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Octubre: Mes de la Herencia Hispana y el Mes de Concientización sobre la Energía: Familia, Comunidad y Medioambiente

By | Tweet

Octubre: Mes de la Herencia Hispana y el Mes de
Concientización sobre la Energía:

Familia, Comunidad y Medioambiente

Paul Presendieu, Manager, Outreach
Valentina Gonzales, Associate-Marketing, Communications & Outreach
Sustainable Westchester, Inc.

Todos los años, los norteamericanos celebramos el Mes de la Herencia Hispana desde el 15 de setiembre al 15 de octubre, una celebración de cultura, tradiciones y contribuciones. Aquí en Westchester celebramos la rica historia y cultura de la comunidad latina y todo lo que ellas aportan a la estructura social del Condado.

Como el final del Mes de la Herencia Hispana coincide con el comienzo del Mes de la Concientización sobre la Energía, aprovechamos esta oportunidad para hablar de la importancia de la energía sustentable para el bienestar de nuestras familias, el medioambiente y las generaciones futuras.

Los latinoamericanos representan lo mejor de los valores de nuestro país: familia, comunidad, fe, el amor por la tierra y el medioambiente. Somos conscientes, sin embargo, del hecho que muchas de las comunidades latinas viven en áreas del Condado que tienen una carga mayor de lo común en lo que se refiere a los efectos dañinos de políticas medioambientales que se encuentran en vigencia en la actualidad y un porcentaje mayor en costos energéticos.

A medida que continuamos protegiendo y nutriendo a nuestras familias y les continuamos enseñando a nuestros niños, es necesario hablar y explorar formas de proteger al medioambiente y asegurarnos que todos los miembros de la comunidad pueden acceder a los beneficios de un futuro energético justo, sustentable y limpio. Debemos usar nuestros recursos naturales de forma eficaz e inteligente y continuar tomando el camino de las soluciones de energía limpia para el futuro.

Sustainable Westchester, un consorcio sin fines de lucro integrado por cuarenta y cuatro municipalidades del Condado de Westchester y el Condado mismo, ofrece una variedad de programas de energía limpia para beneficio de todos los integrantes de la comunidad.

Al ofrecer soluciones de energía responsables, viables y sensatas en lo que se refiere al medioambiente, estas iniciativas ayudan a crear comunidades sanas, resistentes y sustentables. Todos los días trabajamos para mejorar nuestros programas y así poder satisfacer mejor las necesidades de nuestros vecinos latinos, ofreciendo soluciones que proveen acceso seguro y aprobado a energía renovable, así como la oportunidad de ahorrar dinero en las cuentas de electricidad.

Los pequeños pasos tienen un gran impacto

Muchos de estos simples pasos relacionados con la energía se pueden tomar desde la comodidad de su propio hogar.

Westchester Power ofrece acceso a energía asequible, limpia y renovable por medio de un programa aprobado por su municipalidad. Las tarifas fijas y un cierto nivel de control de los costos proveen un seguro contra las posibles fluctuaciones de los mismos. El programa provee una forma aprobada y fácil para que los residentes y pequeños negocios de la municipalidad participen en opciones de suministro de energía renovable sin tener que transitar por el confuso mundo de las Compañías de Servicios de Energía (ESCO, por su sigla en inglés).

Los participantes también pueden acceder a mucho material educativo por medio de Sustainable Westchester, incluyendo “Como leer la factura” y más. Visite https://sustainablewestchester.org/wp/ Para ver si su municipalidad participa en el programa, aprender cómo inscribirse y leer el material
educativo sobre energía.

Community Solar permite que los usuarios de NYSEG y Con Ed – propietarios, inquilinos,
organizaciones sin fines de lucro, iglesias y muchos negocios – apoyen el uso de energía limpia y ecológica producida por una granja solar local al mismo tiempo que reciben el beneficio de ahorrar dinero en sus cuentas de electricidad. Al no tener costo de inscripción ni cancelación, el programa Community Solar de Sustainable Westchester hace que conservar el medioambiente sea fácil y asequible. Los participantes se registran con una granja solar cercana y los créditos de energía solar se reflejan en su cuenta mensual de electricidad con descuentos grupales de hasta un 10%. El programa apoya el acceso a los beneficios de la tecnología solar para residentes de todos los niveles socio-económicos y alienta el desarrollo regional ampliando así la capacidad de elaborar energía solar. Dé el paso, apoye a Community Solar y visite https://sustainablewestchester.org/solar/.

