Township adopts environmental resolution

The Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors voted 6-1 on Sept. 16 to adopt an environmental resolution to commit the community to 100% renewable and clean electricity by 2035 and in all other energy sectors, such as heating and cooling, by 2050. With the resolution passed, the township has begun implementing and promoting clean energy initiatives throughout the community in the last few months.

The Environmental Advisory Council (EAC), a township board consisting of volunteers appointed by the Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors, will oversee accountability efforts for the resolution in the future. The council has worked with the Sierra Club, a national nonprofit environmental organization, since 2016 to bring the resolution to the Tredyffrin/Easttown township.

“The resolution sends a message to other businesses and other stakeholders. It sends a message to everybody, to higher ups. It sends a message to the people who might want to come here, that we value renewable energy and that’s something that they can look forward to,” said Sierra Club member Jennifer Cox. 

However, the desire to be cost-effective when choosing energy can make it difficult to stick to the resolution’s goals. According to Sierra Club volunteer Jennifer Cox, the accessibility of non-renewable energy has made renewable energy adoption difficult, despite the similar costs of the two energy sources.

“You get renewable energy for the exact same price you pay for fossil fuels. It’s just that (energy companies) will give (non-renewable electricity) to you automatically (so people) go with the fossil fuels,” Cox said.

In order to raise support for the resolution and increase awareness, the EAC hosted a “clean energy tour” showcasing energy conservation technologies that have already been implemented throughout the community, such as solar panels at Berwyn Squash. 

“We wanted (the clean energy tour) to be a certain way of providing practical support to the township so that people can actually see and make the connections that would help them (implement renewables) in their own homes and businesses. It’s meant to forward the township fulfilling the resolution,” said EAC board member Signe Hansen.

EAC board member Rutger Boerema said that she encourages community members and especially high school students to participate in the initiative by attending future clean energy tours and lobbying events. 

“We would like to have more high schoolers involved. I think it is a really powerful (when) kids speak up,” Boerema said. 

In addition to promoting renewable energy usage, the EAC will attempt fulfill the goals of the resolution by analyzing energy conservation in local buildings, participating in the U.S. Department of Energy backed Solsmart program to improve access to solar energy and implementing electric vehicle chargers in public locations.

Keeping these goals in mind, the township has hired PECO — Pennsylvania’s electric and natural gas provider — to oversee energy waste analyses on heating, cooling and solarization potential in coming years. Remodeling efforts followed a recent analysis on the T/E township building, foreshadowing the potential of many other buildings to promote energy conservation.

In the future, EAC members plan to join other municipalities with similar resolutions for a joint energy purchase to bring down costs of moving towards their goal. They also hope to implement electric vehicles, such as electric school buses, for municipal use with the ultimate goal of fulfilling the resolution.