Lewiston, Maine: A Model Energy-Saving City

Earth Day Network’s Global Day of Conversation 2011 is an upcoming Earth Day campaign to engage local communities in discussing community-specific ways to help their city grow economically through sustainable action. This is the second installment of the Global Day of Conversation 2011 blog series.

Lewiston, Maine a Global Day of Conversation 2010 city, is in the state that consumes more energy per capita than over half the nation, and uses 800% more than the nation’s average in home heating oil. With some of the Northeast’s oldest housing stocks, Lewiston’s political leaders recognized that energy efficiency through weatherization would be the greatest immediate positive impact the city could make on its environmental footprint. Through the work of the city’s Energy Saving Committee, Lewiston saved over a million BTU in gas from 2009 to 2010, cutting down by more than half their fuel usage and expense.

The City of Lewiston sees sustainability as a core factor in developing their city, and is viewed as one of very few win-win situations in this tough economy, says Bruce Damon, who heads the Lewiston Energy Committee. In addition to saving energy and money through retrofitting and weatherization, Lewiston believes the effort creates construction jobs, reuses resources and preserves the historic character of its buildings.

As we near Earth Day 2011 and another Global Day of Conversation, it is essential that local leaders worldwide follow Lewiston’s example and start conversations about the lowest-hanging fruit in their communities that could make the largest impact. Adapting every conversation towards its community’s needs should ultimately result in actions that make this world a richer, smarter, and cleaner place to live.