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(Cherry Hill, N.J.) – Town Council on Monday night approved the creation of a two-year pilot program that will allow the Township to track the way municipal resources are used, and in turn, identify ways to cut costs and increase efficiencies.
The Township has partnered with Indiana-based Sustainability Dashboard Tools, Inc., to become the first municipality in the nation to use the web-based data management tool to track the way resources such as electricity, water, fuel and consumables like office supplies are used in Town Hall and other buildings.
The dashboard’s interactive nature will give Township staff the ability to determine exactly – in some cases, down to the square foot – how much it costs to heat, light and otherwise operate Township facilities, and how best to cut those expenses. Users will also be able to track the impact of improvements that have already been made.
In addition to identifying ways to reduce resource usage and related expenses, the Dashboard will allow the Township to compare the cost of office supplies and lighting systems with their “green” counterparts. That will allow the Township to determine when using green products makes the most sense both fiscally and environmentally.
“The Dashboard’s interactive display makes it easy for us to collect and analyze data across all our municipal facilities, and compare those facilities side-by-side so that we can maximize our potential savings,” said Mayor Chuck Cahn. “By understanding how our resources are being utilized, we can more effectively target our reduction efforts and maintain those results. Quite simply, this is a good business plan that will help protect our future while keeping my promise to run Cherry Hill efficiently.”
Similar programs can cost companies upwards of $150,000; by partnering with Sustainability Dashboard, the Township was able to secure the same service funded entirely by $10,000 in grant money from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Sustainable Cherry Hill, which helped connect Cherry Hill with Sustainability Dashboard, applauded the effort.
“The Dashboard will make the Township’s resource use visible, so real savings can be captured and sustained over time—this means fewer taxpayer dollars spent and better management of resources, such as energy, water and waste,” said Lori Braunstein, Sustainable Cherry Hill’s Founder and Chair. “Visually analyzing this data will provide a roadmap to help stay on track in the long term. It’s not just green, it’s also smart. ”
The hope is that Cherry Hill’s program will become a model for other municipalities nationwide.
“Sustainability isn’t just the ‘right thing to do’, but rather a smart and responsible approach to managing the operations of public facilities,” said Steve Ashkin, Founder and CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools Inc. “As such, we are excited to have Cherry Hill Township join us in this project to demonstrate that sustainability can be good for the environment and fiscally responsible. And it is our belief that the success of this project will become a source of pride for the residents of Cherry Hill and a valuable model that assists and inspires communities all across the country.”
Residents who have questions, comments or concerns can call the Mayor’s Office at (856) 488-7878, or e-mail the Mayor directly at MayorCahn@chtownship.com.