12 Rms, 8 Bths, 38 Wind Turbines
To: The board of directors, 814 Park Avenue
From: Lydia Katherine Powell-Watley, Apt. 10 C-D
Dear Beloved Fellow Neighbors,
As much as it pains me to needlessly waste paper products, here are the suggestions I discussed at the annual shareholders’ meeting last week. I apologize for having spoken at such length; I’m just so incredibly excited about the idea of having our whole co-op reduce its carbon footprint.
As you know, Bob and I have canceled our annual post-holiday trips to Anguilla and Taos in order to reduce our personal carbon footprints. (Bob is busy with deals anyway, two of which involve ethanol!) So I’ll be around until March break to begin implementing these changes so that we all can help save our glorious planet.
1. It’s crucial that we begin harvesting rainwater immediately. According to the co-op’s proprietary lease, shareholders who have terraces don’t actually own their outdoor square footage, so reclaiming them should not be a problem. Bob suggests using sort of a cross between eminent domain and “pleading footprint.”
For our little terrace off the library, I’ve ordered a 500-gallon free-standing elliptical leg tank made of high-density polyethylene with no UV inhibitors. My feeling is, solar-heat the rainwater and deal with it later. Mr. Ramirez says that his brother has a company that can install the collection piping.
2. I’ve spoken to Time Warner about whether their coaxial and fiber optic cable can be restrung laterally across the courtyard for laundry drying. Needless to say how much energy this will save. Bob knows several people on the TWX board and says he’ll pitch them on the “P.C.-P.R.” of this.
The operator I spoke to (Magda was on hold for hours, though she has extra time now that I’ve stopped her doing the towels every day) said that he thought it wouldn’t affect basic cable reception but wasn’t sure about high-def. Bob says we shouldn’t do this until well after the Final Four.
3. Our underused roof can house up to 38 wind turbine generators. Unlike solar energy, wind doesn’t get dark at night, if you know what I mean. Each one can create 200 watts of power at wind speeds as low as 15 m.p.h. Basically we can run the lights in the playroom for a year off one good nor’easter.
4. We must stop flower delivery immediately!!! They are imported from South America and the energy required to fly them into the country, truck them to the stores and deliver them to our lobby is leaving a huge nasty footprint.
Alternatively, there are several beautifully decorative worm farm/herb planters on the market. I recommend the Mission style to create a more Arts-and-Craftsy feel. The units are totally sealed to protect the worms from any bugs. And dogs! The bottom compost section inside the timber casing creates a stable warm temperature that worms love. Happy worms make delicious herbs. I have these in Quogue and they’re gorgeous. And many of you have tasted my pesto!
We can start with three of these exactly where we kept the flowers. If demand for the herbs is high we can add more wormers to the lobby and basement. I’m obviously not worried about getting compost. By the way, the herbs have to be watered. Did I hear someone say “rainwater”?
5. Bulbs. Don’t get me started. Every bulb in every one of our apartments, hallways, lobby and basement should be immediately changed to energy-efficient and environment-saving ones. Magda and/or I will personally change anyone’s bulbs upon request (the first time).
6. We need to immediately attach energy-converting generators to all the stationary bicycles, rowing machines and NordicTracks in the basement gym. With current usage levels, we could power several small appliances and all of Jorge and Jose’s hand tools. Mr. Ramirez says that his cousin has a company that can do the installation.
7. Although I’m told the turnout at this year’s holiday party was rather bleak, I think we should do once-a-week potluck dinners in our new eco-friendly lobby. To cut down on the energy required to make our own meals, yes. But also to share and exchange new and exciting ideas about how to further “green” the building. For example, if we all donate one old shearling to wrap the boiler, we could save money and reduce our big old footprint.
8. We should penalize S.U.V. idlers outside the building, the way that principal at the 92nd Street Y did. In fact, we should have a simple carbon footprint rating and award system in the building. Maybe the winner gets to miss a month’s maintenance charge. I don’t know. Maybe a plaque. It just seems like such a waste to have drivers waiting outside the building all the time, even in hybrids.
This is an exciting time for all of us who care about our environment. Imagine us growing our food in our own waste, powering our elevators with our StairMasters. Bob says this wasn’t a problem before underdeveloped countries started to experience economic growth. I think we can not only reduce our carbon footprint but have fun too! And be a positive symbol to our entire community.
If anyone has any questions, I’ll be in Bedford on BlackBerry.
One of our mares is foaling!
Rick Moranis is the creator of rickmoranis.com.