Belleville has been named one of six "Most Progressive Cities" by utility provider Ameren Illinois for the city and business sector's energy savings.
The city was officially recognized in a ceremony Monday at City Hall. Ameren presented Mayor Mark Eckert with two bright green signs indicating the accomplishment.
"The city is very proud of the efforts being made," Eckert said. "We have been very conscious in trying to become more efficient."
The honor comes from Ameren's Act On Energy program, which helps commercial and residential customers become more efficient energy users. City leaders and businesses in Alton, Urbana, Lincoln, Quincy and Galesburg also have been recognized for energy efficiency.
According to the utility company, Belleville business completed 143 Act On Energy projects and received more than $69,700 in incentive payments between June 1, 2012, and May 31, 2013. That is the equivalent of removing more than 1.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or removing approximately 172 cars from the road.
Belleville businesses are saving 1.2 million kilo-watt hours of electricity and 68 therms of natural gas a year. Eckert said the city has been working to update lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems with more energy-efficient units at city buildings, including the water treatment plant, which is currently being upgraded. He said the city has been working to make improvements for years that have helped the city become more efficient with taxpayers' dollars.
Paul Stock said his Belleville auto repair shop was one of the first to participate in the program. Beginning in 1999, Stock's Underhood Specialists at 321 Centreville Ave. installed T-5 florescent lighting. Stock said he continues to reap the benefits.
"We were saving close to $40 (a month)," Stock said. "That was then. I don't know what we're at now."
"What we found out was by increasing and going with more-efficient lighting, we actually didn't have to turn on as many lights."
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2526.