(Lewisburg) --A project designed to make one Union County community more energy efficient could be adopted elsewhere across the region or even the state. The New Berlin Energy Independence Project is, as its name would suggest, meant to encourage residents, businesses -- everyone in the borough and some surrounding communities -- to work together to use less energy. The SEDA Council of Governments in Lewisburg is managing the initiative, the end result of which will be an "action plan" which could include green energy incentives and appliance recycling programs. The community-wide approach is what makes the project unique, according to Megan Epler, an energy specialist with SEDA-COG. She says it's hoped the effort will "light the way for other local governments." "One of the main reasons that we got the funding to pursue the project is because it's meant to be replicable," she says. "New Berlin is sort of a test. We're doing what we can and we're going to be documenting everything with the ultimate goal, of course, being to move toward greater energy independence." Epler says coordinators have achieved an 85 percent participation rate as they circulate questionnaires designed to find out how much energy is currently being used in and around New Berlin. She adds the action plan will be developed over the next few months.The Appalachian Regional Commission and PPL are also providing funding for the project.
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