By Mary Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville
Nov. 20, 2019: As temperatures continue to plunge and winter fast approaches, this is an opportune time to refresh as to Village fall and winter procedures as well as ways to be more eco-friendly in the coming months.
Our leaf collection continues until mid-December. Almost incredulous, our annual leaf removal costs regularly top $100,000 per season, and this does not include the additional cost of cleaning clogged drains as rainstorms routinely send the leaves directly into our storm sewer system. Clogged drains have also vastly increased the likelihood of localized flooding. This year has been particularly frustrating as our DPW has spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning our clogged sewer system. We ask that you keep all leaves on your property out of the right of way and do not comingle other yard waste so we may decrease further time and money outlays.
With the first snow comes the need to rid sidewalks of ice and snow. Per Village Code, homeowners are responsible for the maintenance of all sidewalks that abut one’s property, including debris removal and re-pavement, to facilitate safe passage. If you notice a sidewalk needing attention, contact the Village’s Department of Buildings, and staff will issue a “notice to cure.“ No monetary penalties attach unless the notice is ignored.
As the days grow colder, it is easier to use more energy and money than we realize. The following are some tips gleaned from Con Edison and energy conservation sources.
· Keeping doors closed within the house will trap heat in each room, thus using less energy to warm up the entire structure.
· Opening curtains on south-facing windows during the day will allow sunlight to naturally heat your home while closing them at night will reduce the chill from their cold surface.
· When not using appliances such as hair dryers or irons on a daily basis, don’t just switch them off, rather unplug. Appliances continue to use electricity even when not in use.
· If your boiler is more than 15 years old, it is most likely time for a new, more efficient version, resulting in savings of upwards of $300 a year on average.
· If out of the house for extended periods, turn the thermostat back 10 to 15°, resulting in a 10% savings on your yearly heating bill.
· The installation of a smart or programmable thermostat can make this process quite easy.
· Keep the fireplace damper closed at all times when not in use. An open damper loses the same amount of heat and energy as a wide-open window.
· Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting of 120°F. You will not only save energy but avoid scalded hands when in use.
· When purchasing new holiday lights, opt for the LED as they are significant energy savers.
· Once you finish cooking, open the oven door and allow the excess heat to warm up the kitchen.
Given the upcoming holiday, it’s comforting to know an empty refrigerator wastes far more energy than a full one because the fridge has to work harder to keep everything cool. If food is compacted together, it keeps cooler.
Continuing under the kitchen/food umbrella, try to eliminate plastic bags from your inventory. Bring reusable canvas bags to the grocery store, and if you forget, be sure to recycle your plastic bags on the next store visit. In addition to grocery bags, our Acme market has a bin that will also accept dry cleaning bags and newspaper sleeves for recycling.
You can recycle plastic/foil-lined boxes such as those that contain juice, chopped tomatoes, and soup. You could now even recycle the paper milk cartons that seem to have a waxy surface.
When possible, consider buying items made of glass, metal, or a biodegradable material instead of plastic. PBS recently reported that the fish we eat now contain microscopic plastic in their flash, and when we digest it, we incorporate same into our systems.
The Village’s very energized Green Committee has prompted the Trustees and me to be more mindful of many of the issues above. I thank them for all their efforts and for keeping me educated and focused on sustainability.
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.