sponsors to raise awareness and promote recycling on the grounds as part of the festival experience.

OnMilwaukee: Having more than one million people on the grounds every summer has to do some damage, right?  What can fest goers do to make their visit more eco-friendly?

Stuewe: The biggest effort fest goers can make ensure a more eco-friendly visit is to use the trash and recycling receptacles.  Unfortunately any recyclables thrown on the ground by festgoers needs to be collected.  The collection process that takes place after we close is a huge task and with the time allowed between festival days it is impossible to separate the garbage from the recyclables.  If our patrons use the appropriate receptacles, we can divert dumpsters full of recyclables from the landfill to the appropriate recycling plant.

OnMilwaukee: What are some of the new, innovative things that Summerfest is working on?

Stuewe: Warp speed, time travel and mind reading so that we can program the appropriate lineup. 

OnMilwaukee: Define success from an environmental standpoint for Summerfest.

Stuewe: We constantly strive to make Henry Maier Festival Park more sustainable ever year.  We look for greening opportunities in every aspect of the festival, from building materials and supplies and products to public transportation options and energy conservation.  Every avenue is explored.

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.