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

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Can Households Help Create a Carbon Neutral Community?

Seattle is striving to become a carbon-neutral city, the first in the world. It requires accounting for and reducing “the carbon footprint of everything from transportation to trash.” But the city recognizes that individual families have to play their part.

Much of the work on climate change has focused on making major policy or systems level changes that will have dramatic impacts on carbon emissions. Critical as it is to change emissions systems, create new technologies, develop energy efficient buildings, or provide better travel options and renewable energy systems, most such big ideas require pose major barriers to implementation. As the saying might go, ‘you can lead a community to a low carbon future, but you can’t make them stop emitting carbon.’

The authors reference an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences entitled ‘Household actions can provide a behavioral wedge to rapidly reduce U.S. carbon emissions’. These behavioral changes could reduce carbon emissions by over 7 percent with very little additional cost or significant changes in lifestyle.

The article’s authors suggest 17 steps in five categories that individuals can take. Some of these can be greatly assisted by community or governmental action (such as weatherization and other home energy reduction steps). They include:

  1. Reducing the energy used in home heating, including attic weatherization, sealing drafts, installing high-efficiency windows, and replacing inefficient equipment as it wears out.
  2. Upgrading the efficiency of appliances, equipment, and motor vehicles at the end of their useful life.
  3. Maintenance, such as changing air filters in HVAC systems and properly maintaining vehicles.
  4. Adjustments in equipment operation, such as reducing temperatures on laundry facilities and hot water heaters.
  5. Changes in daily behaviors, such as eliminating standby electricity, carpooling, trip chaining, and line drying.

Read the rest of the article.

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