Winter or not, Copake thinks green

COPAKE–Though the outdoor terrain is mostly white and brown these days, green thoughts–about energy, money and recycling–were on peoples’ minds at the January 14 Town Board meeting.

Councilman Daniel Tompkins reported that solar energy proposals for the town hall, the park building and the highway garage have all been accepted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). He expects to hear whether the projects are approved for funding by March.

Mr. Tompkins thanked Councilwoman Linda Gabaccia and Supervisor Reggie Crowley for their assistance in “pulling it together” and getting the documents submitted on time.

But rather than wait and hope that the town will get funding under that program, Mr. Tompkins said that $6.9 million is now available through a new NYSERDA program for projects in this region, and the town will resubmit its solar project applications. The submission deadline is February 17.

Funds may also be available for high efficiency indoor boilers and insulating window shades, both of which were mentioned at the meeting.

Councilman Bob Sacks suggested the town look into funding for the production of hydroelectric power at Brown’s Dam and bus transportation from Copake to Wassaic, the nearest Metro North train station.

Resident John Keeler, who is on a committee looking into ways to improve conditions at the town highway garage, reported that there are ongoing problems with the heating system there. The committee is considering replacing the furnace with a clean burning waste-oil burner.

Mr. Keeler urged the Town Board to “expedite” the sale of the former West Copake firehouse, so the town will have the money to buy this burner. The cost for the unit is $22,995 plus $3,200 for installation, according to Deputy Supervisor Joe LaPorta, who is also on the committee.

The former firehouse is currently used for storage, and according the town’s former lawyer, it will take the passage of a law by the state legislature before the town may sell the building. Supervisor Crowley directed the new town attorney, Tal Rappleyea, to see what can be done.

One of the energy-saving ideas recommended to the town during a recent NYSERDA energy survey at the town hall was the installation of window shades called Window Quilts, that keep the heat in during the winter and the heat out in the summer, said Councilwoman Gabaccia.

The councilwoman has done some research on the shades and found they are easily cleaned with a vacuum cleaner, but that they are expensive–$20 per square foot–making the cost to cover one window about $400, by one estimate.

One whole wall of the town hall meeting room is lined with windows that need these shades. Ms. Gabaccia suggested that the board wait to set money aside in next year’s budget or see whether grant money is available.

Ms. Gabaccia told The Columbia Paper January 19 that board members had a meeting scheduled that evening with Hudson Valley Clean Energy Project Manager Carlos Newcomb to discuss potential funding for other town energy saving projects.

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