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Gresham mayor wins national award for saving energy


Wastewater plant produces energy on-site

Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis won a national award at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Conference last week for the city's work in conserving energy.

According to a press release from the conference, Bemis, representing Gresham, was took first place in the small cities category for the 2014 Mayors' Climate Protection Awards. Las Vegas took first place in the big cities category.

“The annual awards program, now in its eighth year, recognizes mayors for innovative programs that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the release stated. “An independent panel of judges selected the winners from a pool of applicants.”

Gresham won the award for its energy management program to “aggressively reduce its top energy users as the fastest way to reach the City Council's energy reduction goals.”

As a result of those goals, the wastewater treatment plant, once the city's top electricity consumer, will produce 100 percent of its electricity needs from onsite renewable power by the end of the year. Electricity at the plant is generated through an on-site co-generator; a receiving station for fats, oils and grease; and a solar array. The city's second highest user of electricity was city streetlights, which are being converted this year to LED fixtures, dramatically reducing power needs.

Las Vegas also won its award for its wastewater facility, “the nation's first net-zero energy, water and waste municipality” along with the construction of more than 1 million square feet of green buildings for the city.

Las Vegas also has upgraded more than 80 percent of its 50,000 streetlights with LEDs, with other energy savings in recycling and water consumption.

Bemis topped the list of small cities and others receiving honorable mention included the mayors of Napa, Calif.; North Miami, Fla.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; and Camuy, Puerto Rico.

Large cities receiving honorable mention include the mayors of Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee, Wis.; New York City; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Washington, D.C.