Walking through city hall on a Saturday afternoon, Mayor Greg Dionne found that despite being the only person in the building, many of the lights were on.
This is one of many examples that inspired him to urge administration draft a plan to cut fossil fuel consumption and electrical charges by 15 per cent, this year.
During Monday’s city council meeting, the city’s elected officials unanimously backed this sentiment.
“We purchase about $1 million of fuel,” Dionne informed council of the city’s annual expenditure.
“I think 15 per cent is a noble goal when I see how many vehicles we are driving.”
The fire and police departments may find a cut in fuel consumption challenging, but they still have to submit a plan, he said, noting that it applies to all city-funded users of fuel.
When it comes to cutting electrical charges, which the city spends $2.4 million on per year, Dionne faced some concern from council starting with Coun. Ted Zurakowski, who put up his “yield sign.”
Community clubs, which are in some cases “struggling to keep their doors open,” may need assistance in cutting their electrical consumption levels. Those already implementing energy conservation measures will be particularly challenged, he noted.
The same applies to the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club, which underwent an energy saving review about five years ago, Coun. Martin Ring pointed out.
Professional energy conservation service is being offered free of charge to any organization that requires it, Dionne countered, noting that by keeping it at 15 per cent cost reduction he’s made it a goal reasonably reached -- although he initially wanted it set at 25 per cent.
“You can do 15 per cent just by shutting off the lights you’re not using,” he said.
After the meeting, public works director Colin Innes said that cutting 15 per cent in these areas will come as a challenge in some cases, but that he’s confident it’s doable.
When it comes to places like the water treatment plant, many of its workings must run 24/7, he explained, but things like leaving lights on when no one’s around can be remedied.
When it comes to gasoline use, staff driving to sites with fewer vehicles and looking into the purchase of more fuel-efficient vehicles in future years are both potential options.
But, he added, this all needs to be looked at while they’re drafting a plan.
“I think we really need to look at all these things that are out there and see what kind of savings can be made.”