“We challenge our staff to look for innovative ways to solve problems and improve efficiencies. Through the fuel conversion program, we were able to offset rising costs of energy and create a safer, healthier community for our residents,” Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said in a statement.
The commission honored six other municipalities with its five other CREATE awards for innovation: arts and culture, city of Suwanee; community involvement and collaboration, city of Marietta; educational excellence, city of Riverdale; regional prosperity and economic development, Fayette County and city of Fayetteville; technology, Gwinnett County.
In developing the city’s fuel conversion program, the Sandy Springs Police and Fire Rescue Departments were challenged to reduce the city’s dependency on fossil fuels. The fire department focused on harnessing solar energy to heat water used for kitchens, laundry and bathrooms at its two, city-owned fire stations. The police department targeted an often-used tool, its patrol cars, converting to propane autogas, saving on fuel and reducing maintenance costs, in addition to reducing greenhouse emissions.
Following implementation, the return on investment has been considerable. The city converted a total of 55 vehicles from gasoline to propane autogas, resulting in 87.94 tons of emissions displaced and $56,546 in cost savings when compared to traditional gasoline. As a result of the solar panel installation, natural gas usage at the two fire stations decreased 27 percent, resulting in $23,158 in cost savings. Both projects were funded by outside agencies with support from the U.S. Department of Energy.
For more information on the awards, visit http://bit.ly/NzFeFd.