Signs of Sustainability

We have a long way to go, but we're making progress. Here are some signs that we are moving towards sustainability.

March 13, 2019

Building Green for All

Tompkins Weekly 3-13-19

By Jean Rightmire

In an ideal world, housing should be producing energy rather than consuming it. Call it “green,” “energy conserving,” “energy efficient,” or “sustainable,” any home should be healthy, be easily maintained, cause little or no pollution, and be affordable for all families and individuals to attain. While this is far from the reality we live in currently, it’s never too late to start.

Even small steps can make a significant impact. Given that we each have a personal responsibility to be changemakers, locally, Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties (TCHabitat), is leading the way to build energy efficient, safe, healthy and energy sustainable homes for low- to moderate-income families.

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February 27, 2019

Purity is First Winner of HeatSmart Stewardship Award

Tompkins Weekly 2-27-19

By Jonathan Comstock

You already loved Purity Ice Cream, but now you can love them even more. When the owners of the iconic Ithaca institution renovated their shop, they decided to scoop out a little happiness for the planet, too. Today, Purity heats and cools its entire operation with high-efficiency ground source heat pumps, and it powers those pumps – not to mention its lights, machinery, and appliances – entirely with solar energy.

When we at Solar Tompkins considered nominees for our first HeatSmart Award for Outstanding Earth Stewardship, Purity was a natural choice.

For co-owner Bruce Lane, ground source (also known as geothermal) heat pumps were the perfect answer for a year-round business that consumes a considerable amount of energy. Not only have the heat pumps drastically reduced the company’s greenhouse gas emissions, but they have also made life more comfortable for customers and employees alike.

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February 14, 2019

Nuclear Arms and Climate Disruption: Two Inconvenient Truths

Tompkins Weekly 2-13-19

By Dr. Charles Geisler

At a time when major nuclear arms treaties are being orphaned and thick reports on climate disruption are accumulating like waves on a stormy beach, many are asking if there are connections between the two. The answer is an obvious and uncomfortable yes.

Consider ‘nuclear winter,’ the name given to the prolonged darkness believed by Carl Sagan and other senior scientists to arrive on the heels of nuclear war. Some or all of the planet will be darkened by the ash plumes of nuclear incineration. Photosynthesis will wane along with parts of the food chain, habitats we take for granted, and healthy ecosystem services we depend on. Our largest nuclear reactor, the sun, will be eclipsed by the effects of thermonuclear war on earth.

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