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Rye Sustainability To Propose Cool Roofs, Biodiesel

Cool-roofing initiatives are popular throughout New York City. The Rye Sustainability Committee is suggesting that the city implement this low-cost effort in its sustainability plan for the city. Photo Credit:
Sarah Goddard of the Rye Sustainability Committee spoke Wednesday at a meeting of the Rye City Council. Photo Credit: Anna Helhoski

RYE, N.Y. – The Rye Sustainability Committee is considering a “cool roofs” initiative, discounted ultra-low-sulfur diesel and a policy of “leave leaves alone” in its upcoming proposed sustainability plan for the city.

The plan will define initiatives the city can follow aimed at energy efficiency and renewable energy, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, promoting green building practices, waste reduction and recycling, and community awareness.

“There are dozens of initiatives, and there’s just no way to do all of them, ever,” Sarah Goddard of the Rye Sustainability Committee said Wednesday night in outlining some of the proposals to the Rye City Council.

In the past, the committee helped implement a ban on plastic bags in the city, making Rye the first municipality in Westchester to do so.

Goddard said the city should look into purchasing ultra-low-sulfur biodiesel for Rye’s municipal diesel fleet, including Department of Public Works vehicles, through Hudson Bio Fuels. This type of biodiesel reduces pollution, is more energy-efficient and can be purchased at a discount.

The committee is looking to nearby Mamaroneck’s pilot program to “leave leaves alone,” in which a special mulcher is used to break up and spread leaves left on the grass during the fall. “You don’t have to cart the leaves away,” Goddard said. “You save on trucking costs, and also it’s a pesticide- and fertilizer-free way of providing nutrients for your open spaces.”

A “cool roofs” initiative could be implemented in Rye to reduce the amount of energy absorbed by a roof, thereby cutting down on air-conditioning and heating costs at city schools and other public buildings, Goddard said. To create a cool roof, a preferably flat roof of a building is painted with a special white coating material that has high solar reflectivity and high infrared emissivity. “It’s a very simple way to achieve cost savings,” Goddard said.

The committee is also looking into potential funding opportunities through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, including purchasing energy-efficient versions of equipment like air conditioners, printers and faxes for a rebate from the state.

Coming up, the Rye Sustainability Committee and the Rye Country Day School Environmental Auxiliary Committee are hosting a “green screen” of the documentary “No Impact Man.” The star and creator, Colin Beavan, will be present at the screening of the documentary, which examines reducing unnecessary waste. The free event begins at 7 p.m. at Rye Country Day School, 3 Grandview Ave., Rye.

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