City takes lead in energy efficiency.

DAWSON CREEK, B.C. Faced with rising energy costs, the City of Dawson Creek has adopted seven recommendations from the Pembina Institute that comprise Phase 1 of the City?s Community Energy Plan.

?Since the City engaged with Pembina in 2005 to analyze our energy usage, it was clearly our intent to initiate a Community Energy Plan (CEP),? says Mayor Wayne Dahlen of Dawson Creek. ?Now that the study has been completed I feel, and the Council feels as well, that we need to walk the talk and show that we are serious about implementing this plan.?

The first phase of the CEP is focused on the City?s internal operations by looking at the costs attached to specific facilities or operations and then looking at ways to lower or stabilize costs.

?In 2004, the City spent $920,000 on energy to heat and operate buildings, maintain street lighting, and fuel for vehicles,? says Dahlen. ?Obviously we need to do as much as possible to control those costs as the price of energy is rising so quickly.?

Mayor Dahlen suggests that, ?one of the easiest recommendations to proceed with is the energy retrofit study of our public buildings. I think this will send a message that we are serious and truly concerned about our energy costs.?

Another element of the CEP is to reduce the City?s dependence on fossil fuels and to reduce green house gas emissions. Two steps are key to working towards a more environmentally sustainable energy plan. The first is to install a solar hot water system at City Hall. The second is to conduct a cost benefit analysis of purchasing wind energy from the wind farm that Peace Energy and Aeolis Wind Power Corporation are planning for Bear Mountain near Dawson Creek.

?As a community we have to take advantage of new opportunities that can be found in our own backyard,? says Dahlen. ?Green Smart Homes is another example of how new ways of doing things can result in significant savings to anyone in the community willing to explore new ideas.?

The Pembina Institute will continue to be involved in the process of developing the CEP by helping the City set its own economic and environmental priorities before proceeding to look at the community?s residences and businesses and what their needs might be.

?Once the City has set its internal priorities we would hope that people will get on board and look seriously at their energy cost,? says Dahlen. ?At that time we can then move forward with the community with an energy plan that will engage everyone.?