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Planning for Climate Change on the Local Level

On Monday, September 23rd, a panel of community leaders, planners, and business owners assembled by the Clean Air Coalition, met at Nashua City Hall to describe some measures taken locally to mollify the effects of our changing climate. 

In opening remarks, Representative Annie Kuster (D-NH) stated that “New Hampshire is poised to lead the charge against climate change.” 

At the table were Nashua mayor Donnalee Lozeau; the Nashua Emergency Management Director, Justin Kates; the owner of Sun Ray Solar in Concord, NH, (and 350NH alumni) Jonathan Gregory; and Venu Rao, of the Hollis Energy Committee (no link available).

Mr. Rao told how Hollis had saved $64,000 in electricity costs with comprehensive energy audits and electrical upgrades to town buildings. As by-product of the upgrades, 540,000 pounds of carbon was kept out of the environment. 

Mr. Kates described some of emergency planning measures enacted to deal with stronger storms and increased flooding. He noted that effective planning required more than government involvement, and related steps taken in conjunction with business and industry to help the city recover more quickly from any disaster. 

Mayor Lozeau pointed to the overhead skylight as one of the simpler projects to increase the energy efficiency of city buildings. She stated that older government buildings typically found in NH are very energy inefficient, and she proudly told of the city’s growing fleet of trucks that run on compressed natural gas.

Panel members generally agreed that focusing on economic savings avoids the climate change debate, which can easily lose sight of local issues, and gets something done.  As Mr. Rao pointed out, “The actual rubber meets the road in our towns, in our cities.”

Image from the Nashua Telegraph

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