Mayor Elorza publicizes Windfall sustainability push with residence power audit – Information – providencejournal.com

PROVIDENCE, RI – Charlie Soum pressed a switch and an antique ceiling lamp with brand new energy efficient lightbulbs in a living room in Mayor Jorge Elorza’s 140-year-old house.

“That’s savings right there,” Soum, a technician at RISE Engineering in Cranston, told the mayor.

The light-emitting diode lamps, which use a fraction of the power of traditional incandescent lamps, were just the most immediate benefit of the energy assessment conducted Tuesday at Elorza’s home in Silver Lake.

As part of the audit, conducted as part of the EnergyWise program overseen by the state and utility National Grid, Elorza was given a box of LEDs for free, but he was also given a list of longer-term improvements he could make to his home balanced by incentives and could reduce its overall energy consumption.

Elorza had the audit done to draw attention to a new sustainability plan for Providence that will be released on Wednesday, and to show that he is doing everything in his power to reduce his own carbon footprint.

“The effects of climate change are real. They affect us here in Providence, ”said Elorza, who urged other city dwellers to do their part to conserve energy and adopt sustainable practices. “So we’re going to make significant changes.”

The new plan, called SustainPVD, calls on residents to take three steps to reduce their environmental footprint: Have EnergyWise conduct a free audit to identify energy-saving home improvement. Find other inexpensive ways to save energy, such as: B. replacing lightbulbs or installing multiple socket outlets. and consider installing solar panels as part of a citywide bulk purchasing program organized by the West Broadway Neighborhood Association.

Although Rhode Island has become a leading state in terms of energy efficiency in recent years, Providence still lags behind other major cities in the United States. The capital of Rhode Island was ranked 32nd among the 51 largest cities in the country on a scorecard created by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy that took into account government operations, community-wide efforts, construction policies, utilities and transportation.

Government programs – like the free energy audits – are available in Providence, but they may not be used adequately. The same goes for other sustainability initiatives, including recycling – Providence’s 9.5 percent recycling rate is about a third of the national average – composting and investing in solar energy.

“The aim is to get other residents to use these programs,” said Leah Bamberger, Sustainability Director of Providence, about the new plan.

But achieving this is easier said than done. Even for someone like Elorza, who says they’re trying to be as environmentally conscious as possible, it can be difficult. He avoids a car and instead rides his mountain bike to work every day. Still, the mayor admitted that he could do more. Although he has lived in his house on Deborah Street for a decade, this is his first energy audit.

The two-story mansard-roofed house was built in 1875, and while Elorza swears by its construction, “These houses were built to last,” he said, it’s not the most energy efficient structure. Take the amount of insulation in the walls, for example.

“There aren’t any,” said Joshua Houle, energy auditor at RISE Engineering.

That can be fixed. New insulation and weather protection measures can help store the heat in winter and cool air in summer and reduce Elorza’s energy consumption. He is also considering converting a boiler in the basement from heating oil to natural gas for greater efficiency.

To be greener, the mayor is considering installing solar panels in his home as part of the West Broadway Neighborhood Association’s program, which offers lower prices based on the number of people participating. Registration closes on July 31st.

Elorza received an offer Tuesday from Providence-based WBNA provider Sol Power for a $ 12,000 system that, taking a federal tax credit into account, could pay for itself in energy savings in seven years.

But at least the valuation allowed Elorza to get new lighting that saves some energy and a few dollars a month on his electricity bill.

“How is it when you read?” Soum asked the mayor after putting the lightbulb in a floor lamp.

“I think it’ll be fine,” Elorza replied.

For more information on SustainPVD, visit providenceri.com/sustainability online.

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