Ferndale looks to go green with 'Adopt-a-Watt'

By Megan Pennefather

A green energy funding program that takes a cue from the national Adopt-a-Highway model caught the ear of Ferndale city officials last week.

"This council is always looking at ways to be greener," said Mayor Craig Covey, after Royal Oak resident Tom Wither presented his Adopt-a-Watt initiative to council members at the regular meeting.

The council agreed to consider a resolution at a future meeting supporting the program, which would provide private sponsorship of solar-lighting devices that would be used by municipalities and other public entities. In exchange, a sponsor gets naming rights and/or public acknowledgment.
The point is to encourage private sponsorship through public cooperation, said Wither. "We're going to take a business-based approach to this."
Municipalities would permit use of public space for the project and help Adopt-a-Watt representatives scout highly visible locations that may be attractive to possible donors. As with Adopt-a-Highway, said Wither, there is no public money used to fund these energy-saving devices.

The point is to encourage widespread use of alternative energy sources, said Wither, adding he started the program at airports across the country, with donors investing money in the project through an online bidding process at http://www.adoptawatt.com/.

"That's what our mission is, is to make things better for the next generation," he said.
In July, the Royal Oak City Commission approved allowing private donors to sponsor energy-saving devices on city buildings and parks.

The initiative is getting support from members of the city's Environmental Impact Commission, according to Timothy Risk, a member of the commission. "This is the kind of environmental initiative the commission would like to see," he said.

For more information on the Adopt-a-Watt Program, visit http://www.adoptawatt.com/.


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