Energy scores for Annapolis Ceremony: The Maryland Department of Energy recognizes the city for converting several vehicles to alternative fuels and for using energy-efficient building lighting and computers.

October 02, 1998|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

It's an ad man's dream -- state officials honoring the state capital for its efforts to make the air cleaner and the skies bluer by changing the kind of fuel that runs the city garbage truck.

The Maryland Energy Department recognized Annapolis in a ceremony at City Dock yesterday for converting the garbage truck, two public works vehicles and a new trolley bus to alternative fuels and for using energy-efficient building lighting systems and computers.

It was part of a ceremony to launch Energy Efficiency Month in the state.

"The city of Annapolis has been very aggressive in promoting energy efficiency," said W. Dale Baxter, the Energy Department's assistant director. "They understand that not only does saving energy save taxpayer dollars, but it is also good for the environment because you're not producing the energy that causes pollution."

$150,000 award

The department awarded the city $150,000 to help pay for a future compressed natural gas (CNG) filling station site.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. donated a smaller CNG refueling appliance at the city transit facility for the new trolley.

Baxter said the stations will be especially helpful when others convert to alternative-fuel vehicles. The state government and the Naval Academy are expected to purchase 20 to 40 CNG vehicles in the next few years, Baxter said.

Gayle Powell, who drives an CNG-powered Ford Contour, agreed.

"People think of them as experimental vehicles, but they are being used today in everyday situations," said Powell, a Crofton resident who also is a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The natural gas option added $3,000 to the cost of her car, she said, but fuel costs are as low as 65 cents to 85 cents a gallon.

Other fuel alternatives, such as ethanol and biodiesel, also were displayed at City Dock.

Biodiesel, a blend of soybean oil and diesel fuel, has become popular among many boaters and car owners in the Annapolis area.

Also on display were an electric U.S. Postal Service truck and golf cart, and Jay Fogleman with a banana-colored electric-powered race car built by students at Long Reach and River Hill high schools in Howard County.

'Start thinking'

"It's very hard to get excited about something like energy efficiency because we're used to having energy on demand," said Fogleman, a teacher at Long Reach. "But someday we'll run out of fossil fuels, so we need to start thinking about it now."

Annapolis uses fluorescent tubes in municipal buildings that use less energy in light fixtures, and some business owners also use them. The city also uses energy-efficient computers and biodiesel to power some vehicles, including the garbage truck.

Annapolis has been designated one of the state's Energy Showcase Cities, which helps qualify the city's energy-saving projects for financial help from the Energy Department.

Other cities were Pocomoke City, Ocean City, Frederick and Cambridge.

Prince George's County and St. Clements Island in St. Mary's County also were recognized for projects to save energy.

"It's sort of old-tech, really, the idea of trying some different fuels to save energy," said Mayor Dean L. Johnson of Annapolis. "It's important. I, personally, like getting out on Chessie Bay to use wind-powered sails as often as I can."

Pub Date: 10/02/98

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