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Science and the Public Interest: An Open Letter to President-Elect Trump and the 115th Congress

Thousands of scientists have joined in an open letter calling on the incoming Trump administration and 115th Congress to ensure that science continues to play a strong role in protecting public health and well-being.

The letter, whose signers include 22 Nobel Prize winners, asks the Trump administration and Congress to take action in four areas: creating “a strong and open culture of science”; ensuring that public safeguards such as the Clean Air Act remain strongly grounded in science; adhering to high standards of scientific integrity and independence; and providing adequate resources to enable federal scientists to do their vitally important jobs.

The text of the letter is below. If you are a scientist and would like to add your name to the letter, you can do so here.

An Open Letter to President-Elect Trump
and the 115th Congress

Scientific knowledge has played a critical role in making the United States a powerful and prosperous nation and improving the health and well-being of Americans and people around the world. From disease outbreaks to climate change to national security to technology innovation, people benefit when our nation’s policies are informed by science unfettered by inappropriate political or corporate influence.

To build on this legacy and extend the benefits of science to all people, including Americans who have been left behind, the federal government must support and rely on science as a key input for crafting public policy. Policy makers and the public alike require access to high-quality scientific information to serve the public interest. There are several actions Congress and the Trump administration should take to strengthen the role that science plays in policy making.

First, creating a strong and open culture of science begins at the top. Federal agencies should be led by officials with demonstrated track records of respecting science as a critical component of decision making. Further, recognizing that diversity makes science stronger, administration officials should welcome and encourage all scientists regardless of religious background, race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Second, Congress and the Trump administration should ensure our nation’s bedrock public health and environmental laws—such as the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act—retain a strong scientific foundation, and that agencies are able to freely collect and draw upon scientific data to effectively carry out statutory responsibilities established by these laws. They should also safeguard the independence of those outside the government who provide scientific advice.

Third, Congress and the Trump administration should adhere to high standards of scientific integrity and independence in responding to current and emerging public health and environmental threats. Decision makers and the public need to know what the best-available scientific evidence is, not what vested interests might wish it to be. Federally funded scientists must be able to develop and share their findings free from censorship or manipulation based on politics or ideology. These scientists should, without fear of reprisal or retaliation, have the freedom and responsibility to:

  • conduct their work without political or private-sector interference
  • candidly communicate their findings to Congress, the public, and their scientific peers
  • publish their work and participate meaningfully in the scientific community
  • disclose misrepresentation, censorship, and other abuses of science
  • ensure that scientific and technical information coming from the government is accurate

Finally, Congress and the Trump administration should provide adequate resources to enable scientists to conduct research in the public interest and effectively and transparently carry out their agencies’ missions. The consequences are real: without this investment, children will be more vulnerable to lead poisoning, more people will be exposed to unsafe drugs and medical devices, and we will be less prepared to limit the impacts of increasing extreme weather and rising seas.

These steps are necessary to create a thriving scientific enterprise that will strengthen our democracy and bring the full fruits of science to all Americans and the world. The scientific community is fully prepared to constructively engage with and closely monitor the actions of the Trump administration and Congress. We will continue to champion efforts that strengthen the role of science in policy making and stand ready to hold accountable any who might seek to undermine it.

SolarCircle Referral Program

Greenlight Solar is excited to announce the launch of our SolarCircle Referral Program.  Due to inexpensive, high-efficiency panels, in addition to robust government incentives (smoke em while you got em), it’s clear that now is the best time in history to go solar.  We can install panels on your roof at no cost, and your monthly solar payments are guaranteed to be lower than your current electricity costs.  Solar is officially cleaner and cheaper, and there’s no reason left not to make the switch.

We also realize that not everyone owns a home or has a roof that qualifies for solar, whether due to roof direction, condition, or shading.  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be an essential part of the solar revolution, while reaping both its financial and environmental benefits.

With SolarCircle, now you can simply refer a friend, family member, coworker, or anyone else you know who owns their home and might be interested in going solar.  We will send them a free custom solar proposal detailing what panels look like on their roof and all the money they can save.  If they decide to move forward, you will receive a $500 check from Greenlight Solar as soon as their system installs.  It’s as simple as that.  You have nothing to lose, and $500—not to mention a clean, healthy, sustainable planet—to gain.

