By Sarah Ellen Berman
Sustainability efforts are spreading in the town of New Castle. Terms including solar panels and bike lanes are becoming part of the local parlance. The penchant to make the environment in town more sustainable has taken hold.
Town Planner David Brito pointed to the recent summit held by the Sustainability Advisory Board. This meeting was conceived “to get community feedback, generate ideas and use it as a way to bring more people into the fold,” Brito related.
This forum provided an ideal way to introduce Energize – an energy efficiency program for single family residences. Energize is being rolled out in 14 communities in Northern Westchester and is slated to begin in town in the first half of 2012. Homeowners will benefit from a free energy assessment, funded by NYSERDA. The findings and recommendations will enable residents to conduct a cost/benefit analysis of implementing the proposed changes.
The next step according to Brito is the sustainability action plan. This plan “is broader in scope than the climate action plan which focuses on reducing greenhouse gases,” he noted. Ideas in this plan include “higher density development near transit” and “developing site plans that minimize impact.” The goal of the town’s climate action plan, adopted on April 26, 2011, is to decrease its carbon footprint by 20% by 2015.
Marion place, located next to Citibank, is a good example of sustainability. In this brick plaza and raised bed; named in memory of Marion Sinek, rain is channeled from the roof via gutters and then fed into the bed. “It’s irrigating plants, filtering by going through beds, a natural filtration process,” Brito explained.