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Clifton Park takes on green causes for Earth Hour

In honor of Earth Hour, lights will be out from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Clifton Park Halfmoon Public Library Saturday, March 29.

I think it's a very exciting opportunity for us to expose people to a global cause, said librarian Melinda Taormina.

Earth Hour is a worldwide initiative focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. People are urged to turn off their lights from 8 to 9 p.m. Saturday, and begin making a permanent habit of turning off lights that are not in use.

Taormina said the library will conduct its Earth Hour during operating hours so that it can have a greater impact. She added that turning out the lights would not affect the emergency alert systems or checking books in or out of the library.

Taormina said that each person can make a difference by participating in Earth Hour.

"It can start on a local level, and it can have a global impact," she said.

The library is not the only town organization working to raise awareness about greenhouse gas emissions. During the past three Clifton Park Town Council meetings, the topic of conservation came up time and again.

At the Monday, March 3, Town Council meeting, the Government Re-thinking Energy and Environmental Need, or GREEN, committee issued recommendations on ways to promote energy efficiency and reduce the town's carbon footprint.

The committee, which consists of members in different areas of environmental and energy conservation work, was created in November.

"We are a town of 36,000 individuals, and if we can get everybody to do a little, we can do a lot," said Thomas Paolucci, councilman and co-chair of the committee.

The group presented the findings of a New York State Energy Research and Development Agency audit of five town-owned buildings that showed 70 percent of carbon gas emissions are from buildings, and the remaining 30 percent comes from transportation, including buses, trains and cars. The audit covered the highway complex, transfer station, public safety building, senior center and town hall. The audit found the town's carbon footprint to be approximately equivalent to 2,634 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

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