Submitted by Aaron Kennon, Andy Duus, and Tom Michaud
First Selectman Fred Camillo has identified making Greenwich more energy efficient as a goal of his administration. His First Selectman’s Energy Advisory Committee includes members from both sides of the political aisle, each of whom brings experience and intelligence to the task at hand. As Republicans, we believe a thoughtful approach to delivering more energy efficiency in our town owned facilities is a goal worth pursuing.
In these divided political times this is an issue that stands out as one where there is plenty of room for common ground between the two political parties. In some ways, it transcends politics. Whether it’s modernizing our grid, dedicating an effort to bolster cyber security, promoting more energy efficient municipal buildings or even something as simple as converting all Town building lighting to LED, these are all issues that will reduce energy demand and operating costs. That is something everyone can and should support.
The short term goal of the committee is to find ways to achieve a 20% reduction in our municipal energy consumption. While we recognize Republicans and Democrats do have disagreements when it comes to the the broader debate about energy in America, on a local level, reducing town energy consumption will position Greenwich as a leader in the effort to responsibly reduce energy demand. This, in turn, would lead to a reduction in our overall carbon footprint and other environmental externalities.
Today, we live in a world that is more environmentally conscious than it has ever been. This also rings true in Greenwich. People want to live in communities where the air is clean, and energy resources are more sustainable. Even for some who have been reluctant to buy into the “green energy” argument, it is clear that our economy is moving in that direction. As technology allows our economy to transition to a more sustainable future, Greenwich should lead.
Being a proponent of strategies that promote energy efficiency should not be confused with endorsing massive municipal spending to achieve unrealistic goals with hard to prove results. Nor should this be confused with any attempts to regulate individual homes and their energy usage. The focus of this effort is on town owned facilities, not mandates for citizens. We are not endorsing a “Green New Deal for Greenwich”.
However, there are several components to the goals set by the First Selectman and the Energy Advisory Committee that are achievable and will provide long term benefits to our community. We view a reduction of energy demand via increased usage of renewable energy sources and targeted upgrades in infrastructure (LED lights throughout all municipal buildings, and motion detectors that will turn lights on and off) as productive ways for our town to increase efficiency and reduce costs. These reductions in costs will also lead to taxpayer savings. Parallel to that, we believe that the Committee should also focus on making Greenwich more energy resilient and energy independent. This will help our community deal with the increasing number of storm related power issues we face.
We applaud our First Selectman for his efforts in forming this committee, and we look forward to hearing what ideas the committee comes up with as they begin their work.
Aaron Kennon, Andy Duus, and Tom Michaud