Town flicks the switch on more green projects
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 12:08 pm
The Town of Black Diamond is revealing its initiatives towards a green community and hope others will soon follow suit.
Black Diamond Mayor Sharlene Brown is flipping the switch to turn on the municipal building’s new five-kilowatt reflective solar energy system and sharing information on the community’s alternative energy initiatives at a public information session in the basement of the municipal building Feb. 26 at 1 p.m.
The public session will provide information about the solar systems on the municipal building and Oilfields Regional Arena, what steps have been taken to improve the efficiency of the arena, plans for future green initiatives and how residents can do their part to reduce the carbon footprint in Black Diamond.
“We want to showcase as much information around alternative energy as we possibility can,” said Brown.
Brown said money saved in electricity costs goes into the Town’s green fund to finance future alternative energy projects. The reflective solar energy system is the first item purchased from that fund.
“People come to Black Diamond because they appreciate the landscape and beauty of our community,” she said. “The more natural resources the more natural our community can become.”
Town of Black Diamond parks and recreation manager and Les Quinton, who is also a members of the Sustainable Black Diamond Advisory Committee, has played a large role in converting the town’s municipal buildings into using green power, particularly the Oilfields Regional Arena.
His initiatives resulted in the arena getting two adjustable solar systems on its roof.
Quinton has a computerized system in his office to monitor how many kilowatt hours are produced from the solar systems each day. He can also compare the arena’s production of kilowatt hours to other Alberta communities using solar systems.
Among 39 systems in Alberta, the Black Diamond arena’s two solar systems rate second and seventh for top producing systems.
Black Diamond is involved with the Taking Action to Manage Energy initiative through the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, which identifies deficiencies in facilities. As a result of the partnership the Town is replacing the arena’s two furnaces and water heater with high efficiency models. The program provided 50 per cent of the funding for the replacements.
The Town also joined Partners for Climate Protection last year to determine the community’s carbon footprint so it can develop a local action plan to come up with renewable energy options, said Quinton.
He said he hopes residents will follow the lead of the Town and take their own initiatives.
“The more people that adopt renewable energy or alternative choices make the community more self sufficient,” he said. “Two solar systems have gone up on the roof of people’s homes and there is a third one coming up right away.”
Quinton said the community’s green initiatives saved more than $50,000 in energy costs during the past 10 years.
“We are trying to show people where we are at and what we are working on,” he said. “As a municipality we are trained to be leaders. How can we expect the people in our community to do it if we are not doing it ourselves.”
Sustainable Black Diamond Advisory Committee chairman Dusty Williamson said the public information session celebrates the work accomplished by the group since it was established in 2006.
During the past six years the community has seen the installation of LED lighting, low flow fixtures, as well as wind and solar generation, said Williamson.
The goal is to have all of the Town’s municipal buildings fully operated by solar systems.
“Reduction is the most important thing,” he said. “It’s where the biggest money saver is because you are not using power.”
The public information session is open to the public in Black Diamond and surrounding communities from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the municipal building.