Natural & Environmental Resources Goal 2
Public services will be provided to the community in a manner that has the lowest possible environmental impact while remaining cost effective for residents.
2.1 Install energy efficient Street Lighting
STRATEGY: Explore the feasibility of utilizing high efficiency LED technology for street lighting to reduce energy consumption.
JUSTIFICATION: Recent improvements in LED street lighting technology allow communities to reduce energy consumption, lengthen the lifecycle of bulbs and provide night lighting that enhances safety by illuminating public spaces with light that is more natural than legacy sodium vapor, metal halide or mercury lighting fixtures. While the installation of modern LED fixtures does come with an expense, the improvements in energy efficiency and longer replacement cycles can provide significant long term financial benefits to a community. The low electricity requirements of LED fixtures also allow for the installation of miniature solar collectors or wind generators on the mounting poles to power the fixtures, reducing the otherwise absolute need for hardwiring of the fixtures.
2.2 Utilize Alternative Fuel Vehicles for Town Operations
STRATEGY: Explore the feasibility of replacing all or a portion of the Town’s conventionally powered vehicle fleet with low impact alternative fuel vehicles.
JUSTIFICATION: Vehicles used in the provision of municipal services often consume a great deal more energy than personal passenger vehicles due to long periods of idling and frequent stops and starts as vehicles travel around town. While not all vehicles would necessarily be candidates for replacement with alternative fuel vehicles, such as heavy duty work trucks and similar specialized vehicles, there are opportunities to utilize more energy efficient and lower polluting vehicles in the provision of municipal services. Developing a small fleet of electric vehicles could also help to support the creation of infrastructure for public electric vehicle charging stations.
2.3 Conduct an Environmental Audit of Town Services
STRATEGY: Conduct an environmental audit of all town services to identify ways in which the town can reduce its environmental footprint.
JUSTIFICATION: Developing an understanding of the environmental impact of how municipal services are provided will help the town identify areas in which it can improve its environmental stewardship and reduce potentially negative impacts on the community. Frequently, inefficiencies identified in this type of audit can lead to the development of cost saving alternatives as waste and excessive consumption are eliminated in favor of more efficient methods of service delivery or less impactful operational practices.
2.4 Reduce Hard Copy Mailings for Town Business
STRATEGY: Explore options for reducing or eliminating hard copy mailings by the town to reduce paper consumption, such as providing online payment options.
JUSTIFICATION: Providing options for paperless transactions, and eventually eliminating all but those legally required hard copy mailings by the town will, over time, lead to significant cost savings and reduce the town’s environmental impact. As a greater share of the town’s residents become more comfortable with doing business by email or other internet based options, the need for mailing hard copies of bills, notices and other documents will decrease. This, in turn can also benefit the town by allowing it to communicate larger volumes of information to residents and utility customers since there is little or no additional cost involved in sending additional information via electronic means, while printing and mailing or otherwise distributing hard copies is limited by budgets, envelope capacity and weight limits.
2.5 Adopt Local Sourcing Policies
STRATEGY: Adopt policies encouraging town employees to source supplies from manufacturers and distributors that are located in closer proximity to Shepherdstown to reduce delivery related energy consumption.
JUSTIFICATION: While the volume of goods consumed by town operations is relatively small when compared to even marginally larger municipal governments, each transaction that requires delivering or picking up an item form a distance farther than absolutely necessary does add to the town’s environmental impact. Sourcing goods locally, where possible and financially feasible, will help the community to reduce its overall carbon footprint and help to support local businesses.
2.6 Develop a Reclaimed Water Distribution System
STRATEGY: Explore the feasibility of developing a reclaimed water system to distribute treated “gray water” for irrigation uses by large consumers such as farms and golf courses.
JUSTIFICATION: Providing reclaimed water for use by large water consumers, such as golf courses and large agricultural producers, cold help the town generate additional revenue from its water and wastewater utilities, while also reducing the volume of its discharges into the Potomac River. Reclaimed water, which is the result of treatment in a municipal wastewater facility, is generally approved for use for these purposes without further treatment. This can provide a reliable water source for large nonpotable water users, particularly during times of drought, thereby helping to guarantee the ongoing viability of their operations.
2.7 Develop and Implement a Community Energy Reduction Program
STRATEGY: Develop a community-wide energy usage reduction program in cooperation with the electric service provider to establish energy conservation goals and provide the public with a method of monitoring progress on reaching those goals.
JUSTIFICATION: Many communities have established goals to reduce energy consumption, but monitoring progress toward those goals can be difficult to measure. Emerging technology is allowing communities to provide real time monitoring of community-wide energy usage, thereby helping to demonstrate the ongoing rates of consumption, or reductions that have occurred. While this would require the cooperation of the local electric utility to achieve, a community-wide effort could help to provide another environmental focus for the community as it works toward a goal of reducing its environmental impacts. Such a program could begin with a small set of users, such as municipal buildings and the university, which could have targets set for energy reduction. Publicaly viewable monitors displaying energy consumption in participating buildings can help to demonstrate the efficiency gains that are being made and let managers monitor energy consumption levels in real time. Along with monitoring progress, the community could establish a program to improve energy efficiency, with components such as providing weatherization assistance to homeowners, conducting energy audits of commercial buildings and distributing free or reduced cost energy efficient light bulbs to help encourage lower energy consumption. Combined, an achievable goal, monitoring and assistance program can help the community realize significant reductions in energy usage while also giving the town a measurable goal to work towards as a community.