Welcome to the Green-conomy.  It’s not about extracting precious and limited resources from the ground and pumping them into the air and water, reducing our time and quality of life on this planet while the profits are siphoned into the hands of a privileged few.  This is about promoting health and savings while benefitting everyone involved.

Solar saves homeowners money.  Solar earns referrers money.  Solar heals our common home.

Become a part of the SolarCircle revolution.  It affects us all, and it will take us all to put this planet on a path towards a brighter future.

Referral - Main Site



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3 Ways to Shrink Your Energy Bills

As New Yorkers, we all know what summer feels like: hot, humid, and muggy. The only sanctuary is the nearest air-conditioned room. In fact, all seasons more or less begin and end with complaints. It’s too hot in the summer; it’s too cold in the winter, etc. As time wears on, and the complaints become redundant, we move on to electricity costs. This is the state of our planet, and according to New Scientist, it is not changing anytime soon. So what can we do about it?

Simple Solutions

Sure, we might adjust thermostats to 80 and invest thousands in energy-efficient appliances, but that’s not ideal for a number of reasons. It is costly, which is the opposite of our objective, and it’s just plain uncomfortable. Simple steps like using heat-generating appliances at night or washing laundry in cold water are more realistic. Thanks to modern technology, your new fancy washer can get the job done with cold water AND save you up to $152 per year!

Light Home Improvement

Let’s take slightly bigger steps in our search for savings. Consider your light bulbs. We all know we can save money by turning off the lights when we leave a room. A more prudent move would be to change your inefficient fluorescent lightbulbs to LED bulbs and save about $300 per year! The same way we wouldn’t fry bacon in sweltering heat to save on our AC costs, we shouldn’t live in the dark to save a few dollars. Since 2008, the cost of LED bulbs has fallen 85%, making it simple and accessible for anyone to switch. Most applications don’t require retrofitting or special fixtures of any kind.

Change a Few Habits

The biggest energy hogs for most people are obviously air-conditioning and heating. Could it be that we’re just unwilling to adapt to the seasons? Countless buildings are so frigid in the summer that a sweater or jacket is required to stay comfortable. Adjusting your thermostat to comfortable, but not freezing, temperatures is the simple solution. Smart thermostat’s like NEST allow you to program your home to monitor usage and automatically save energy when you’re out. Its useful interface also monitors carbon monoxide and smoke levels from your smartphone.

Nest Thermostat Page Image

Get a free NEST thermostat when you request a free customer solar proposal by entering the rebate code GLNEST today!

These simple ideas and others will save you hundreds per year and are the easiest way to achieve short term savings. In the long term, however, Solar Power is by far the best option. Utility rates will continue to increase each year, just as they have for the past 20 years, and we’ll only have more electronic devices in our homes in the future. That’s why homeowners who want to save $10,000-$39,000 over the next 20 years have made the switch to solar. With $0 installation costs, sizable tax credits, and guaranteed fixed rates, you can beat the market by saying one word: Yes. Greenlight Solar gives you a guaranteed rate that is lower than your current bill and is fixed for the next 20 years. We take care of all the work; you enjoy all the savings.

Request your free custom proposal today to see what panels look like on your roof and discover how much you can save:

  • Enter rebate code if you have one.
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Can Solar Really Save Me Money?

If you’re one of the millions of homeowners looking for ways to cut down on expenses, solar energy is the answer you’ve been looking for.  Homeowners now have highly favorable financing options that have led to over 473,000 installations during 2015.  Residential costs have also dropped 45% since 2010, making it easier than ever to make the switch.

Timing Is Everything

There are two main factors that make switching to Solar a better option now than ever before: state and federal tax credits and the rising costs of utilities. The price of electricity has steadily gone up through the years and is forecasted to continue inflating, according to U.S Energy Information Administration.   However, solar hardware is much less expensive than it was only a few years ago.  Thanks to robust advances in PV solar panel production and government incentives to facilitate this essential energy progress, the cost barriers to going Green have been eliminated.  Solar is now the decisively cheaper option!

How Much Can I Save?

