Sexsmith keeps moving forward with a greener future

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The Town of Sexsmith continues to move forward with more green initiatives. Last week, the city council ordered the administration to seek a building monitoring grant to look for energy deficiencies in city buildings.

Meanwhile, the council chose Utility Management and Analysis Inc. to provide energy management reports similar to those used in the City of Grande Prairie.

“We are going to audit all systems and buildings to make sure there is nothing that is a huge drain somewhere,” said Kate Potter, Mayor of Sexsmith.

The service will provide monthly reports on utility usage of city-owned buildings by reviewing amenities such as furnaces, lighting, refrigerators and other equipment to see where efficiencies can be found. .

The city will only continue the project if it receives subsidies that will cover 80% of the cost; this would see the city commit around $1,000 to the project.

The project follows Sexsmith’s many green initiatives.

“Nobody lives only in a community based on the services that are offered; they live in a community because that community has similar values ​​to what they have and it’s also a good place to live,” Potter said.

“We want to encourage people to be able to enjoy the outdoors.”

She noted that the city has engaged in a number of green initiatives that have benefited the community, such as the recycling program, tree planting, solar farm as well as educational programs on food safety. of growing your food.

“Having trees along a driveway doesn’t make a huge difference in the overall picture when you think about C02 emissions and carbon capture, but it does make a big difference to the people walking down that street. every day,” Potter said.

She said residents believe the city’s environmental stewardship is important because it ensures the community maintains quality of life.

The city also benefits from external financing for its green expenditure.

Potter said Sexsmith was looking for projects that could qualify for certain grants, such as building monitoring or the solar farm.

She sees it as a win-win solution for the community if the city can save money for residents and help the environment.

The city’s solar farm recorded a net profit of $20,500 after its first year of operation. The site supplies approximately 70% of the buildings owned by the city.

“We weren’t expecting to have a positive first-year return already, so it was a pleasant surprise,” Potter said.

She also noted that the switch to recyclables pickup has also resulted in cost savings for the city, through reduced staff costs for cleaning up the old site.

“We ended up finding savings there, and really at the end of the day, it creates a nicer community and it saves our environment,” Potter said.

Still, she noted that some initiatives see no financial gain but still benefit residents.

“Trees only cost us money; there is no tangible financial gain from planting trees.

“However, the difference lies in the residents’ happiness, the residents’ desire to be outdoors and the desire to be outdoors.”

Potter said the city is looking at benefits to the city even if something is lacking in cost.

She said the risks remain in a small town making those decisions.

Not all results are out and the news isn’t always good, Potter said. The information is essential for better decision-making in the future, she said, citing the building monitoring project as an example.

“We could go through all of our buildings and say, you know what, right now they’re as energy efficient as we can afford,” Potter said.

She also highlighted the city’s commitment to the solar farm.

Potter said other communities wondered how a small town like Sexsmith could take a huge risk with a solar farm.

She explained that this was an informed and calculated risk, but even if the city did not get its money back immediately, the community would see the benefits.

Potter thinks this sends the message that smaller communities can do their part too.

“You don’t have to be in a big city to try to tackle things.

“We are all doing our small part to help benefit both the community and the region as a whole and, ultimately, the whole world in a very small way.”

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