Under the leadership of Eric Alexander, Vision Long Island will hold the 20th Annual Smart Growth Conference in 2023. While the emphasis has been on communities and small business, environmental concerns have come to play a dominant role in recent years. This article is a synopsis of what I learned by attending workshops at the 2022 Smart Growth Conference.

Off-shore wind turbines will be online delivering 1,000 megawatts of electricity to Long Island by 2030. Lithium Battery facilities, with commensurate energy storage capacity, will be in place. Over time, off-shore wind power will increase five-fold.

We shall all be forced to transition to electric cars as automobile manufacturer’s discontinue the production of gasoline and diesel vehicles. This means we need more electric charging stations. Accordingly, PSE&G will pay 90 percent of the cost to install any charging station that is available for public use. Next year, PSE&G will change its standard billing to be based on time of day use. (You can opt out to stay with current billing method.)

Over 30,000 homes on Long Island now have rooftop solar panels. It is projected that this will increase to 180,000 in the next three or four years. The full 30 percent federal tax credit has been reinstated to offset installation costs. More importantly, quality solar panels now degrade at a rate well below one percent a year. This means a rooftop system will deliver over 90 percent on its initial output throughout the typical life span of a roof.

Heat pumps are reversible air conditioners. One or more ductless air source units can effectively air condition your home or business all summer at an installation cost comparable to a typical central air system. The drawback of air source heat pumps is that they cannot heat your house when the outside temperature drops below a certain level. That minimum temperature is now single digits Fahrenheit, rendering these units adequate for Long Island.

New York City just passed an All-Electric Building law which applies to new construction. While comparable building practices have not been codified on Long Island, some builders are choosing to do the right thing. This was mentioned in a session on Affordable Housing. For these all-electric dwellings, air source heat pumps provide heating and hot water; induction stoves do the cooking. It is expected that purchase prices and maintenance of all-electric homes will be affordable.

Submitted by Jim Peters for the Green Sanctuary Committee