Conservation and Efficiency
Two aticles in the KJ today highlight conservation efforts in Maine. "A new push for conservation", examines how the state is moving towards a sustainable future:
Baldacci created the Office of Energy Independence and Security about two years ago. Since its formation the state has increased its purchase of renewable power from Maine facilities from less than 30 percent to 40 percent of state electric consumption.
The state also increased its use of a 10 percent biodiesel blend to heat government office buildings more than six fold last year. Biodiesel incorporates waste vegetable oil, a renewable energy source, Nagusky said.
State buildings also boast vending machines that consume half the energy of traditional models. The government even used Christmas to spread its message of conservation, using lights on the state Christmas tree that consume 1 percent the power of traditional lights.
On the transportation front, the state features a van pooling program that currently is 15 vehicles strong. That van fleet will double in size over the next three years, Nagusky said.
State employees who car pool or drive hybrid cars receive preferential parking at government buildings, all of which is part of an executive order from Baldacci to improve fuel efficiency and reduce the number of miles driven by state employees.
Speaking of hybrids, Mainers seem to be flocking to the new cars despite the relative utility of an SUV or truck for navigating the Maine winter.
This year, for the first time, Charlie's Toyota in Augusta has a pair of Prius cars out on the lot waiting to be purchased.
That wait is not likely to be long given the growing popularity of cars that combine a gas engine with an emissions-free electric motor. Yes, hybrids are hot, at least in a relative sense.
Luxy LeClair, general sales manager at Central Maine Motors Auto Group in Waterville, said if the Prius were readily available his salesmen would sell 15 to 20 a month.
Never underestimate the combination of Yankee frugality and Maine's environmental conscience.
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