Saving energy at the city

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David Sims Guest Opinion

The City of Bonners Ferry generates about 30 percent of its energy needs at its hydroelectric dam on the Moyie River, and purchases the remainder from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).

BPA uses some of the proceeds from energy sales to fund energy efficiency programs offered through local utilities. The amount the city receives varies from year to year, but has recently been approximately $50,000 per year. This money is required to be used to fund efficiency measures that are approved by BPA, and if the funds are not used they are forfeited.

One of the priorities over the last two years has been to fund lighting projects in public facilities to help reduce the energy usage and costs at our local civic facilities. These projects include lighting upgrades at the Boundary County Library, the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office, the Bonners Ferry City Hall, the Visitor Center, the golf course, the Bonners Ferry fire station and the city’s streetlights. These projects involved replacing fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient LED bulbs.

The city’s streetlights are a good example of the level of energy savings that is achieved with the program. The city replaced 350 sodium vapor streetlights that used 100–150 watts with LED lights that use about 50 watts. The LED bulbs save over 50 percent on the cost of electricity, while providing an equivalent amount of light.

The city has also provided all of our electricity customers with LED light bulb kits twice over the last two years. The latest kit included 11-watt LED bulbs that provide lighting equivalent to a 75-watt incandescent bulb. For maximum energy and cost savings, be sure to use them in locations that see the most usage!

The city will be developing its energy efficiency program for the next two years over the coming months, so stay tuned for more ways to save energy!

More information on the BPA Energy Efficiency program can be found by going to BPA’s website at www.bpa.gov.

• • •

David Sims is the mayor of Bonners Ferry.

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