Recently we have been asked about the best ways to reduce our carbon emissions. Here’s one list of answers from Science. I bet you could do at least one of them, and I suspect you will be surprised by some of them.
If you are interested in sustainability and in strengthening community you are invited to become a local part of a rapidly growing national and international movement. The Buy Nothing project seeks to create neighborhood gift economies, supporting the environment and strengthening person–to–person connections in the process.
Buy Nothing participants use Facebook to share items, services, and time with their neighbors. For example, if you have some well–loved but no–longer–needed dishes, you might offer these up. If you need to borrow an inflatable mattress for a guest, you might ask to borrow one. If you would like an occasional canine companion, you might ask if there’s someone whose dog would like to be walked. If you have a snowblower and are willing to use it to dig out a neighbor, you could let the group know. Buy Nothing groups are “hyperlocal”, meaning that everyone you will interact with will live near you. In this way, Buy Nothing interactions become community–enhancers as well. People who have gotten to know each other through Buy Nothing groups have formed walking groups, clubs, and cancer support groups. We are bringing back real Neighborhoods.
There are now six Buy Nothing groups in the Rochester area, and they are getting attention. Check out the recent Democrat and Chronicle article. Stay tuned for a ColorBrightonGreen fall event to promote the Buy Nothing Program. Meanwhile, if you’d like to join a Buy Nothing group, see if your home is within the confines of one of the following existing groups or explore how you can create a new group:
- Cobbs Hill/Twelve Corners/Home Acres Buy Nothing Facebook Page
- Beechwood/Homestead Heights/Culver-Winton Buy Nothing Facebook Page
- Park Avenue Buy Nothing Facebook Page
- South Wedge/Swillburg/Highland Park Buy Nothing Facebook Page
- Pittsford Buy Nothing Facebook Page
- East Irondequoit Buy Nothing Facebook Page
- Corn Hill/Exchange/Plymouth Buy Nothing Facebook Page
- Fairport Buy Nothing Facebook Page
- Spencerport Buy Nothing Facebook Page
- If you don’t live in the areas described above, you can learn how to start your own group here.
The Spring 2017 Curb Your Car Week event took place the week of May 14-20, 2017. During that week 74 residents from the Rochester region registered their pledge to walk, bike, carpool, or ride the bus for at least a day as an alternative to driving their car.
70 registered participants, 23 reporting their results
- Total miles saved: 1,586
- Gallons Saved: 47.55 gallons (based on individual MPG)
- Pounds of CO2 saved: 951 (based on 20 lbs per gallon)
Miles saved per activity
- Biking: 250
- Carpooling: 468
- Not going somewhere you normally go: 399
- Combining trips: 292
- Bus: 8
- Walking: 73
- Telecommuting: 76
- Other: 20
- Not going somewhere you normally go: 296
- Carpool: 138
- Combining trips: 82
- Biking: 45
- Telecommuting: 24
- Walking: 10
- Bus: 8
Our clothes dryers are the third biggest energy gobblers in our homes (after the furnace and hot water heater). Hanging some or all of our wash on an indoor or outdoor line is good exercise. Every dryer load skipped saves as much energy (and emissions) as not driving 5 miles in a conventional car. If you need to use a clothes dryer, do it in the off-peak demand hours (Monday-Friday 9 PM to 7 AM, or on weekends).
Join SunCommon New York for a Sip n’ Sun at Zebb’s in Brighton. Enjoy a drink on us and learn about affordable solar in Rochester. Contact Mary for more information or to RSVP.
When: Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Where: Zebbs Deluxe Grill and Bar, 2890 S. Clinton Avenue, Brighton, NY
Solarize the Flower City 2016 will kick off with a launch event, where local and state leaders will come together to celebrate with ROCSPOT, partners, and the local community. Solarize the Flower City 2016 will be selecting designated solar installers using a thorough pre-qualification process. Residents and businesses in the City of Rochester and the Towns of Brighton and Irondequoit who sign up for solar installations by September 15, 2016, will be able to take advantage of group rates below market prices. The more customers who sign up, the lower the price will be for everyone. Solarize the Flower City 2016 is supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative as well as the City of Rochester, through the New York Power Authority (NYPA) Five Cities Energy Plan program. ColorBrightonGreen.org will be coordinating with ROCSPOT and the Town of Brighton to host information meetings in April. ColorBrightonGreen will be contacting people who have already indicated an interest in solar panels with details, and announcing the dates and places in our April e-news and on our website. Meanwhile, if you are not already on our list of people interested in solar, contact us via e-mail.
