By Anna Gustafson
Queens residents will be able to get tips on how to make their homes and businesses more environmentally friendly from green groups as well as city and state agencies at the Central Queens YM & YWHA in Forest Hills next week.
The June 15 “Greening Your Building Forum” will begin at 7 p.m. and include information on a wide variety of environmental topics, including energy conservation, recycling and local community gardens. It is free and open to the public.
“People are beginning to be aware of serious environmental issues we have like climate change, but many of us wonder what I can do about it,” said Peggy Kurtz, a spokesman for the Y. “The problem is getting information into people’s hands about concrete steps they can take. We want to get this information to people.”
The program is part of an ongoing series of events on the environment hosted by the Y, which is in the middle of its own 18-month greening initiative in which it is setting up recycling programs and trying to use less paper and fewer disposable goods. The forum is being presented by the city Department of Housing Preservation & Development, the Central Queens Y Greening Initiative and the Queens Green Alliance — a group of borough synagogues, the Church in the Gardens in Forest Hills and local environmental groups.
Representatives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will inform residents about a multitude of programs people can take advantage of to conserve energy in their own homes, from reduced-price green audits to using more environmentally friendly light bulbs.
Heather Govern, a NYSERDA Energy Smart communities coordinator who will speak at the forum, said the state has a host of programs that can help people with the costs that come along with making a building more energy efficient, including reduced rates for energy audits and financial help with purchasing new appliances or weatherizing a house.
“As part of NYSERDA’s home performance programs, you can get an energy audit done and it can show you where there’s holes all over the building walls to see where heat is escaping from during the winter time and, if they have air conditioning, where cool air can leak out of during the summertime,” Govern said. “An auditor finds the leaks, checks the insulation and provides a list of recommendations and energy-efficiency measures to take.”
The president of the New York City Sierra Club, Dan Miner, will speak about its cool roofs project, whose goal is to paint city buildings’ roofs white in order to save energy.
As part of the Y’s ongoing efforts to inform the public about the environment, the organization will host Rabbi Lawrence Troster, a national environmental leader who will speak about climate change at 1:30 p.m. Troster is the fellowship director of GreenFaith, an environmental organization of Jews, Christians and Muslims that addresses what role religion can play in addressing climate change.
The Central Queens Y is at 67-09 108 St. in Forest Hills. For more information on the forum or Troster’s talk, call 718-268-5011, Ext. 151 or visit cqyjcc.org.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.