The Township of South-West Oxford is a finalist in the second annual Community Conservation Award organized by the Ontario Power Authority, Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA).
Mary Ellen Greb, South-West Oxford’s CAO explained the township’s success in the area of conservation comes from the grassroots level.
“The municipality actually had an energy conservation committee for the last few years with the intent of trying to educate residents on the importance of the conservation of energy and new renewable energy technologies,” she said during a phone interview Thursday.
The committee, comprised of several township councillors and members of the public meets monthly to share ideas and to learn about ways to conserve energy and educate the public.
In the last several years, the municipality has made great strides in conservation through a number of initiatives including changing all streetlights to LED bulbs.
By doing the simple change the township has saved 215,000 kilowatts of power.
“There was 416 streetlights converted to the energy efficient lights,” she said.
The township also installed 10 kilowatt microfit systems on the roof of Salford Community Hall. The installation should be turned on in the next few days.
After paying for the installation the municipality is expected to earn $150,000 to $160,000 off the solar panels.
The conservation committee has also held public education sessions in Brownsville, Sweaburg and Mt. Elgin to discuss energy saving tips and the home assistance program.
The municipality is also undergoing energy audits of all township halls.
“Even in our office we’ve gone through the save energy small business upgrades,” Greb said.
The Community Conservation Awards are open to all municipalities in Ontario and are presented to communities that demonstrate strong achievement in the following areas of conservation leadership, innovation and market transformation, corporate/internal and community engagement and conservation achievements.
Other finalists include Burlington, Frontenac, Mississauga, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Toronto and Vaughan
The eight finalists were selected by a panel comprised of OPA conservation specialists as well as five external judges who are experts in the municipal conservation field. This year's winners will be announced on December 6, 2013, at the Local Authority Services Connections Energy Symposium in Toronto.