Solar panels and windmills are the first thing people think of when the subject of sustainable energy comes up. Of course Sustainable Westchester is working on promotion of renewable energy, supporting Solarize Westchester and organizing a Municipal solar buyers consortium being prime examples. But our energy future is dependent on the “playing field” as well, and Sustainable Westchester is taking a leading role in creating the infrastructure and innovative policy initiatives for build out of new market structures through “Community Choice Aggregation”, and setting free entrepreneurial energies with the implementation of microgrids. And of course the best BTU or KWH is the one never consumed, so EnergizeNY’s home performance program remains the first stop on the road to a sustainable energy future for Westchester County.
The Materials Management is where SW works on the challenges of “stuff” To paraphrase the regional plan, SW seeks to help Westchester municipalities use less material, reduce toxic waste and exposure to hazardous substances and recover and reuse or recycle as much of the material consumed as possible. This is another committee which hits the ground running, with legacy programs such as Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em, exciting new initiatives to mitigate the plastic bag scourge, and active local teams in many municipalities.
Transportation and Land Use account for a large part of our regional footprint. Sustainable Westchester follows the thought process that guided the creation of the Regional Sustainability Plan in grouping these two items together, because many of the matters we aim to tackle find them mutually dependent. SW’s predecessor organizations, NWEAC and SWEAC, and its member munipalities have made concrete progress in the area of Bike and Pedestrian improvements (with partners such as recently merged Bike Walk Alliance of Putnam & Westchester and TriState Transportation Campaign) and are looking to have an impact on mass transit and the planning components which affect all of this.