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Mission of the York Energy Efficiency Committee

Our mission is to respond to the global warming crisis by promoting energy efficiency, alternative energy, and environmental initiatives throughout the town of York, Maine.
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To contact YEEC, please email contact info at yorkgoesgreen dot org

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[Source: The US Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)]

CO2 Now

Current CO2 Level in the Atmosphere

A guide to energy efficient lighting

The following infographic provides a good summary of some of the choices available for energy efficient lighting.

Source: WellHome

This entry was posted in Conservation Conversations Blog.

2014′s most promising alternative energy trends

According to mining.com, “The business world has recognized a need for viable alternative energy solutions, and investors are now pouring in their cash. Last year, a staggering $214 billion was invested in renewable energy worldwide.”

Below are a few of the most promising innovations in the area of renewable and clean energy.

INFOGRAPHIC: 2014?s most promising alternative energy trends

Infographic from: TollFreeForwarding.com

York awarded $98,000 for renewable energy

The town’s Energy Steering Committee was informed this week that it was successful in its application for a significant grant that will be used primarily for a solar photovoltaic array on the York Beach Fire Station. From seacoastonline.com:

York energy panel gets $98K for efficiency upgrades
By Susan Morse , June 26, 2014

YORK, Maine — The York Energy Steering Committee is getting $98,000 from a former revolving loan program that is closing out its funds, according to Wayne Boardman, who heads the town committee.

Boardman said the Energy Steering Committee found out on Wednesday that it is getting $98,000 of an estimated $150,000 requested for such efficiency upgrades as installing a solar array on the roof of the York Beach Fire Station.

A condition of getting the funds is that they be spent by Sept. 15, he said. BeachFireStation

Boardman brought the issue to the attention of the Board of Selectmen on June 23, saying he would soon be back to ask for approval to send out requests for proposals for the work.

First the committee needs to determine which projects can be done with the money being received, Boardman said on Thursday. That plan is expected to be presented to selectmen at the board’s next meeting of Monday, July 7, he said.

“We have to decide where that money goes,” Boardman said Thursday. “We hope to figure that out in the next week or so.”

The money is from a former Seacoast Energy Initiative program of $500,000 funded by federal stimulus funds, according to Boardman.

For the past four years, homeowners and small business owners in the towns of Kittery, Eliot, York, South Berwick, Ogunquit and North Berwick could apply for a low interest loan of up to $10,000 to make energy improvements such as weatherizing their buildings and making furnace, electrical and hot water system upgrades.

The account was administered by the quasi-governmental Efficiency Maine.
“It was quite successful, they ended up awarding $474,000,” Boardman told selectmen. “Of that, $127,000 was awarded to loans for York residents.”

There is an estimated $350,000 left in the account.

Boardman said other towns have also applied to get the remaining funds.

“The decision was made that what was left in the fund was to be returned to the towns,” Boardman told selectmen. “They decided to award it to energy upgrades to communities who (brought in) proposals in a short time.”

“To be as ready as possible,” Boardman said, members of the Energy Steering Committee has come up with proposals they consider “good for the long-term energy costs of the community.”

These include a solar array on south-facing roof of the York Beach Fire Station and more efficient lighting there. Also proposed is a pump to help in both heating and cooling the second floor, which is used for community events.

During the summer, “they run the fans all day and it’s still unbearable at night,” Boardman told selectmen.

Source: http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20140626-NEWS-140629762

 

Surfeur – a local business commited to sustainability while giving back to the community

At York Goes Green, we like to support local businesses that are both environmentally responsible and committed to helping people in need. Surfeur is a York business aiming to walk that line. From it’s website:

Surfeur, LLC started with the love of all things surfing. We wanted to build a brand that is known for cool designs, economic and eco-friendly materials, and giving back to the community that helps us grow.

… Surfeur takes the utmost care in ensuring all of its processes are eco-friendly to the maximum extent practical. For example, you will receive an e-mail receipt for each transaction, no paper will be sent. We like to think that going green is easy, yet a continuous process.

surfeur-500

A percentage of the profits goes to End 68 Hours of Hunger.

The business is saving money by starting small with the intention of “bootstraping” to greater success. The tagline says it all: “Surf-style clothing. Eco-friendly materials. No worries.”

Learn more at http://www.surfeurwear.com/.

 

 

 

York voters approve Article #43

York voters went to the polls at the annual budget referendum on Saturday, May 17, 2014 and approved  Article #43, which appropriates $100,000 for capital improvements related to energy solutions and conservation at Town-owned properties.

Learn more about the Energy Steering Committee and how the Article 43 appropriation will be used to save energy and taxpayer money in the long run at: http://yorkgoesgreen.org/york-energy-steering-committee/.

Reversing climate change through photosynthesis and biology

Rebuilding soil through organic methods and permaculture can sequester vast amounts of carbon and provide dozens of other benefits at the same time.

How Organic Farming Can Reverse Climate Change

By EcoWatch

Rodale Institute announced yesterday the launch of a global campaign to generate public awareness of soil’s ability to reverse climate change, but only when the health of the soil is maintained through organic regenerative agriculture. The campaign calls for the restructuring of our global food system with the goal of reversing climate change through photosynthesis and biology.

The white paper, Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming, is the central tool of the campaign. The paper was penned by Rodale Institute, the independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit agricultural research institute widely recognized as the birthplace of the organic movement in the U.S.

The white paper states that “We could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term ‘regenerative organic agriculture.’”

If management of all current cropland shifted to reflect the regenerative model as practiced at the research sites included in the white paper, more than 40 percent of annual emissions could potentially be captured. If, at the same time, all global pasture was managed to a regenerative model, an additional 71 percent could be sequestered. Essentially, passing the 100 percent mark means a drawing down of excess greenhouse gases, resulting in the reversal of the greenhouse effect.

