Grassroots Environmental Education

52 Main Street

Port Washington, NY 11050

Tel: 516-883-0887

Email: HGIMT@grassrootsinfo.org

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How Green Is My Town is a Project of

Grassroots Environmental Education

Energy Reductions

A town's effort to reduce its energy footprint has two components. The first is to reduce the energy used by the town itself, in its buildings, vehicles, traffic signals and street lighting. The second is to support conservation efforts among citizens (see other pages of this site for ideas). Here we address energy consumption over which towns have direct control. 

 

This begins with an energy audit of all town operations to determine opportunities for improvement. Most utilities offer energy audit services at little or no cost. Once this baseline is established, the results can be used to set targets for reduction and timetables for implementation.

 

 

According to the U. S. Department of Energy, the average commercial building wastes 30% of its energy. Conventional street lighting can be reduced by 30-70% by upgrading to LEDs (utilizing bulbs in the 3000K range - see Lighting Code), and LED traffic signals can reduce energy use by up to 85%. Electric vehicles recharged from solar panels can reduce energy use to net zero.

In 2014, the Town of Belmont, MA created and published an extensive Energy Reduction Plan as part of the Massachusetts Green Communities Program. It provides an excellent template for any town or village to use in developing their own plan.

Oakville, Ontario, is on track to reduce its energy consumption by 15% by 2019 over its 2012 baseline. Check out their website featuring colorful graphics showing how individual buildings in the town use energy.

The Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has a very helpful site for towns and villages seeking to reduce their use of energy. The site includes a helpful sheet on How to Choose An Energy Assessment for Municipal Buildings in Massachusetts. 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has a web page that provides links and information to help local governments make their buildings, facilities and public services more energy efficient. It is part of the Climate Smart Communities Guide for Local Action.

Energize Connecticut helps individuals, organizations, businesses and municipalities save energy and money with rebates, financing and services for energy efficiency and clean energy improvements.

Resources

References

[1] Mccomas, K. A., et al. (2011). Community support for campus approaches to sustainable energy use: The role of “town–gown” relationships. Energy Policy, 39(5), 2310-2318.

[2] Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. (2018). About the Commercial Buildings Integration Program. https://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/about-commercial-buildings-integration-program.

[3] Winner, T., & Arnold, G. (2015). Street Lighting in New York State: Opportunities and Challenges ​ (Rep. No. 14-24). Albany, NY: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, 1-21.

[4] Birnie, D. P. (2009). Solar-to-vehicle (S2V) systems for powering commuters of the future. Journal of Power Sources, 186(2), 539-542.