FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — An Aroostook County town that has taken significant steps to reduce its overall energy consumption was recognized for its efforts Friday by a Maine organization that wants to prompt other towns to do the same.
During a brief morning ceremony, Efficiency Maine presented Fort Fairfield with its Recognition Award for its commitment to reducing energy consumption and energy costs. The event at the Fort Fairfield Community Center was attended by town officials, representatives from Efficiency Maine, and business and community leaders.
Efficiency Maine is an independent statewide agency created to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
Peter Roehrig, community and government relations official with Efficency Maine, presented the award to Town Manager Dan Foster.
Foster said Friday it was the first time the organization recognized a town or city as a whole for energy efficiency. In the past, similar awards have gone to the Maine National Air Guard, the Lewiston School District and various businesses.
Fort Fairfield was singled out for the award because of the energy projects it has undertaken in partnership with Efficiency Maine, and also because it has encouraged other organizations and businesses to do the same.
The town used a $58,290 allocation from Efficiency Maine to replace 174 street lights with high-efficiency LED lights. Officials with Efficiency Maine estimated the move will save the town approximately $19,000 each year for at least the next 12 years. Annual energy costs for Fort Fairfield’s street lighting system will be reduced from $23,600 down to $4,600 per year.
Roehrig added that the town also encouraged the Mid-County School System, which covers Fort Fairfield, Bridgewater and Mars Hill, to undertake energy-saving projects with Efficiency Maine.
Jim Everett, district operations manager for Mid-County School System, said the organization has helped the school system reduce its energy consumption by more than 15 percent.
“We are very pleased with the efforts of Fort Fairfield, and the Mid-County School System has helped lead the way to show other schools what can be done to improve energy efficiency,” said Roehrig. “Fort Fairfield is unique because Aroostook County has significant energy burdens because of its rural makeup. Despite that, they have managed to deliver significant costs savings and reduce energy consumption.”
Roehrig said Friday’s ceremony was the first step in a process that Efficiency Maine has instituted to recognize local towns and leaders for energy efficiency and to encourage other towns, businesses and organizations to follow suit.
He added partnering with towns and businesses allows Efficiency Maine to promote economic development by providing work for local businesses that offer and install energy-saving equipment. The partnerships also allow the money saved to be put toward other uses.
Roehrig said Efficiency Maine is on a mission to grow the Maine economy by increasing energy efficiency across the state by not only providing cash incentives for projects that reduce energy consumption but also by offering expert advice and guidance.