Suburbs Have a Leg-Up on Greening

Last week Mireya Navarro reported for the New York Times on the greening of suburban municipalities. In Green and Greener in Suburban Towns Navarro highlighted the Long Island town of Babylon.

“FOR two years, Valerie Williams had been considering making the five-bedroom home she grew up in more energy efficient — hoping to shrink her $350 monthly utility bill — but more pressing expenses always came first.

Then the town of Babylon came up with an offer she couldn’t refuse: if she and her husband, Carlos, paid $250 for an energy audit, the town would finance the recommended upgrades. The couple would repay the town at a monthly rate below the savings on their utility bill.”

Babylon is not alone. Towns across the country are introducing initiatives to encourage their residents to green their homes and lives and suburbs are at an advantage. Navarro reports at least one reason why:

“There’s a very strong environmental sensibility among suburbanites,” said Lawrence C. Levy, executive director of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and the driver of a Prius (which he can park free in his town, Huntington). “One of the reasons that people move to the suburbs is for the cleaner air and open spaces. They guard this zealously and with their votes.”

Here at 5 Minutes for Going Green we’re for any initiative — big or small, urban to rural — but we’re particularly interested in the suburban greening trend. For the Williams’ in Babylon the green initiatives their town started were big. Insulation is hardly a five minute job, but the town announced the initiative with a quick and simple gimmick.

“To begin its energy audit program last year, for example, Babylon, which has about 60,000 homes, had its garbage collectors deliver an energy-efficient fluorescent bulb to every household during their rounds.”

We want to know what your municipalities are doing to green their town. Big or small, every initiative makes a difference. Share yours!

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Diana Prichard
is a rural-living freelance writer, wife and mother of two who loves black toenail polish, taking pictures, vintage-styled aprons, dark chocolate, tomato sandwiches, lip gloss, t-shirts, flip flops, and mason jars. Her work and life can be found on her self-titled personal blog.

2 Responses to Suburbs Have a Leg-Up on Greening
  1. Darren (Green Change)
    October 12, 2009 | 10:04 pm

    My municipality has teamed up with two neighbouring ones to offer a whole raft of sustainability programs:

  2. Janice (5 Minutes for Mom)
    October 15, 2009 | 7:39 pm

    Wow – those are great initiatives.

    You know… I am not sure what our municipalities are doing… I need to dig in and find out! Thanks for the inspiration!