Hudson has opportunities and we have a storied history of bold moves that we have made stick on some green issues like pesticides. But, we’ve somehow lost our ability to act, to embrace and to empower complex and especially controversial forward looking changes.
I’m trying to think big ideas for our future, but think we need to start by implementing small logical steps leading in the correct direction. Also, I would like to promote ideas that more of our citizens might feel comfortable supporting with a comment or like so that council might get a sense of security or comfort to allow them to implement small changes.
We’re intending to revise a bunch of bylaws and zoning, so I thought I’d start to throw some of my own thinking in from way out in left field. I’ll start one green tidbit at a time in baby step form, copy Council and see if they bring any of these ideas forward into a resolution that can be stated in one or two sentences plus the required raft of Whereas clauses to make it legal and binding.
I’ll start with the smallest of greenhouse gas reduction initiatives that could be adopted by council resolution at next council, if there’s will. It doesn’t require a committee, it doesn’t require consultants, public consultations and it fits with our loosely adopted, mainly for appearance of green, but already ignored by our own Council, Green House Gas Reduction planning. Yes, we paid a consultant to have a greenhouse gas reduction plan and then later installed a replacement oil furnace in a town building and it might have been the correct decision.
Green Baby Step One: No more fossil fuel powered new buildings will be approved.
Yes, that’s the whole bylaw or resolution. And no, it doesn’t really change much, except it shows a clear direction by closing less green doors. Just outright ban oil, natural gas and hybrid wood fired furnaces and water heaters for new construction.
That makes electric and solar the only approvable HVAC and water heater systems for new builds in Hudson. In Quebec virtually 100% of our electric power is renewable hydro-electric, wind or solar, and we have virtually no input from oil, coal, natural gas, or nuclear.
Do not ban replacement oil or natural gas furnaces for existing structures; because the cost and complexity to retrofit old oil fired heating systems with new electric can be very high relative to the value of the home. That’s basically the reason Hudson retrofitted a town heating system with a new oil furnace, and while it wasn’t exemplary of green intentions, it was the correct decision due to current financial constraints. Besides, the new oil furnaces are so much more efficient than the old ones that if an existing furnace is more than 10-15 years old it would pay you back quickly to replace it and save a bunch of fossil fuel and the resulting greenhouse gases. Call your favourite local oil furnace guy and ask him how much it would cost and how much you can save.