Annapolis officials have begun planting trees, screwing in high-efficiency light bulbs, and converting cars and buses to use compressed natural gas in an effort to become more energy efficient.
Yesterday, the Maryland Energy Administration recognized that effort by awarding the city a $150,000 grant to help pay for energy-efficient projects and designating Annapolis a "Maryland Energy Showcase Community."
"Our state capital is an ideal place to establish a showcase program to demonstrate energy efficient technologies in the residential and commercial areas, as well as in the public transportation sector," Gov. William Donald Schaefer said in a press release.
So far, Annapolis plans to buy three buses and a streetcar shuttle fueled by compressed natural gas; to convert Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins' car and three public works vehicles to natural gas; to convert two other city vehicles to propane; and to install energy-efficient lights in City Hall and other city buildings.
The plan also calls for planting trees on public and private land and installing energy-efficient systems in houses to be built by Habitat for Humanity.
The city has allocated $24,000 toward the program in fiscal year 1995. In addition, the city will receive rebates from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. for some of the purchases of energy-efficient lights.
Already, more than 100 businesses in Annapolis have installed energy-saving technologies and been awarded $800,000 in rebates from BGE, said Herbert Coss, the utility's vice president for marketing and gas operations.
In addition, five Annapolis hotels -- the Annapolis Waterfront Marriott, Loews Annapolis Hotel, the Maryland Inn, Robert Johnson House and Governor Calvert House -- have promised to install energy-efficient lighting.
"This is part of the process to see that the Chesapeake Bay continues to improve in quality," said Alderman Dean Johnson, a Ward 2 Independent.
Mr. Johnson was among the council members who led the city's application for state energy funds.
Pocomoke City was the first city in the state to participate in the energy showcase program.
That small Eastern Shore town last year saved 250,000 gallons of water, said Gerald L. Thorpe, head of the Maryland Energy Administration.
Mr. Thorpe said replacing one 100-watt light bulb can lead to a reduction of 75 percent in electricity use. "This is just one bulb. Can you imagine what the entire city of Annapolis can accomplish?" he asked.
The Maryland Aviation Administration spent $680,000 upgrading its lights and realized a savings of $196,000 a year, he said.