Conyers looks to go green
Energy-efficient lighting could save city money

CONYERS - For the city of Conyers, going green may mean more than saving the environment. A switch to more energy- efficient lighting could save the city thousands of dollars.

The city replaced older T12 fluorescent bulbs with more efficient T5 fluorescent bulbs in the lobby of City Hall this week as part of an evaluation to see how effective the lighting will be and decide whether to retrofit lighting in all of the city's government buildings.

The effort is part of the city's "Green Team" that was organized as an outreach effort among city employees to find ways to make the city government greener and, in turn, more efficient.

Councilman Marty Jones was the driving force behind the creation of the Green Team and in formulating the city's green buildings ordinance and sustainability policy in personnel rules and regulations.

He said that the attempt to reduce the city's carbon footprint is good public relations, but also an opportunity to save some money.

"We want to do our part as a city government to save energy and other resources where we can and pass on that savings to our citizens," said Jones, a member of the green team. "This is something we're evaluating to see if it's a viable option down the road."

Representatives from the Atlanta-based firm Always Earth Friendly LLC installed four demonstration T5 bulbs in fixtures in City Hall's front lobby on a trial basis to evaluate the effectiveness of the bulbs. It is estimated in just the two fixtures 140 watts of energy will be saved per fixture.

Diane Kenney from Always Earth Friendly estimates that by retrofitting 500 light fixtures in city facilities, the city could realize $20,000 in energy savings the first year.

"This is just one of several projects we evaluate on a quarterly basis during our Green Team meetings," Jones said.

Another green initiative is the curbside recycling the city began last year. The Conyers Green Team expects to evaluate results from the first year of curbside recycling offered to city residents at its next meeting.

According to city officials, 548 tons of recycled materials were collected and diverted from landfills from July 2008 to July 2009. That comes to 17 percent of residential garbage collected that is being recycled.

Residents interested in learning more about Conyers' green efforts or suggestions for other energy-saving measures are invited to submit an inquiry via the city's Web site at www.conyersga.com.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.