Originally Published: April 20, 2017 6 a.m.
In the sixth century, B.C., the Greek philosopher Pythagoras declared the world was round. People didn’t believe it. It took many centuries and Christopher Columbus sailing around the world and not falling off for people to finally “get it.” Fast forward a few thousand years and now we have a consensus agreement from 97 percent of the scientific community that says that climate change is not only real, but also potentially devastating. The difference now is we don’t have centuries left to get this one right.
On April 25, the Prescott City Council will vote on the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. If approved, our Mayor would pledge to mitigate the current and future effects of climate change by developing an energy plan that would take positive steps towards energy independence, water conservation, and increasing the use of clean, alternative energy. We have the perfect example of why this plan makes good fiscal sense right here in Prescott.
In 2012, Sacred Heart Catholic Church initiated a clean energy retrofit at their church and school. This included converting plumbing to low-water usage, replacing windows, installing 622 solar panels as a shaded parking structure, and rooftop solar on both buildings. Now, five years later, Sacred Heart produces 270,000 kilowatts of electricity annually. They receive no electric bill. Actually, SRP pays them for the extra energy they produce. They have reduced their water consumption by over 50,000 gallons per year. Their carbon footprint has been reduced by over 418,326 pounds per year. Their annual utility costs have fallen from $94,500 to $29,500 per year. Their projected return on investment shows that, after 25 years, their savings will be between 1.3 and 1.6 million dollars. That’s a lot of pensions paid.
Prescott could do this. It could create clean energy jobs locally, and save millions of dollars. And more importantly, we as a community would have made an impact on saving this planet. I urge the City Council to vote “yes” and adopt the Mayor’s Climate Change Agreement. The world is round. It’s up to us to believe it.