GridRewards es una aplicación creada para mejorar la eficacia de la red eléctrica y rastrear el uso de energía casi en tiempo real, lo que así le permite tener un mejor control de cuánta energía usa. Esta aplicación utiliza la instalación de medidores inteligentes en todo el Condado de Westchester, lo que provee a los usuarios la oportunidad de participar en programación para tener una mejor idea del consumo de energía en un ciclo mensual dado. Al final, los usuarios se vuelven más conscientes de lo que está ocurriendo en la red regional a la que pertenecen, aprenden a ahorrar energía y dinero y ganan premios en efectivo al reducir el consumo de energía cuando la red eléctrica está más cargada.

GridRewards apoya la acción colectiva para llegar a un futuro de energía limpia al alentar la participación en eventos de demanda y respuesta, reduciendo así el uso de energía cuando la red está en su punto máximo de carga. Este esfuerzo ayuda a reducir el uso de plantas de electricidad que se activan cuando las redes eléctricas tienen más demanda. Estas plantas usan las fuentes de combustible fósil más contaminantes, por lo general se encuentran ubicadas en comunidades de color de bajos ingresos y tienen un impacto devastador en la salud pública de los residentes que viven en las cercanías de las plantas. Los residentes pueden inscribirse en GridRewards ahora y enrolarse en los eventos de demanda y respuesta para el verano del 2022. Para obtener más información, visite https://sustainablewestchester.org/gridrewards/

El programa EnergySmart HOMES puede ayudarlo a detener el desperdicio de energía, eliminar el uso de combustibles fósil incrementar el valor de su casa y obtener ahorro adicional por medio de la eficacia de energía y actualizaciones limpias de los sistemas de calefacción y aire acondicionado. Se le pondrá en contacto con expertos en energía en el campo de eficacia de los sistemas de calefacción y aire acondicionado, quienes le ofrecerán equipos de última tecnología en lo que se refiere a energía limpia. Los expertos primero llevan a cabo una evaluación energética para diagnosticar su casa, y luego comienzan con soluciones de modernización que se amortizarán con ahorros y comodidad. ¡Aproveche estos programas e incentivos significativos que incluyen bombas de calor geotérmicas y alimentadas por aire! Llame a un contratista para fijar una cita para la evaluación o póngase en contacto con Sustainable Westchester para recibir ayuda. Visite https://sustainablewestchester.org/energysmarthomes/ o llame al (914) 242-4724, interno 2, para recibir asistencia en español.

Nuestra comunidad se une: Un futuro equitativo y sustentable

Como parte del Mes de la Herencia Hispana y el Mes de la Concientización sobre la Energía, hemos estado celebrado a los líderes latinos, tanto en los negocios como en el medioambiente, que sirven como modelos para las generaciones futuras. Por favor, lea nuestras publicaciones de este mes en los medios sociales Facebook e Instagram. Nos complace poder celebrar el trabajo que la comunidad hispana está llevando a cabo. Es un ejemplo que nos inspira a todos a seguir.

También los alentamos a participar. Siempre existe la oportunidad de cambio en lo que se refiere a la equidad ambiental, el cual proveerá un estándar de vida más alto y saludable para todos. La participación puede ser compartir historias familiares, cultivar una huerta comunitaria, u organizar una caminata con su familia para recoger basura, mirar un documental o compartir un libro. También hay cosas simples y eficaces que incrementan la conciencia sobre la energía y tienen el beneficio de ahorrar dinero, tal como apagar las luces, apagar el refrigerador o bajar el aire acondicionado, desenchufar aparatos, cargadores o electrodomésticos pequeños
cuando no se estén usando, reemplazar las bombillos de luz con bombillos LED de bajo consumo, reducir el consumo de agua o simplemente permitir que la Madre Naturaleza caliente o enfríe su casa al cerrar o abrir las persianas o seque la ropa tendiéndola al aire libre.

