POWER COU­PLE

Mayor Steve Noble and his wife, Julie, prac­tice what they preach on en­vi­ron­ment, and save money

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Diane Pineiro-Zucker dpzucker@free­manon­line.com di­aneat­free­man on Twit­ter

KINGSTON >> For Kingston’s first cou­ple, be­ing green isn’t hard, it’s the Noble thing to do.

When they first met at Kingston High School and since their mar­riage 12 years ago, Kingston Mayor Steve Noble and his wife, Julie, an en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tor for the city, say they have been com­mit­ted to en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism.

They’ve talked the talk and they’re walk­ing (or bik­ing) the walk “be­cause it’s the right thing to do,” Julie said. “It’s for our own health, for our fam­ily’s en­vi­ron­ment and for the health of the en­vi­ron­ment . ... It’s just the way we live.”

The Nobles’ Wil­son Av­enue home in the Roo­sevelt Park area of the city is a vir­tual en­vi­ron­men­tal show­piece.

The cou­ple and their 5-yearold son, Matthew, live in a 1,600-square-foot house fea­tur­ing a leased 6.5-kilo­watt so­lar ar­ray, which pro­vides vir­tu­ally all of the fam­ily’s elec­tri­cal needs, in­clud­ing enough elec­tric­ity to keep one elec­tric car (a Ford Fo­cus) and one hy­brid (a Chevy Volt) charged.

They’ve changed every light bulb in the house to LED, Julie said, and un­der those 20 so­lar pan­els, the Nobles have in­stalled “spe­cially de­signed, en­ergy-ef­fi­cient” re­flec­tive roof shin­gles. Of course, their ap­pli­ances are also en­ergy-ef­fi­cient and, while the fam­ily does own a clothes dryer, they dry most of their laun­dry on a clothes­line, Julie said.

“We pay $24 to Cen­tral Hud­son, which is solely for the ser­vice fees to con­nect to the grid. We pay $50 on our lease to pay for the so­lar pan­els,” Julie said. “There is no elec­tric­ity charge. All elec­tric­ity is cov­ered by so­lar, and we ac­tu­ally make more than we need in the course of a year, so we get a re­fund at the end of the year.”

And, if that’s not green

enough, the mayor nearly al­ways rides to work on a bi­cy­cle, Julie said re­cently, adding that, at about a mile, it’s not a dif­fi­cult com­mute.

The fam­ily has con­verted a ma­jor por­tion of its lawn space into fruit and veg­etable gar­dens. In def­er­ence to Matthew, who “still likes to throw around a ball,” they’ve left a bit of grass to play on, Julie said. And the lawn and gar­dens are kept hy­drated by wa­ter col­lected in rain bar­rels and dis­persed via a so­lar-pow­ered pump.

Even the grass clip­pings from what’s left of the lawn and the or­ganic waste from their fruits and veg­eta­bles are com­posted by the fam­ily in a back­yard com­poster, she said. Af­ter re­cy­cling ev­ery­thing they can, the Nobles only gen­er­ate enough non-re­new­able, non-re­cy­clable, non-com­postable waste to fill two small garbage bags a week.

From clean­ing prod­ucts to toi­letries to lawn care, the fam­ily avoids toxic chem­i­cals and, Julie said, it may have taken a bit more work, but the fam­ily’s lawn “looks just like ev­ery­one else’s at this point.”

Julie said she and the mayor “started think­ing and liv­ing this way in high school,” where they were both in­volved in en­vi­ron­men­tal groups, and their com­mit­ment has seam­lessly car­ried into their adult lives.

Both earned en­vi­ron­men­tal science de­grees at the SUNY Col­lege of En­vi­ron­men­tal Science and Forestry. And they were both en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tors for the city un­til Steve was elected mayor in 2015.

For any­one who might like to give some of the Nobles’ ap­proach a try, Julie pro­vided the fol­low­ing links:

• For home en­ergy as­sess­ment au­dits for mak­ing your home en­ergy ef­fi­cient, visit www.Saveen­er­gy­hud­son­va­l­ley.org or call RUPCO on Fair Street in Kingston, (845) 331-2140

• Re­cy­cling, com­post­ing and house­hold haz­ardous waste in­for­ma­tion for Ul­ster County is avail­able on­line at www.ucrra.org and at the Ul­ster County Re­source Re­cov­ery Agency on Flat­bush Av­enue.

• For in­for­ma­tion on En­ergy Star ap­pli­ances, visit www.en­er­gys­tar.gov/ prod­ucts.

• For in­for­ma­tion on so­lar en­ergy, visit www.so lar­ize­hud­son­va­l­ley.org, So lar­ize Hud­son Val­ley

• To learn about green­ing your land­scape, con­tact the Cor­nell Co­op­er­a­tive Ex­ten­sion of Ul­ster County Mas­ter Gar­dener Pro­gram.

• For bik­ing in­for­ma­tion, visit www.BikeFriend­lyKingston.org.

• For rain­wa­ter col­lec­tion tips and in­for­ma­tion about “green­ing your home,” visit www.sus­tain­ableul­ster.org.

PHO­TOS BY TA­NIA BARRICKLO—DAILY FREEMAN

Julie and Steve Noble in their Kingston back yard with their son, Matthew, 5 1/2.

The fam­ily’s Chevy Volt sits in their drive­way plugged in to charge its bat­tery.

PHO­TOS BY TA­NIA BARRICKLO—DAILY FREEMAN

Hang­ing your laun­dry out to dry and avoid­ing a dryer is a sim­ple way to save en­ergy.

The Nobles have even made the point to their son Matthew, 5 1/2, that his first car is elec­tric.

So­lar pan­els cover the Noble’s Kingston home.

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