By Marlaina Hunter
Photo: Courtesy of Adam Deen
Have you heard about the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) that was signed by Governor Cuomo earlier this year? It’s a big win for our planet. Boiled down, the CLCPA has set out to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase renewable energy production and improve energy efficiency throughout the state. In more technical terms, the goal is to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050 and net zero emissions in all sectors of the economy.
To make this happen, we need to work together and take action. One small action repeated thousands of times in households across the state can make a huge impact.
Here are a few things that you (and your friends, family and neighbors) can do to improve the efficiency of your home and do your part to reduce greenhouse gases, all while saving money!
1. Replace your light bulbs. This is one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to take action. Energy-efficient LED bulbs use 75 percent less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs.
2. Mind your thermostat. In winter months, putting on an extra sweatshirt and lowering the temperature on your thermostat by a couple of degrees can go a long way.
The average home keeps their thermostat at 70 degrees, so adjusting the dial to around 62 degrees while you’re sleeping, or out of the house, makes a big difference. Worried about forgetting to adjust the temperature every day? Install a programmable thermostat and you won’t even have to think about it!
3. Update or replace your windows. Energy.gov reports that heat loss through windows is responsible for 25 to 30 percent of residential heating energy use. Even if your windows are still in good working condition, consider weather stripping or caulking to ensure that air doesn’t sneak through the cracks. You can also hang inexpensive, energy-efficient window treatments, such as insulating cellular shades or thermal curtains.
4. Use clean energy. Solar energy is emissions-free and is now a practical option for everyone—even for those who rent or have homes surrounded by trees. In recent years, the technology has improved dramatically. It used to be that solar could only be installed on southern-facing roofs, but now panels can sit on eastern- or western-facing roofs too.
Additionally, New York has introduced Community Solar Arrays (CSAs) throughout the state. CSAs are an offsite solar option for anyone with an electric bill. If you’re a renter, have a shaded yard or just don’t want to have solar on your property, a CSA is for you. Being a part of a CSA is the best way to have emissions-free electricity.
There are several throughout the Hudson Valley. For instance, at the Citizens Foundation in Sugar Loaf, SunCommon hosts a CSA that powers 60 local homes, and you could be one of them! If you would like to learn more, visit www.suncommon.com/community-solar-array or call 866.452.7652.
These are just a few of the changes we can make in our daily lives, and together, we can meet the goals of the CLCPA. The more energy efficient we become, and the more renewable energy we use, the less we will have to rely on fossil fuels. █