Long Island Methodology is a Model for Other Communities Seeking to Reduce Carbon Footprints
Earlier this week, results of a two-year study cataloging Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) in Long Island, NY were released. By providing a starting point from which to measure the impact of current climate protection activities, this first-of-its-kind report serves as a roadmap for local leaders, residents and other stakeholders to achieve their GHG reduction targets.
While other regions have done carbon inventories, including the San Francisco Bay area and the State of Maryland, the methodology in this report may become the basis for a new standard, according to John McNally, Environmental Program Officer for the Rauch Foundation, who funded the effort. "You'll be able to compare apples to apples," he said. In the past, comparisons to other regions have been difficult. This project breaks ground by serving both as a model for communities across the country to emulate; and as a benchmark by which Long Island can measure the effectiveness of current and future activities that reduce energy use and, therefore, GHG emissions.
"You Can't Manage What You Don't Measure"
The inventory, compiled by Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), found that Long Island's homes were the largest emitter of GHGs, representing 39% of total emissions. Homes today are being built 30% more energy efficient than older housing stock, however, Long Island is home to many energy inefficient aging houses and buildings. The next largest source was transportation (31% of total emissions) followed by the commercial/industrial sector (26% of total emissions). The current inventory can be downloaded here. Rauch plans carry the project forward, by releasing town-level data in 2011 and an updated inventory in 2012.
Utility Incentive and Rebate Programs are Part of the Solution
Several programs and policies have been enacted to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy on Long Island. One of the most successful is the Efficiency Long Island Initiative program, launched by Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in 2008. By taking advantage of these incentives and rebates, LIPA's customers are achieving triple bottom-line results - i.e. reducing their energy usage, lowering their bill, AND cutting their carbon footprint.
Michael Hervey, COO of LIPA said "we look forward to continuing to work with our customers and our public and private partners to direct resources and take actions toward cleaner, sustainable and more energy efficient technologies in an effort to reduce green house gas emissions, improve our environment and create clean energy jobs. Hervey and Bob Teetz, VP of Environmental Services for National Grid, which also serves customers on Long Island, agree that the new carbon inventory serves as a stepping stone for identifying, prioritizing and implementing new initiatives in the communities they serve.