A carbon-counting couple will be cruising eco-conscious, having been handed the keys to a green machine by Mayor Stephen Mandel yesterday.
The Zerofootprint Calculator was a carbon-reducing challenge posed to Edmontonians by the city one year ago, albeit criticized by a provincial taxation watchdog group.
The most enviro-conscious couple, Peter Chapman and Katie Barnett, were rewarded for their green lifestyle changes with a one-year lease to a Toyota Prius, a hybrid car.
“Hopefully this will wear off on older people about how important sustainability is, why we need to do it, why we need to densify this city and be more creative on how we build cities because of the environmental footprint we’re controlling,” Mandel said.
The calculator, and the $40,000 tag for its design and online implementation, were openly criticized by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation with the 2009 Teddy Awards, where it was dubbed “Calculator 2: Judgment Day.”
Spokesman Scott Hennig said the calculator replicates hundreds found online for free.
He added that financial documents reveal the entire campaign cost taxpayers over $300,000.
“There are lots of things cities can do under the radar that aren’t flashy but still green,” Hennig said. “But they don’t get public recognition for them. Ad campaigns are costly.”