Community works together to lower energy costs


While the ideas behind environmentalism are commendable, changes on a personal level can often be lacking in tangible results. Reducing power usage in the village of Skaneateles however, could lead to huge savings for residents.

Several recent stories in the Skaneateles Press have detailed the community’s commitment to reduce energy usage for the benefit of the environment and to save money. Earlier this year, the Central New York Regional Planning and Development board and Sustainable Skaneateles did an Energy Challenge program in which residents learned how to make their homes more energy efficient. Changing light bulbs and turning off appliances lowers a house’s impact on the environment and lowers power bills — a win-win.

Within the next couple of weeks the village will be installing photovoltaic cells to the roof of the new village hall, which will not only make the building a net-zero energy consumer, but also potentially subsidize the village electric utility and lower bills.

The village’s average power usage in recent years has come from 92 percent hydroelectric power and 8 percent fossil fuel burning power, according to the village department of public works. Though most of the village power comes from a sustainable source, that 8 percent of fossil fuel power is expensive: it accounts for 40 percent of the monthly bill. If the village were to collectively reduce power usage 8 percent, its residents would stand to save a big chunk on utility bills. By reducing household usage and adding free village solar power to the grid, that goal could become a reality this year.

This is a perfect example of environmentally minded change that also brings immediate and positive results to the community, and it’s a cause that everyone in the village should feel motivated to contribute to.

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