The city of Dearborn flipped a figurative and literal switch on its Adopt-A-Watt program Monday afternoon, culminating a year-long effort to add one more energy-saving aspect to the city.
The Adopt-A-Watt program, a public-private partnership conceived by Royal Oak businessman Thomas Wither, is a partnership that allows businesses or organizations to sponsor energy-efficient efforts in a particular city–such as the lights at Dearborn's parking structures. The goal of the program is to save energy and dollars for the community.
In Dearborn, that has resulted in energy efficient light fixtures in the West Village parking structures, as well as signage that displays sponsors of the lights.
Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly said that the effort marks the city's continued move toward more energy efficient and environmentally friendly measures, thus saving money and increasing the city's sustainability.
"The goal was to begin to retrofit other public entities," O'Reilly said. "We’ve done parking lots. We’ve done traffic signals. We’ve done some street lights. We’re really trying to figure out how we can lessen our carbon footprint and get some good long term investment that’s going to pay off over time."
Other sustainability projects have included the switching of traffic and some street lights to LED lights, as well as including 10 electric vehicle charging stations in the city's east Dearborn Town Center parking garage.
Sponsors for the West Village structure lights include , Doubletree Dearborn, , DTE Energy, the /Dearborn Sustainability Coalition, and several more.
O'Reilly also demonstrated electric vehicle recharging with a Ford Transit Connect BEV at the east structure's first charging station.
Sustainability Coordinator Dave Norwood explained that adding electric charging stations has long been a goal for the city, but that funding for the installation was not readily available. The station used in the demonstration is sponsored by Eaton EVSE.
"What we’ve learned is you don’t need as many charging stations," Norwood said, adding that the current east end stations are getting used "a little bit."
But eventually, the city hopes to begin transitioning city vehicles to electric or alternative options. It's endeavors such as these that are celebrated by Dearborn's congressmen and women.
"Today’s ceremony commemorates the city’s commitment to promoting sustainability as a means to make Dearborn a more wonderful place to live, work and play," said Gail Govaere, reading a statement from Sen. Carl Levin. "We all play a significant role in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and making alternative energy a common occurrence in our daily lives is one of the many ways to do it."