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AmeriCorps Plans Energy Conservation Day

 AmeriCorps Plans Energy Conservation Day

10/23/2012 

SUNY Cortland AmeriCorps members and volunteers will deliver a little light bulb that carries a big message on Saturday, Oct. 27.

On that day, the College’s “Make a Difference Day,” they will team up with the College’s Institute for Civic Engagement (ICE) and Sustainable Cortland to distribute 500 energy-efficient light bulbs and educational packets to City of Cortland residents.

“If all 500 homes installed the compact florescent bulbs from their energy packet, $5,264 would be saved annually and 47,190 pounds, or 23.6 tons, of carbon dioxide emissions would be avoided, the equivalent of taking four cars off the road or saving 592 trees,” said Sara Watrous, an AmeriCorps member at Sustainable Cortland and an event organizer. Her information came from Douglas Roll, the College’s energy manager, who serves on the Campus Climate Action Plan Committee.

The “Light It Up Cortland” event begins at 10 a.m. at Main Street SUNY Cortland, 9 Main St., with refreshments, registration and a line-up of speakers on the topic of living sustainably — how to save energy, save money and reduce one’s carbon “footprint.”

A collaborative effort between the College and community to promote energy efficiency and conservation by city residents, the celebration continues at 11 a.m., when volunteers will take to the streets for two hours of door-to-door awareness building and distributing light bulbs and information to 500 city dwellings.

“I hope to have 50 volunteers visiting homes in the community on Saturday,” said Watrous. “Many of them will be AmeriCorps volunteers and SUNY Cortland students.”                

Each of the 500 homes will receive:

• one compact florescent light bulb (CFL);

 • a variety of educational materials, including: an “Energy Action at Home” workbook from the New York State Energy Efficiency and Development Agency (NYSERDA);

• information regarding public transportation and the new Cortland 211 system from Seven Valleys Health Coalition; and,

• information from the Chamber of Commerce on buying locally to save energy and support local businesses.

The speakers at the 10 a.m. event will include:

• Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton of Assembly District 125, who will give a global perspective on needing to take action to conserve energy, protect the environment, and plan for the future;

• Barbara Henza of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Cortland, who will outline the actions individuals can take for energy efficiency and the benefits of CFLs;

• Jonathan Wood of Green Sun Solar, who will discuss advances in solar energy;

• Frank Kelly, who is co-chair of the City of Cortland’s Environmental Advisory Committee. He will discuss the need to promote energy conservation in the city; and,

• Janeille Franzenburg, an AmeriCorps member with the Seven Valleys Health Coalition, who will speak on public transportation and the new 211 system.

 The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session. City of Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin will provide closing remarks before sending out the volunteers.

The overall goal of this citywide campaign is to reduce energy use of Cortland households.

“In light of ‘A Campus Conversation on Climate Change’ that took place on Oct. 3 at SUNY Cortland, we are excited to take to the streets and educate residents about energy conservation,” Watrous said.

“It was my idea to apply this to Cortland but it’s something that Cornell University and the Cooperative Extension did for a ‘Day of Service’ among 1,200 homes in Tompkins County about two years ago,” she said.

‘Make a Difference’ day is a national day of service that was conceived of as a volunteer day to promote sustainability in Cortland by ICE Director Richard Kendrick.

“We are proud to be working with Cortland Wholesale Electric to purchase the Compact Florescent Light Bulbs,” Watrous added. The company offered a reasonable price for the merchandize and the “Light It Up Cortland” group was pleased to work with a local business.

“This is the first energy efficiency educational event that Sustainable Cortland has done, although the group has organized a number of educational programs,” she said.

For more information, e-mail sustainablecortland@gmail.com or call the Institute for Civic Engagement at (607) 753-4271.