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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oconomowoc Utilities leads by example

From an article by Matthew Inda in The Lake Country Reporter:

City of Oconomowoc - Saving and conserving energy is easier than you might think.

Turning off the water when it’s not in use and recycling are two simple things everyone can do right at home.

But a local effort under the guidance of Oconomowoc Utilities intends to spread even more conservation endeavors across the city just as easily – by following their lead.

Earlier this spring, Oconomowoc Utilities announced it had been granted a pilot program known as Leading by Example, a program to help better educate and demonstrate the effectiveness of energy efficiency, conservation and renewable resources development around the community.

The program was awarded by Wisconsin Public Power Inc. (WPPI) because of Oconomowoc’s strong leadership in these areas.

The initiative has already made some differences.

Helping to implement the program is a conservation committee composed of community leaders and citizens.

“Our major purpose is to educate the community what they can do to conserve energy and water,” said committee member and former Oconomowoc Mayor Floss Whelan.

Spearheaded by Oconomowoc Utilities Operations Manager Dennis Bednarski, the program and its committee also includes Bob Duffy, city director of economic development; Mike Barry, Oconomowoc School District assistant superintendent of business services; Alderman David Nold; and Mike Farrell, chairman and chief executive officer of Sentry Equipment Corp.

“We have a diverse group of community members that can help us give a view of what concerns are here in Oconomowoc,” Bednarski said.

“It’s about local action,” he added.

Already, the group has implemented and nearly completed a light conservation effort at the high school tennis courts, changing the lights to solar power energy.

And coming soon, the group will work with the public library to also make its lighting and lighting costs more effective and efficient.

”We’re starting a project to relight the library with (light-emitting diode) LED fixtures,” Bednarski said.

LED lights are increasingly popular as it uses less energy but operates with as much brightness as a conventional bulb.

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