También alentamos a todos a ponerse en contacto con nosotros en Sustainable Westchester para aprender más sobre los problemas y las soluciones, para ver cómo usted y su familia pueden participar, o para responder sus preguntas sobre la energía.
Aunque estamos viviendo en tiempos inciertos, podemos dar pequeños pasos para proteger la salud, seguridad y resistencia de nuestra comunidad y el planeta. Todo acto aumenta el impacto. La acción colectiva de nuestras familias, amigos y comunidades pueden ser poderosos agentes de cambio no sólo para el presente, sino también para permitir que las generaciones futuras cumplan con sus propias necesidades energéticas.

October: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month & Energy Awareness Month: Family, Community & Environmental Action

By | Our Blog

October: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month & Energy
Awareness Month:

Family, Community & Environmental Action

To read in Spanish click here

Paul Presendieu, Manager, Outreach
Valentina Gonzales, Associate-Marketing, Communications & Outreach
Sustainable Westchester, Inc.

Every year, Americans observe Hispanic Heritage month from September 15 to October 15, a celebration of culture, traditions and contributions. Here in Westchester, we celebrate the rich history and culture of the Latino community and residents and all that they bring to the fabric of the County.

As the end of Hispanic Heritage month coincides with the start of October Energy Awareness Month- we are taking the opportunity to discuss the importance of sustainable energy for the well-being of our families, our environment, and future generations.

Latino Americans embody the best of American core values – family, community, faith, a love for the earth and environment. We are aware, however, that many in the Latino community may live in areas of the County that bear a greater than average burden in terms of the harmful effects of current environmental policies and a greater percentage share of energy costs.

As we look to protect and nurture our families and continue to teach our children, we need to discuss and explore ways to protect our environment and ensure that all community members are able to access the benefits of a just, sustainable and clean energy future.
We must use our natural resources efficiently and wisely, and continue to embrace clean energy solutions as the path forward.

Sustainable Westchester, a nonprofit consortium of forty-four Westchester County municipalities and the County itself, brings a variety of clean energy programs to benefit everyone in the community.

These initiatives help to create healthy, resilient and sustainable communities by offering socially responsible, environmentally sound, and viable energy solutions for everyone. We work each day to enhance our programs to better serve the needs of our Latino neighbors, bringing solutions that provide vetted, safe access to renewable energy as well as opportunities to save money on electricity bills.

Simple Energy Actions Make a Big Impact

Many of these simple energy actions can be taken from the comfort of your own home.

Westchester Power offers access to affordable clean, renewable power through a program vetted by your municipality. The fixed-rates and a level of cost control, providing insurance against potential rate fluctuations. The program provides a vetted and easy way for municipal residents and small businesses to participate in renewable energy supply options without having to navigate the confusing world of Energy Service Companies (ESCOs).

Participants also have access to many education materials through Sustainable Westchester, including “How to read your bill” & more. Visit https://sustainablewestchester.org/wp/ to see if your municipality is a participant in the program, learn how to opt-in and take a look at some of the energy education materials.

Community Solar allows NYSEG and Con Ed utility customers – homeowners, renters, nonprofits, houses of worship, and many businesses – to support local, clean energy produced by a community solar farm, while benefiting from savings on their electricity bills. With no cost to join or cancel, Sustainable Westchester’s Community Solar makes going green easy and accessible. Participants subscribe to a nearby solar farm, the generated solar credits are reflected on their monthly utility bill and these provide savings of up 10%. The program supports access to the benefits of solar technology among residents of all socioeconomic levels and encourages regional development furthering build solar power capacity. Take action and support Community Solar by visiting https://sustainablewestchester.org/solar/.

GridRewards is an app created to improve grid efficiency and track energy usage in close to realtime, thus allowing you to better control your energy use. This app utilizes Con Edison’s installation of smart meters throughout Westchester County, providing account holders with an opportunity to participate in programming to have more oversight over their energy usage within monthly cycles. Ultimately, account owners become aware of what is occurring on their regional grid, learn how to save energy and money, as well as earn cash rewards by reducing electricity usage when the electric grid is most stressed.

GridRewards supports collective action for a clean energy future by encouraging participation in demand response events, reducing energy use when the grid is on peak load. This effort helps to reduce reliance on peaker power plants that are fired up during times when energy grids are in high or peak demand. These peaker plants use the dirtiest fossil-fuel sources, are generally located in lowincome communities of color, and have devastating impacts on the public health of residents who live within proximity of the plants. Residents can sign-up for GridRewards now and be enrolled in the Summer 2022 demand response events; visit https://sustainablewestchester.org/gridrewards/ to learn more.

