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.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.