- When: Sunday, March 20, 2016, 2:00 to 3:30 PM
- Where: Rochester City Hall Atrium
- More info: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Brighton Central School District is proposing to redevelop the Brookside School Complex as a K-2 school. The redevelopment is contemplating a two-story section of the building that would house classrooms for either first or second grade on the second floor. Due to community input about the need to make this redevelopment a green building, the district is beginning to consider green building design elements for this project. More community input will be needed to make this priority a reality. ColorBrightonGreen has prepared a letter to the School District asking that the redevelopment include a green design to reduce the building’s carbon footprint and to keep school operation costs low. But the support of school district taxpayers is needed. Please consider attending the community input meeting or submitting your support of green building planning to the School District in writing. Our letter to the school district is available on our website.
- When: Monday, February 29, 2016 at 1:30 PM and 7:00 PM
- Where: Brighton School District Administrative Building Board Room, 2035 Monroe Avenue, Brighton
- More info: Brighton Central School District Website
PathStone serves as the Community Based Organization for NYSERDA’s Green Jobs Green NY Program in the Finger Lakes area. They offer free assistance in applying for these programs, advice on how to make your home more energy efficient, and technical knowledge to help individuals communicate with local contractors participating in these programs. PathStone is your “Energy Coach!” Here is a summary of the programs:
- Home Performance with Energy Star: Helps homeowners start saving energy with a free or reduced cost energy audit, low interest loans (3.49-3.99%), and a 10% rebate on eligible measures.
- Assisted Home Performance with Energy Star: Provides income eligible families with matching grants of up to $5,000, as well as a free energy audit and low interest loans.
- EmPower New York: Offers income-eligible families and individuals Free cost-effective electric reduction measures. Some homes may also be eligible for free heating reduction measures as well. EmPower NY assists families and individuals who fall below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI).
- NY-Sun (Solar Electric): Multifaceted approach aims to lower energy costs for all New Yorkers by increasing solar power capacity and the efficiency and reliability of the electric grid. Public-private partnerships help make installing solar technology more affordable for all New Yorkers while scaling up New York’s solar industry.
PathStone can also offer small business owners and local governments assistance in finding the right energy efficient program to suit their needs.
More info: To participate in these programs or for more information, contact: Scott Oliver, 400 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607. (585) 442-2030, ext. 204. Contact by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also see the Pathstone Website.
Imagine if you went to the grocery store and asked for a ‘dozen’ eggs and you were given 11. A little further down the aisle you reached for a ‘dozen’ dinner rolls and you came away with 13. Don’t forget the ‘dozen’ rolls of toilet paper you bought; it has a full 10 rolls in it. It turns out that the use of the word ‘dozen’ doesn’t mean the same from one object to another–it means “sort of 12”.
This example is exactly what we have been doing with lightbulbs for decades. The standard “60-Watt” light bulb isn’t the same as the next ‘standard’ 60-Watt light bulb. This hasn’t meant too much to the average person except when we’ve noticed that the new bulb “doesn’t seem as bright” as the 3 year old bulb that’s right next to it. That’s because the new bulb isn’t providing the same amount of lumens, but it is still using 60 Watts of electricity. It’s because the amount of light, or lumens, they give off has nothing to do with the amount of electricity, or watts, they use. In general, the average “60 Watt” light bulb should provide roughly 800-810 lumens. However the number of lumens listed on light bulb packages range from 620 to 825 lumens.
Now, jump forward to 2015 where everyone is encouraged to switch to CFL’s or LED’s to reduce their energy usage. Many light bulb packages say “equivalent to 60-Watt bulb”. That’s great, but which “60-Watt” bulb are they referring to–the one providing a dim 620 lumens, or the one providing a bright 825 lumens?
Be sure to check out the side of the box… and let the lumens light your way.
The purchase and use of bottled water poses many problems for our environment, and for your pocketbook. You can make a difference by not purchasing bottled water, or at the very least purchasing less bottled water. How to Reduce Your Water Footprint is a website of Wheels for Wishes. Take a look, change your habits, and make a difference!