EnergySmart HOMES can help you put a stop to energy waste, eliminate fossil fuel usage, increase the value of your home and harness additional savings with energy efficiency and clean heating and cooling upgrades. You will be connected with local energy experts in the field of heating and cooling efficiency who offer the latest clean energy technologies. Experts will first begin with a home energy assessment to diagnose your home, and then get started on retrofitting solutions that will pay off with savings and comfort. Take advantage of significant programs and incentives for air source and geothermal heat pumps! Call a contractor to schedule your assessment or reach out to Sustainable Westchester for assistance. Visit https://sustainablewestchester.org/energysmarthomes/ or call (914) 242-4724 x2 for assistance in Spanish.

Our Community Coming Together: An Equitable
and Sustainable Future

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month and Energy Awareness Month, we have been celebrating Latinx leaders, both in business and the environment, who serve as role models for future generations. Please look for our social media postings on Facebook and Instagram this month. We are pleased to be able to celebrate the work that the Hispanic community is doing; it is an inspiring example for all to follow.

We encourage you all to get involved, too. There is always the opportunity for change in environmental equity that provides a higher and healthier standard of living for all. This could take the form of sharing family stories together, starting a community garden or organizing a family litter-pickup hike, watching a documentary or sharing a book. There are also simple and effective actions that increase energy awareness and have cost-saving benefits such as turning off lights, turning the refrigerator or air conditioning down, unplugging devices, chargers or small appliances when not in use, replacing light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs, reducing water consumption or using Mother Nature by opening and closing blinds to warm and cool your home or dry clothes.

We also encourage everyone to reach out to us at Sustainable Westchester to learn more about the issues and solutions, to see how you and your family can get involved or have your energy questions answered. Although we are living through uncertain times, we can take small steps toward protecting the health, safety, and resiliency of our community and the planet. Every action adds impact. The collective action of our families, our friends and our communities can be powerful agents of change not only for the present, but also to allow future generations to meet their own energy needs.

Westchester Neighbors Get EnergySmart by Electrifying with heat pumps!

By | Our Blog

Westchester Neighbors Get EnergySmart by Electrifying with heat pumps!

Lily Carey, EnergySmart HOMES Associate

Though Westchester has long been a very environmentally-minded community, many homeowners are still unsure of how to make their home more eco-friendly. Fortunately, clean heating and cooling options are becoming more widespread and affordable. Thanks to new incentives from power companies and the government, homeowners can upgrade their homes to air-source or geothermal heating systems at a discounted price, all while reducing their carbon footprint.

Hundreds of homes across Westchester have chosen to go green over the past several years, and there has never been a better time to do so. Pelham residents Mike Beilstein and Amy Kwan feel lucky to have upgraded the heating and cooling systems in their historic home just before the pandemic hit.

“We’ve worked from home for the last 15 months, and we upgraded to our system at a really lucky time, because I don’t know if I would’ve been able to survive without it,” says Mike.

When they first moved in, Mike and Amy’s home used an oil heating system and had no insulation. When they heard about ConEd’s new incentives for geothermal energy, Mike and Amy scheduled a home energy assessment, in which local contractors would come to run tests on their home to see how they could benefit from energy upgrades.

The family was surprised to discover that ConEd’s incentives could help them pay for a new geothermal heating and cooling system, entirely powered by clean energy. Over the next few months, local contractors helped Mike and Amy replace their wasteful oil heating unit with a new geothermal system, which uses underground piping to heat and cool the house.

The results? Mike and Amy’s home is not only more comfortable than ever, but their heating bills have gone down significantly. “If we had to do it all over again, we would definitely make the same decision,” says Amy.

For those seeking a different option, air-source heat pumps are another clean option to heat and cool the home. Tom Constabile of New Rochelle recently replaced his home heating system with several ductless air-source heat pumps that attach onto the side of the house and provide climate control for individual rooms. These air-source heat pumps can be a great option for homes without existing ductwork.

