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Oct 16, 2013 9:58 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Green Initiatives, Water Quality On Agendas

Oct 16, 2013 10:11 AM

The Southampton Town Board earlier this month approved the expansion of an incentive program to encourage homeowners and builders to employ energy-saving utilities, like solar electric power panels and geothermal heating and cooling systems.

The adopted amendment to the energy efficiency incentive program will extend it to the installation of solar-powered hot water systems and expand the rebate eligibility from a maximum of $2,500 to $3,500.

The plan also provides incentives to builders by offering expedited permit reviews and a waiver of building department fees for projects that employ sustainable energy systems in new construction projects.

“It’s essential that we continue to explore and promote environmentally-friendly alternatives to fossil fuel on all levels of government,” Councilman Chris Nuzzi, who sponsored the expansion of the incentive program, said in a statement. “The cost of solar energy equipment has decreased over the past several years, but it’s still a substantial investment for a business or homeowner to undertake. By offering rebates and incentives, in combination with state and federal tax credits, the costs of renewable systems can be defrayed significantly …”

The town has also recently approved property tax credits for builders using energy efficient building materials and practices.

Mr. Nuzzi and Councilwoman Christine Scalera have also spearheaded an effort to reduce the use of plastic bags by shoppers at local grocery stores. At the San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons on October 5, the two Town Board members handed out free reusable shopping bags donated by Bach/Grazina East End Orthodontics and filled with gifts from King Kullen and Stop & Shop.

On a related note, the town will host its third annual forum on protecting and restoring water quality in the town’s bays on October 25 at the office of the Peconic Institute on the Stony Brook-Southampton campus. The event will start at 7 p.m. and will feature presentations on storm water management efforts, septic alternatives and the issues facing tidal estuaries and drinking water supplies on the East End. The event is open to the public and is free to attend.

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