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Staying Green from City to Suburbia

As city dwellers seek larger living spaces and backyards where they can more easily work from home and raise a family under covid-confined living conditions, Bedford’s community-wide goals are more important than ever. 

Environmentally speaking, urban flight can be a bad move as most people dramatically increase their carbon footprint when they move from the city to the suburbs because of their sized-up living spaces, new reliance on cars, and new lawn care regimens.* To address these emissions, Bedford 2030 helps residents take climate action so living in suburbia does not mean sacrificing low carbon living.

When the Lyman Alvarez family moved from NYC to Katonah, they made it a priority to keep their carbon footprint low.  After reaching out to Bedford 2020 via the HeatSmart campaign last year, the family undertook both energy efficiency improvements and got a geothermal system. Not only do these improvements save them energy and money, they demonstrate how living in suburbia can be green.

Here is their story:

We just moved in to our old house about a year ago from the city and one of our main priorities was to go green wherever we could. We could tell that the house was using more energy than normal for heating and cooling. We had an energy audit on the home completed and found some strategies to reduce energy usage in the house. These strategies included insulation improvements and weather stripping.

We implemented those improvements and also went ahead and changed our old thermostat to a smart thermostat. We assumed our big savings would come from using less oil. But having just moved into the home we didn’t have records to confirm those results. However our electric bills showed the prior year’s history and it showed a drop in usage by about 50%, saving over $1000 per year. That was an unforeseen surprise. And this is on top of the likelier heftier savings on the oil side. But that didn’t stop us from getting rid of the oil tanks altogether by going with a geothermal heat pump this year.

-Carlos Alvarez and Katie Lyman, Katonah

To learn more about reducing your carbon footprint like this family did, visit bedford2030.org.

*Want to Flee the City for Suburbia? Think Again. NY Times August 17, 2020