“With mini splits, you’re controlling the climate in each room… it allows you to both get comfort, but also be thoughtful about your expenses and the environment,” says Tom
Padma Sridhar, a Briarcliff resident who also recently installed an air-source heat pump, has noticed how convenient it is to control the heat pump with a remote.

“The remote has a mode button which allows you to switch from heating to cooling…it’s very simple, and the best part is that it’s environmentally friendly.”

These are just a few families out of hundreds in Westchester who have installed new heating and cooling systems in their homes or have upgraded their insulation. These eco-friendly systems use far less energy to heat and cool the home. Homeowners can save thousands on their heating bills – not to mention that these clean energy options can reduce your home’s carbon emissions.

Going green is easier and more affordable than ever, and every home can make a difference. Switching over to air-source or geothermal heating systems is not only more efficient and cost-effective in the long term, but also contributes greatly in reducing destructive greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, carbon emission rates have skyrocketed to almost 410 parts per million in the last 2 years; a rate that is 100 times faster than any natural increases we’ve seen in the past. But by having our communities join together, we are taking great steps in reducing our carbon emissions and creating a better world for generations to come. Interested parties can contact Sustainable Westchester (email/phone) to get started.

The Power of the Sun for Everyone through Community Solar!

By | Our Blog

The Power of the Sun for Everyone
through Community Solar!

Leo Wiegman, Director of Solar Programs,
Sustainable Westchester

What if everyone could have access
to renewable solar energy without installing solar?

Powering our lives through renewable solar energy has become more accessible and affordable than ever before.

In fact, the number of solar installations on homes and businesses is growing rapidly, and by the end of 2021, more than 8,300 homes and businesses in Westchester County will have installed solar systems, chiefly on roofs.
Just over 330,000 households call Westchester County home. Even if rooftop solar on homes in Westchester increased tenfold to 83,000 solar systems, that still leaves over three quarters of our households without direct access to the benefits of solar energy.

Between 2014 and 2018, twenty-two municipalities hosted Sustainable Westchester’s Solarize Westchester campaigns. Over 600 homeowners were able to install solar systems through this Solarize effort, which has been a great success.

However, during these Solarize campaigns, we found that almost 8 out of every 10 homeowners who inquired about solar on their homes were not able to proceed.

A household may not be able to install its own solar panels for many good reasons: The home may have too much shade from trees; The roof’s orientation may not be sufficiently south-facing; The roof size may not be adequately rectangular or large enough; The household may be a condo, co-op or rental unit without access to the roof; Or the household may not wish to borrow needed funds.
But did you know that these same homeowners can still reap the benefits of energy-efficient solar power? That’s where Community Solar comes in!

What is Community Solar?

In a nutshell, Community Solar is a statewide program that allows households to subscribe to their allocated share of a larger solar project (a.k.a. “solar farm”) located elsewhere within their utility’s service territory. Each subscriber earns solar credits each month that saves them money and supports renewable energy efforts.

The solar farm could be on the roof of a large warehouse or office building. It could be on canopies in a large parking lot of a nonprofit. It could be mounted on the ground at an old landfill. In fact, in Westchester County today, we already have these three examples of community solar projects from Yonkers to Ossining and Mount Kisco.

In each case, the site owner-such as a commercial property owner, nonprofit organization, or local government-enters into a lease agreement for that space with a solar project developer. The developer agrees to pay the site owner a lease amount to develop, install and maintain the solar farm at the developer’s expense. After the solar farm gets permission to operate from the local utility, the energy production is divided up among all the participating households or small businesses.

Who benefits?

First, the utility benefits from avoiding the production of that energy itself and the site owner is now earning a lease payment for a roof or other area that was not earning revenue before. Second, the solar developer is getting subscribers who want to benefit from solar and the subscriber benefits from a monthly savings on each bill from the solar credits that their share of the farm has earned. In the end, all parties receive some form of benefit from the development of Community Solar.

Access and equity for all!

Community Solar opens up access to the benefits of solar energy to every household that pays an electric bill. Customers who enroll in Community Solar will see monthly savings for twenty years or longer. With no cost to join or cancel and no solar installation on the subscriber’s property, Community Solar removes the barriers for households who rent or live in multi-family buildings.

How do solar credits work?

