Touch Screens Keep You Posted at City Hall

Farmington Hills residents can check up on their investment every day.

A few weeks ago, I noticed an interesting addition to the wall outside council chambers at : a touch-screen monitor.

Now, I love technology, maybe a little too much. I have no idea how I'll get through "Lean Screen Week," an initiative designed to get people to reduce their use of television, computers, video games and the like. Keep an eye on our site April 18-24, and you'll see how I do.

My affinity for all things electronic led me to ask more about the screen and, more importantly, what purpose it served. I asked City Manager Steve Brock, who directed me to management assistant Nate Geinzer, who knows the newly remodeled "green" building inside and out.

Geinzer said the screen is funded through an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, as a "public education piece."

"It's essentially a building dashboard," he said. "It's kind of a central point (of information) for what we have in the building."

Right now, visitors can see real-time measurements of how much energy the building produces through solar panels. "It'll convert that to easily relatable things ... like how many loads of laundry you can dry," Geinzer said.

Residents will be able to learn more about all the building's green features, which seems only fair, since they're the ones who sank $8 million into the remodeling project. Not all the information is online yet, Geinzer said, and it's too early to tell how the new building's energy use compares to that of the old building.

Still, he said, "It's a point where people can see what their investment is doing. Once we have enough data, hopefully we'll be able to show a good story. ... Stay tuned."

But there's another reason officials hope you'll stop by Hills City Hall and take a look.

"People can see the types of things we're doing and see how that can relate to what they can do in their home or business," Geinzer said.

So in addition to being a fun and interactive point of information, the touch screen is kind of a "green" inspiration.

How cool is that?


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