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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.

Community Energy Programs: collective power

By | Our Blog

Community Energy Programs:
collective power

Dan Welsh, Director Westchester Power Program
Jasmine Graham, Manager Westchester Power Program

Unless you are living off-grid and out in the wild (in which case it’s doubtful that you are reading this), you are probably consuming electricity. Electricity connects us all, but for many of us, it’s one of those everyday things that in the background
until it’s time to pay the bill.

However, with Sustainable Westchester’s Westchester Power program, communities participating in our program have decided to be purposeful, rather than passive, about their energy supply. As the pilot program for New York State, we with our participating member municipalities have provided emissions-free electricity to more than one third of Westchester County. This collective approach adds the missing democratic element to this huge piece of our economy and opens up a world of possibilities. By coming together like this, we are leading discussions with state agencies, utility and technology firms to provide savings, program enhancements and environmental benefits to our communities.

One major obstacle environmental programs have had to face are the same hidden biases still predominant in many elements of our social infrastructure. Communities of color, and those living paycheck to paycheck, have been left out in both program design and outreach. When there were benefits to be had, there were often obstacles that made these harder to access. Resources and attention tended to go to already well-resourced communities which exacerbated the experience gap. And perhaps there was also an implicit assumption that these same communities did not seek to be a part of the solution, but we know this is not true.

Suburbanization, redlining, disinvestment, and segregation have allowed wealthier communities to export their environmental problems to low-income areas and communities of color, and we at Sustainable Westchester recognize this. There is a moral imperative to address the environmental and structural racism that created these inequalities. We have built an amazing platform for clean energy, but we must now make sure that our programming is effectively inclusive by bringing opportunities to those who have been most marginalized and left out by the clean energy transition thus far.

The full integration of Community Solar into the Westchester Power program will offer a valuable opportunity to channel available bill discounts to low-income individuals. The program is expected to be in place by the second half of this year and will consult with community groups throughout the process to understand how to effectively share information and deploy this resource to maximize local benefit.

In the longer term, it is our goal to create program structures that give people a stake in newly created renewable energy generation assets. After all, it’s our power bills that ultimately pay for these facilities. That’s why we believe that as a large purchaser we should have the ability to change the rules a little.

The wealthy shouldn’t be the only ones capitalizing from this. Consumers of all income levels should be allowed to build equity in their community, or at least, gain a long-term value of some form.

With emissions-free electricity provided by the Westchester Power community energy program, as energy consumers, municipalities and their residents are helping nourish a clean energy economy. They are sending a message to friends, neighbors, and to other municipalities around New York State who are contemplating following suit that clean, emissions-free electricity is attainable but if we seek to achieve sustainability, we must first come together for a more just and equitable economy. It is only then that can we provide clean-energy solutions to all communities and, ultimately, a message that everyone can be proud of.

What will this structure look like, you ask? Well, frankly, we’re not entirely sure. Developing a well-balanced system is not a simple task, but the good news is that our size and visibility means that we can talk to leading developers and environmentalists who may have some answers. And we want to hear from you too! What do you think such an initiative would look like? We plan to organize brainstorming sessions in the community to get your ideas and opinions.

EV’s Deliver on Performance & Savings!
Driving Toward A Clean Energy Future.

By | Our Blog

EV’s Deliver on Performance & Savings!
Driving Toward A Clean Energy Future.

Seth Leitman, Program Director, Clean Transportation Project,
Sustainable Westchester

In the long run, operating an EV is cheaper than a traditional gas guzzler, and there’s the added bonus of reducing your carbon footprint. That being said, there are some costs you’ll need to consider, such as the increase on your electricity bill, the cost of installing the EVSE and the cost to upgrade your circuit breaker.

Here some tips to cut costs and drive for free:

1. According to NYSERDA: Utilities in New York State are promoting the use of electric cars by offering discounts, charging stations and reduced electric rates for charging at off-peak times all in the name of friendly energy. To learn more about this, please visit NYSERDA’s website through this link.

2. When a person owns a home, they look to save on all appliances. Consider your EV an appliance too, so here are ways to save energy from our new and noteworthy Energy Star homes program. Looking to lower your electricity bill? Switch incandescent light bulbs to LEDs and turn off lights and electronics when they’re not in use. Simple green actions at home can reduce your electricity bill by as much as $50 per month. That’s how you begin to see the very real value in purchasing an EV.

In the US, the average cost of electricity is 12 cents per kWh. This means that on average you’ll pay hundreds of dollars per year to charge your vehicle. Compare this to thousands of dollars, which is the average annual cost of gas. You’ll also avoid routine oil changes and reduce your overall maintenance costs. As an added bonus, you can use your own solar or community solar power to lower your energy costs even more!

3. Installing the correct circuit breaker is a necessary step to ensure the operation of your EV Charger. According to PluginCars.com, a compelling authority on all things EVs, the average cost of comparable and durable EVSE is between $600 and $700, and will be a one-time purchase. Keep in mind that you will have to consider whether you’ll need professional installation, which will be a standard per hour rate in addition to the breaker box. But all in all, if your current circuit breaker is already rated for at least 40 amps, you can leave it be. If not, you’ll need to upgrade.

Types of Residential EVSE

Basically, there are three types of electric vehicle chargers, level one, level two, and DC fast charging. Level one charging is your standard 120-volt household outlet. You can charge your EV in a standard household outlet, but why would you want to? This method is slow that it will only allow your vehicle to travel up to five miles per hour of charging. Your best bet is to invest in a charger made for electric vehicles.

Most owners choose a level two wall-mounted charger, which provides 240-volts. If you’re not familiar with electrical wiring, you’ll need an electrician to install and mount the device for you. The charger should provide between 10 and 20 miles of travel per hour of charge. If that’s not fast enough for you, there’s always the DC fast charger, which provides an 80 percent charge in roughly thirty minutes.

Overall, purchasing and installing an EVSE will require a small investment; however, the money you’ll save in fuel costs will more than pay for itself in the long run. If you can’t afford an EVSE right now, don’t let that stop you from purchasing an EV. Consider using your electricity outlets to charge your vehicle while you’re saving the funds to install the EVSE; or, you can choose a hybrid vehicle that doesn’t require home charging, but will require stops at the fuel pump from time to time.

One of our program partners BLINK Charging has a home charger available.

If you’re interested, email seth@sustainablewestchester.com and he’ll get you a discounted charger for your home.

RFI Issued to CDG Developers for Sustainable Westchester’s New Opt-Out CDG Program

By | News & Noteworthy

Sustainable Westchester welcomes responses to the RFI from CDG developers seeking customer acquisition channels for community solar projects or other CDG assets in Con Edison and NYSEG territories. The Opt Out CDG program will allow for enrollment at scale and enhance project economics, allowing developers to become eligible for NYSERDA’s newly proposed NY-Sun Inclusive Community Solar Adder. Interested CDG developers can learn more HERE.

Westchester Power and Transparent Energy Make History Via First-Ever Use of Online Auction Technology by a CCA!

By | News & Noteworthy

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The Westchester Power program was able to add an additional layer of competition and transparency to the bidding process with this renewal process. This unprecedented strategy helped us achieve the best possible results for our participating municipalities and their residents. As the articles show, we are on our way to increasing our environmental impact! Take a look at who’s talking: