October 20, 2008 By Elaine Rundle
Aside from providing residents with information about government departments, services and programs, Maui County, Hawaii, launched a new Web portal that will decrease the county's carbon footprint. The Web site is powered by renewable energy credits that are sold by an environmental organization.
"The Web site works in conjunction with our county's environmentally friendly strategies," said Mayor Charmaine Tavares in the press release. "We have been guaranteed that our Web site is powered by 100 percent renewable energy."
The site is hosted by company CivicPlus, which purchases renewable energy credits, also known as Carbon Offsets, from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. The foundation uses the money to build wind and solar power projects, therefore reducing the amount of nonrenewable energy used. According to the foundation's Web site, each credit represents enough renewable energy to offset a typical home for one month or counteract 1,500 miles' worth of emissions from a standard car.
Aside from offsetting the effects of burning fossil fuels, the site also helps Maui County work toward a paperless platform as more services are provided online.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.