FARGO – City Hall has already taken steps to save energy, including buying hybrid buses, and it’s looking to get the whole city involved with an initiative called eFargo.
Here are a few proposals in the eFargo plans:
- Start an incentive program to encourage refitting buildings or constructing new ones to be energy efficient or use renewable energy.
- Spread the word about free or low-cost conservation programs at Xcel Energy and Cass County Electric. One example is equipping customers’ air conditioners so the utilities can shut them off intermittently during peak periods when power costs are highest.
- Make it easier for utility customers to check their daily usage online or on cellphone apps, which allow customers to see the effects of conservation measures they take. One example is running dishwashers at night during off-peak periods.
- Work with lenders to provide lower-cost financing for energy-efficiency upgrades.
- Fund a mobile museum to teach children how energy is produced and consumed, and the impact of those activities. The city lacks a science museum for the purpose.
- Foster competition among neighborhoods and schools to save as much energy as possible using online games that provide information about energy use.
- Start projects to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency with a focus on properties that do not often get efficiency upgrades, such as rental properties. Landlords often do not pay the energy bill and renters, who do pay, don’t stay long enough to invest in upgrades.
Dan Mahli, an eFargo leader, said conservation is almost like discovering a new kind of energy.
“The way I’m thinking about it, we’re experts at mining coal and all sorts of natural resources,” he said, “there are benefits in looking into how we mine for efficiencies.”