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By Linda Freilich
This summer I took the bold initiative and stepped out of my comfortable shell to attend the Cool Cities Training at Nassau Community College. Presentations from Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy for Long Island, and Beth Fiteni from Neighborhood Network gave us the ammunition we needed to approach Town Supervisors and County Executives.
In July 2006, just days after training, Sierra volunteers met with Babylon Town Board Supervisor Steve Bellone’s office. On August 15th the Town Board passed the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement and Supervisor Bellone proudly signed on. On September 28 an impressive news event was held on the town hall steps with Sierra volunteers. He discussed household solutions to reduce CO2 emissions, and outlined how his administration will conduct energy audits and track air emissions for the Town. The town will also help businesses and homes upgrade in order to save money.
Babylon currently has 21 hybrid vehicles, purchases 10% of its energy from wind, has a fuel cell program, partners with U.S. Green Building Council, and is building a zero energy home for public viewing. The Town of Babylon is the first to pass a bill requiring homes to be built to Energy Star standards. Energy Star homes use 30% less energy. The Town of Babylon’s 12/12 campaign plans for 12% fewer emissions by 2012!
Other Long Island Sierra Club Cool Cities teams have approached Suffolk County and Brookhaven. Suffolk County is poised to sign on, with Steve Levy likely to have joined by the time you read this, and legislators are interested in sponsoring a resolution. Brookhaven Councilman Steve Fiore- Rosenfeld sponsored a resolution that passed in October endorsing the goals of Cool Cities, and Brookhaven Supervisor Brian Foley is expected to sign on soon. Brookhaven is working on making Town Hall an example in energy and heating efficiency, and is looking into the feasibility of turning the Town’s vehicle fleet hybrid as older vehicles are phased out.
The United States is 4% of world’s population and uses 25% of the world’s energy. There is 30% more carbon in our atmosphere than 200 years ago. Suffolk County residents and employees alike emit 25 tons of CO2 per person per year. Suffolk’s three million people are 1% of the United State’s population, but we produce 4% of the United States’ greenhouse emissions because we are highly dependent on fossil fuels. http://www.iclei.org/
Towns can purchase hybrid vehicles, build more efficiently, retrofit existing buildings, replace old lighting with energy efficient street lighting, such as LED (light emitting diodes).
- Private home owners and businesses can replace their current light bulbs with fluorescent and use 75% less energy than regular bulbs.
- Replace one 60-watt with a 13-watt CFL, you prevent 662 pounds of CO2
- Replace one 75-watt with a 20-watt CFL, you prevent 762 pounds of CO2
- Replace one 100-watt with a 25-watt CFL, you prevent 1,050 pounds of CO2