Residents learned different methods to save money by becoming more environmentally friendly on Wednesday, November 16, 2011, during a “Green Town Hall” sponsored by Council Member Elizabeth Crowley at P.S. 49.
Representatives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) spoke about different rebates and incentives offered for using solar energy. According to NYSERDA, more than 57% of a residence’s energy use is wasted. Free energy audits are available for homeowners, and NYSERDA will detail different ways to gain better energy consumption. Further, NYSERDA, the State, and the federal government offer various tax incentives for taking the extra step and installing solar panels.
Community Environmental Center (CEC), a non-profit group aimed at improving energy consumption in low- and middle-income homes, gave a presentation about using Solar Hot Water systems. These solar panels don’t provide electricity but a means to heat water using thermal energy. This greatly reduces the amount of energy used by gas or oil boiler systems. According to CEC, heating water accounts for 18 percent of residential energy costs.
Local resident and President of the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association, Paul Kerzner, also showed how installing solar electric panels greatly reduced his home’s electricity costs. Although he noted that installing solar panels and energy efficient appliances generally cost more, over the long run, the energy savings make up for increased costs.
After the presentations, residents had the opportunity to discuss solar energy plans with solar panel installation companies. Quixotic Systems is NYSERDA certified for both solar energy and solar heating systems, and one of the first solar installers in the City. You Save Green performs energy audits and is NYSERDA certified for solar, wind, and geothermal installations.
Council Member Elizabeth Crowley said, “Local homeowners on Wednesday took the first step in learning about renewable energy, saving money on utilities and protecting the environment. With our country producing nearly 30 percent of the world’s pollution and only representing four percent of the world’s population, we must do our part to keep our planet clean. Installing solar panels is a great investment both for your wallet and the environment, but even small changes in your daily life, like driving less, and using reusable bags when shopping can make a difference.”