County to address energy consumption
Douglas County is making energy a priority. From looking at ways to conserve energy to finding ways to making energy production a priority for Douglas County, a newly formed committee started work Monday night to find ways to better manage energy...
Douglas County is making energy a priority.
From looking at ways to conserve energy to finding ways to making energy production a priority for Douglas County, a newly formed committee started work Monday night to find ways to better manage energy consumption.
"It will really improve the whole region around here," said Bob Browne, chairman of the Energy Committee.
The panel began to set priorities by making plans to review the county's energy consumption. It's planning to seek energy audits of all Douglas County facilities to determine ways they can be run more efficiently.
"I think, personally, we should start with our own county buildings," said committee member Kay McKenzie.
Initially, Browne will contact utilities to determine if county buildings are energy efficient and what could help enhance conservation.
It may be that Douglas County will have to allocate funds and bring in the right people to help in the effort, said Supervisor Dave Conley, who attended the inaugural meeting but doesn't serve on the committee. He said a consultant could help county officials ask the right questions to get answers to ways the county can reduce energy costs.
"Where should we spend some money to save a lot of money?" Conley asked. "I think we're going to have to pay out some money for some expert advise, but I think it will pay off in the long run."
Browne sees the effort as something that will produce "great savings" for taxpayers and the Lake Superior environment.
"This has the potential to touch every citizen," he said. It could spread throughout the state and show the way for people to conserve energy in their own homes and lives, he added.
McKenzie doesn't want the effort to stop with county buildings, and believes the panel should look at its fleet of vehicles to determine the most energy-efficient way of managing operations on the road. Whether using hybrid vehicles and flexible fuels, such as E-85, McKenzie said the county should evaluate its fleet to determine the most cost- and energy-efficient way to move employees from one site to the next.
That's something that should be discussed with department heads, Browne said.
Among committee goals is to host an idea-sharing energy summit.
"We would love it if the public would help," Browne said. "We would love to have people attend the meetings. There are so many knowledgeable people out there, and we need their help."
Shelley Nelson covers city/county government. E-mail snelson@superiortele -
gram.com or call (715) 394-4411, ext. 134.
The committee plans to meet again at 5 p.m. Aug. 21 in the Douglas County Courthouse.