Sierra Club Campaign Wants Communities To Sign On to 100% Renewable Energy
The Ready for 100 Renewable Energy Campaign is a grassroots movement organized by the Sierra Club to encourage cities and towns across the country to transition to 100% renewable energy. The program has taken off in our area, with dozens of boroughs and townships in southeastern Pennsylvania taking action.
By making this commitment, elected officials resolve to get their municipal operations running on 100% renewable energy by 2035 for electricity, and 2050 to heat buildings and power municipal vehicles.
Phoenixville led this effort in southeastern Pennsylvania by making their Ready for 100 commitment in 2017. In January 2019, Springfield Township became the first Montgomery County municipality to commit. Philadelphia, meanwhile, passed their resolution in September of last year.
“We in Springfield Township are proud to play a leading role in addressing climate change at the municipal level by committing to a goal of using completely renewable energy,” said Baird Standish, president of Springfield’s Board of Commissioners.
Eleven other Montgomery county municipalities have made the commitment, including Ambler, Plymouth and Whitemarsh townships, as well as municipalities in Bucks, Chester, and Delaware counties. (You can see the full list at www.sierraclub.org/pennsylvania/southeastern/ready-for-100)
Beyond municipal operations, the Ready for 100 resolutions passed by elected officials aim to inspire residents, businesses and schools to move to 100% renewable energy as well. A big part of this vision is to significantly increase the amount of solar power on the rooftops of residential, commercial, and non-profit buildings.
Solarize campaigns are actively working on this part of the initiative. Solarize groups can assess your roof and potential for generating solar power, and then compare that to your annual electricity usage to see if you’re a good candidate for solar. They can answer questions, discuss costs and benefits, and connect residents with local, vetted installers.
“Each of us, whether at home, at work or at the municipal level, need to be mindful of our energy expenses and how these contribute to carbon emissions from coal, oil and gas,” said Weavers Way member Meenal Raval, the volunteer coordinator for Solarize Southeast PA and the Ready for 100 effort in Philadelphia. “The energy we choose to use can be cleaner and more efficient, therefore safer for all of us, as well as costing less.”
As any entity, be it a municipality, a household or a business, considers moving to renewable energy, the first step is to assess how much conventional energy is being used, and reduce that amount through energy efficiency and conservation measures. It then makes sense to move to renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
In Springfield Township last fall, the commissioners ordered an energy audit of their municipal buildings. “The results were impressive, with anticipated annual savings of $16,000, while avoiding 206,000 pounds of carbon pollution each year,” said Standish.
If you’re in the suburbs and want to find out what your municipality is doing about moving to 100% renewable energy, contact email@example.com or go to readyfor100.org/montcopa. In Philadelphia, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in exploring solar for your property, contact solarizephilly.org in the city, or solarizesoutheastpa.com in the suburbs. In addition, PECO will perform reasonably priced residential energy audits. See peco.com/WaysToSave/ForYourHome/Pages/Assessment.aspx for more information.
Joy Bergey is a member of Weavers Way, a Flourtown resident, and vice chair of Springfield Township’s Environmental Advisory Commission.