Surburban Towns Taking the Lead to Promote Green Living

Posted on October 14, 2009. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , |

The New York Times had an interesting article last week about creative measures taken in small towns around the City to promote green living.

Pesticide Free Field and Energy Efficiency Improvements (Image from the New York Times)

Pesticide Free Field and Energy Efficiency Improvements (Image from the New York Times)

In Babylon, New York residents that pay to have an energy efficiency audit for their home can recieve financing from the town for any recommended improvements that will cost them less than the savings on their monthly power bills from the efficiency improvements.

Other towns mentioned in the article are promoting hybrids with free parking perks, reducing or prohibiting fertilizers and chemicals in public fields, increasing energy effeiciency standards in building codes, and changing ordinances to allow for the construction of residential windmills.

By forcing new buildings and homes to be built with energy efficiency in mind, towns like Southampton, NY are changing the rules of the game. Southampton is a wealthy resort town and requires the largest houses to be the most energy efficient. According to Neal Lewis, Sustainability Institute at Molloy College on Long Island:

“The premise is that if you can afford a house that’s 10,000 square feet, you can also make sure it’s highly energy efficient”

For the most part, suburbanites are supportive of the environmentally conscious policies, as many have moved from the city in search of cleaner air and greener spaces. However, there are certainly obstacles to suburban greening as well including concerns over maintaining the historical character of a town. Also, low-income towns are not as equipped to finance or prioritize greening programs as their wealthier counterparts.

Steve Bellone of Babylon sees the town’s committment to green as an important part of the town’s future vision,

“This is a program that helps the environment, helps homeowners save money, creates local jobs, reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and it’s at no cost to taxpayers”

And locally, the trend is certainly taking off with green initiatives in Bethesda, Takoma Park, and Edmonston, to name a few.

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