New York has put in place strong new policies to decarbonize the energy sector. In fact, New York has mandated that each bill for customers participating in a Community Solar project must produce a savings of at least five percent for the net credits (a.k.a. “solar credits). Some Community Solar projects have been able to offer up to ten percent savings for the solar credits.

Let’s follow the dollars! On a typical monthly electric bill, you get a bill from the utility and pay it. You may be using an energy supply company for the supply of electricity. If so, that supply amount is shown on the bill and added onto the utility’s delivery charges for a total amount.

When you subscribe to Community Solar, the solar farm reports to the utility how many kilowatt-hours of electricity your share produced that month. The utility multiplies that energy amount by each month’s energy rate, which yields a dollar value for those solar kilowatt-hours (that it received from the solar farm grid injection).

Bottom line, your subscription produces a savings on your monthly energy bills for twenty years or longer. And, your subscription to a Community Solar project can be cancelled at any time, without a fee, and costs nothing to join.

New York has also mandated that every utility must do the billing for community solar projects just as they have been doing for energy service companies for many years. Once our local utilities implement this consolidated (or “net credit billing”) in 2021, your solar farm credits and savings will show up on the same monthly electric bill you always get. And you pay for it however you currently pay your electric bill.

May 4th, 7:30-8:30 pm on Zoom Pelham Library Presents: EnergySmart Homes Virtual House Tour

By | Events pelham

The Town of Pelham Public Library Presents: EnergySmart Homes Pelham, Virtual House Tour
May 4th, 7:30-8:30 pm on Zoom

Virtually tour three local homes benefiting from clean energy upgrades and see how your neighbors are saving money with air source heat pumps, geothermal systems and energy efficiency

Not ready for heat pumps? No room for solar panels? Live in an apartment, coop or condo? Find out how to participate in Sustainable Westchester’s Community Solar to save 10% on your utility bill, and sign up for Grid Rewards to get cash back from Con Edison this summer.

Join us at the next EnergySmart Pelham webinar, hosted by the Town of Pelham Public Library, and sponsored by the Village and Town of Pelham, VoP’s Sustainability Advisory Board and Climate Smart Communities Task Force, Environmental Coalition of the Pelhams (EcoPel), and Sustainable Westchester. Help us make our community cleaner and greener! Save on utility bills and help the environment at the same time!

Join the webinar on Tuesday, May 4th at 7:30 pm!

Hosted by the Town of Pelham Public Library. Register at SustainableWestchester.org/Webinar or call (914) 242-4725 ext. 122

New Rochelle Earth Day Virtual Community Forum Thursday April 22nd from 7:30 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.

By | events new rochelle

Join U.S. House Representative Jamaal Bowman (invited), Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Mayor Noam Bramson, District 5 Council Member Sara Kaye, and Community Leaders and learn about:

Sustainable Cafeterias proposal for the City School District of New Rochelle to end single use plastics with a pilot project that will use refillable and reusable systems to reduce plastic pollution. Learn how you can help our schools go green.

EnergySmart Homes helps residents learn about cleaner ways to heat and cool their homes, access vetted energy efficiency experts and simplified financing. Learn how to apply for rebates and subsidies that make these projects affordable.

Community Solar, a program of Sustainable Westchester, helps residents save 10% on their monthly utility bills while supporting the growth of local renewable energy, without adding any panels to your own home.

GridRewards is a Demand Response program where Con Edison will pay you to reduce electricity at peak demand times so they can avoid running old, inefficient power plants. Learn how to get paid to help the environment. Deadline to sign up and participate this summer is April 30, 2021.

Sustainable Landscapes are a way to save money and save the Earth. Learn how to turn your lawn into a sustainable landscape with native plants, pollinator gardens, no leaf blowers, Love Em’ and Leave Em’, Healthy Yards, composting barrels, and rain barrels.
And LOTS more information on how you can SAVE MONEY and SAVE THE PLANET by going green!

Here are TWO ways to get involved:
SIGN UP for the forum and share your environmental concerns.
VOLUNTEER for clean-ups and gardening at city and county parks and community gardens.

Organized by the New Rochelle Energy Conservation Advisory Committee and the New Rochelle Ecology & Natural Resources Advisory Committee in partnership with the City of New Rochelle and Sustainable Westchester. Contact earthdaynewrochelle@enrac.org for more information.