Ohio Municipality to Improve Energy Efficiency

THE small U.S. city of Oregon, a suburb of Toledo in Ohio, is looking to improve the energy efficiency of its city buildings, including the sprawling municipal complex.

The aptly named Toledo Blade newspaper reports that the Oregon City Council unanimously agreed to enter a memorandum of understanding with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority with the aim to begin a building improvement project.

The city’s decision to improve its energy use is a fine example for many other municipalities who look to reduce their spending and boost their local economies by helping local businesses and organisations to follow suit.

Oregon City Councilman Dennis Walendzak said the plan is to reduce the amount of energy used in city buildings, including the municipal complex, water plant, and wastewater plant with the aim of both saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"We want to try to find ways to reduce the costs of doing government," Walendzak told the Blade.

Last year the port authority started a programme to help municipalities, schools, most businesses, non-profit agencies, farms, and others to upgrade buildings to save energy with a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, from which entities received a fixed-rate loan for their projects.

Kevin Moyer, executive director of the port authority's energy efficiency and alternative energy programme said: "We're trying to save businesses energy and save them money and at the same time create jobs."

The port authority’s programme saw that the upgrading of older facilities with energy saving measures, technologies and systems could save 20 percent, or in the case of really old buildings, 30 percent or more, Moyer revealed.

Oregon City's buildings, east of Toledo, are judged to be ideal to benefit from the port authority's Better Buildings Northwest Ohio financing programme, Moyer said, adding: "I'm confident we'll be able to save them money."

Over the next couple of years the port authority hopes to fund $15 million in projects, Moyer revealed.

The amount is eventually expected to grow to $100 million investment in new projects, leading to $20 million in annual cost savings, 2,000 construction and other jobs, and a carbon dioxide reduction of 2,000 million metric tons, Moyer said.

Walendzak, said the city looks to help local businesses benefit from the energy efficiency programme and so doing reduce their energy costs.

Michael Beazley, Oregon city administrator, said the city would repay the the port authority's programme loan from the savings from improved energy efficiency and the resulting cost savings across the city’s buildings.

Picture By NorthernMagnolia (Taken by uploader) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday 23rd March 2011

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