Building a Sustainable Community Economy via Energy Efficiency, Awareness, and the Use of Alternative Technology and Ideas


The purpose of this Capstone research was to determine how this community consumes energy, how it can do so more effectively, and how new consumption patterns could stimulate other economic activity while maintaining and improving environmental conditions.

Dividing the community into workable sectors allowed me to dissect each with consideration to its specific and unique conditions. A combination of community data bank searches and national energy consumption figures allowed me to calculate a relatively accurate energy picture and thus an energy expenditure figure. In order to make recommendations for community change and development I looked to examples of programs actively operating in other communities around the country and world. These programs provided the information from which I could draw the conclusion that this community truly does stand to benefit from changes in energy use patterns.

Each year community residents businesses and schools purchase somewhere around ten million dollars in energy. From auto fuels to home heating oil to electricity, the energy expenditures make up a considerable percentage of consumer activity. Designing programs and systems to effectively fit the communities unique conditions will help to shift and increase consumer activity. By reducing expenditures for energy and re-injecting those dollars back into the economy a multiplier effect takes place.

While this research attempts only to scratch the surface and plant the seeds of change its practical applicability is important. In addition to economic savings it suggests there can be environmental and social benefits as well.


Agricultural and Resource Economics

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