Regenerative organic agriculture is comprised of organic practices including (at a minimum): cover crops, residue mulching, composting and crop rotation. Conservation tillage, while not yet widely used in organic systems, is a regenerative organic practice integral to soil-carbon sequestration. Other biological farming systems that use some of these techniques include ecological, progressive, natural, pro-soil and carbon farming.

“The purpose of our work is singular; we are working to create a massive awakening,” said “Coach” Mark Smallwood, executive director of Rodale Institute.

“Our founder, J.I. Rodale, had a vision so ambitious that many people wrote him off at the time. Almost 75 years later, the organic movement is exploding with growth and fierce determination. But the stakes are much higher in 2014. J.I. saw that agriculture was heading in a dangerous direction by way of the wide-spread adoption of the use of synthetic chemicals and the industrialization of farming. He attempted to prevent that transition. We no longer have the luxury of prevention. Now we are in the dire situation of needing a cure, a reversal. We know that correcting agriculture is an answer to climate chaos, and that it hinges on human behavior. The massive awakening itself is the cure. The future is underfoot. It’s all about healthy soil.”

The Rodale Institute supports its claims by explaining that if sequestration rates attained by the cases cited inside the white paper were achieved on crop and pastureland across the globe, regenerative agriculture could sequester more than our current annual carbon dioxide emissions. Even if modest assumptions about soil’s carbon sequestration potential are made, regenerative agriculture can easily keep annual emissions to within the desirable range necessary if we are to have a good chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C by 2020.

“The white paper is to encourage new research, new policy and the rapid expansion of regenerative agricultural methods,” said Smallwood.

“The media campaign brings the broader vision to the public much faster. The idea is to stoke the public outcry that already exists and to validate those who demand these changes be made now. By engaging the public now, they build the pressure necessary to prevent this call to action from sitting on the desks of scientists and policy-makers, or worse yet, being buried by businesspeople from the chemical industry. We don’t have time to be polite about it.”

Below are three excerpts exemplifying the call to action set forth in the white paper:

-Organically managed soils can convert carbon from a greenhouse gas into a food-producing asset. It’s nothing new, and it’s already happening, but it’s not enough. This is the way we have to farm, period.

-There’s a technology for massive planetary geo-engineering that’s tried and tested and available for widespread dissemination right now. It costs little and is adaptable to localities the world over. It can be rolled out tomorrow providing multiple benefits beyond climate stabilization. It’s photosynthesis.

-The solution is farming like life on Earth matters; farming in a way that restores and even improves on the natural ability of the microbiology present in healthy soil to hold carbon. This kind of farming is called regenerative organic agriculture and it is the solution to climate change we need to implement today.

Since its founding in 1947 by J.I. Rodale, the Rodale Institute has been committed to groundbreaking research in organic agriculture, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating people about how organic is the safest, healthiest option for people and the planet. The Rodale Institute is home to the Farming Systems Trial, America’s longest-running side-by-side comparison of chemical and organic agriculture. Consistent results from the study have shown that organic yields match or surpass those of conventional farming. In years of drought, organic corn yields are about 30 percent higher. This year, 2013, marks the 33rd year of the trial. New areas of study at the Rodale Institute include rates of carbon sequestration in chemical versus organic plots, new techniques for weed suppression and organic livestock.

This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/how-organic-farming-can-reverse-climate-change-1398259448­.

Solar power for emergency shelters

The article below from Seacoastonline.com and the Portsmouth Herald describes another step in the process of a unique blending of community need and opportunity.

Turning to solar power in case of an emergency By Deborah McDermott dmcdermott@seacoastonline.com April 27, 2014 – 2:00 AM

York Middle School could be the pilot site in Maine for a . . . → Read More: Solar power for emergency shelters

Can ordinary people make a difference?

Quote of the day:

When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the . . . → Read More: Can ordinary people make a difference?

Solar Electric Emergency Power Systems – Maine Pilot

Where: Portland offices of Revision Energy, 142 Presumpscot Street, Portland, ME 04103 When: Thursday, April 24th 5:00-7:30pm – Light dinner and refreshments provided Cost: Free and open to the public

Agenda:

Welcome and Introductions History of Using Solar in Disasters Energy Needs in a Disaster Florida SunSmart ‘Solar on School Shelters’ Program Advancing Solar Shelters . . . → Read More: Solar Electric Emergency Power Systems – Maine Pilot

Lawns to Lobsters

Spring is a good time for homeowners to consider reassessing their lawn maintenance practices. The local group Lawns to Lobsters has called attention to the damage that can be done to ocean life and other vital species in the ecosystem by careless lawn care activities. For example:

If not applied correctly, lawn fertilizers can . . . → Read More: Lawns to Lobsters

YEEC Monthly Meeting on April 8

Greetings Everyone! Energy Meeting is Tuesday night – 7pm at the library.

Couple quick updates:

1. We are very pleased to announce that we are hosting Bill Young from the Florida Solar Energy Center April 23-25. Bill is a national expert in solar power and emergency management. He will be joining Chief Bracy (York’s Emergency . . . → Read More: YEEC Monthly Meeting on April 8

Mainers rally to support solar and oppose CMP rate hike

The following is an extensive excerpt from the April 5, 2014 ReVision Energy Newsletter:

Hundreds of solar supporters packed Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) hearings on April 2 and 3, 2014, as the PUC took public comment about a controversial rate case that would substantially hurt solar’s ROI in Maine.

. . . → Read More: Mainers rally to support solar and oppose CMP rate hike

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