Local leaders in politics, education and environmentalism will gather Thursday night to discuss how to advance regional sustainability issues and prepare to take advantage of funds potentially available through Gov. Cuomo's 'Cleaner, Greener Communities" initiative.
"What this summit is about is increasing collaboration between neighboring communities and formulating regional plans," said Herb Oringel, chairman of the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium, a 14-member coalition of towns addressing energy conservation issues.
The meeting is to be held at the and is not open to the public.
Presenters will share information on such existing local initiatives as the state and federally-funded started in Bedford two years ago, now in the process of being rolled out to other NWEAC towns. Through with low-cost financing, homeowners save money on energy costs while reducing carbon emissions.
Attendees include mayors and supervisors from Yonkers to Peekskill, nonprofit leaders—Green Schools Coalition, Transition Westchester and the Bike-Walk Alliance Westchester-Putnam, to name a few—representatives from industry and NGOs.
Oringel said the conference was a first step for some towns in identifying their energy use and energy waste, and they hoped leaders would work together to create solutions for change. At least seven municipalities have data and best practices to share around the development of and greenhouse gas inventories.
Workshops will focus on municipal planning, home energy efficiency, greener transportation, energy efficient schools and community power and 'smart grids.'
Town leaders will have an opportunity to take an "energize pledge," whereby elected officials can publicly commit to learn about their own home's energy use through NWEAC’s signature residential energy efficiency program,
Organizers have also brought in authorities in environmentalism and advocacy to inspire attendees: Eric Pooley, author of The Climate War, Audrey Zibelman, an expert in smart grid technology and John Cerveny, Director of NY BEST, an industry-led consortium of energy-storage companies.
State funds may become available for the development of regional sustainability plans and projects that improve energy efficiency throughout the community, promote renewable energy, and result in reduced emissions of carbon, according to NYSERDA.