In a recent study by NCCT, customers in America’s 50 largest cities who invest in a 5 kW solar PV system save on average between $44 to $187 per month in their very first year going solar.  As an added bonus, costumers who pay upfront for their systems will see a better return on investment than the stock market over the 25-year average life of the system!  These numbers become very interesting and exciting once you calculate the savings over 5, 10, and even 20 years.

Added to those saving are the state and federal tax incentives. 30% savings from Federal taxes plus additional state tax credits mean you will be paying a fraction of the total system cost.  Deciding which payment option is best for you will determine how much you can save and how soon, and there are a variety of appropriate options for every homeowner.

The Evergreen Solution

To find out exactly how much you can save by switching to solar, request a free proposal from Evergreen Solar today. We utilize 3D mapping technology and your usage history to show you exactly how solar panels will look on your roof and how much money you can save by going Green.  Apply and qualify for $0 upfront installation, hardware, and servicing costs. For a limited time, receive a free NEST thermostat so you can keep track of your solar production and control your home’s energy right from your phone.  Enter discount code NYSUN and request a proposal today!

  • Enter rebate code if you have one.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
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Greenlight in Pennsylvania

“I guess what I’m trying to say is, If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.”

Greenlight Energy is excited to announce our recent expansion of Solar Installation, Renewable Electricity, and Carbon Neutral Natural Gas supply services into Pennsylvania!  Now in our seventh year of serving the northeast with 100% Green energy and products, we continue our growth and further our goal of serving 100,000 customers by 2017!

View our products 

We have worked with our professional installers to service and save our customers an average of 30% off of their utility bill by switching to solar.  Our quick two step proposal makes it easy to see if your home qualifies.

We are also excited to expand our Top Tier Agent Program in order to keep spreading the word about the benefits of going Green. We’ve partnered with local businesses, CPAs, lawyers, real estate agents, and anyone who’s ready to lead their clients and community towards a Green future.

We’re grateful to enter this market and look forward to the opportunity to provide clean, Green, cost-effective renewable energy to homes and businesses throughout the great state of Pennsylvania.

See if your home qualifies for our services. 

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Letter From The President

The White House Letter Head

Dear Greenlight:

Thank you for writing, and for your support of our shared values.  Every day, I hear from people who are concerned about energy issues—from the price they pay at the pump today to the energy portfolio we build for tomorrow.  I am glad you took the time to share your thoughts.

One thing almost everyone can agree on is the need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  And I am proud to say that after years of talk, America is finally making headway.

Thanks to public investment and private ingenuity, we generate more renewable energy today than ever before.  We produce more natural gas than anyone in the world.  And for the first time in nearly two decades, we produce more of our own oil here at home than we buy from other countries.

These steps are good for our economy and our security.  They are also good for families—because producing more American energy creates more American jobs and lowers energy bills for nearly everybody.

Wasting less energy helps us even more.  We set new fuel standards for cars and trucks that will double their mileage and give drivers more bang for their buck at the pump.  We also launched initiatives to put people to work making our homes, businesses, and factories more energy efficient.  That will save businesses money on energy bills that they can use to hire more workers.

And because we are using more clean energy and wasting less, our emissions of dangerous carbon pollution are actually falling while our economy continues to grow.

This is the way forward:  good jobs, cheaper and cleaner energy, and a secure future for our kids.  To keep making progress, we need to double down on low-carbon energy—from wind and solar to nuclear and biofuels.  We should increase responsible natural gas production that boosts our businesses and keeps costs down for families.  And we should keep investing in American technologies that grow our economy while protecting our planet for generations to come.

Thank you, again, for writing.  To learn more about my plan to secure America’s energy future, visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/Energy.


Barack Obama

The White House Letter Footer


AM New York Michael Hartofilis gogreenlightenergy.com

AM New York, “Career 180: The ‘Energetic’ Entrepreneur”

AM New York Discussion with Michael Hartofilis:

Michael Hartofilis understands New York City’s energy first-hand. After growing up working in the insurance business alongside his father, he developed an interest in saving his customers money on their utility bills. Six years ago, the father-and-son team founded Greenlight Energy, an Astoria-based energy service business that provides natural gas and electric to customers in New York, New Jersey and Maryland. Hartofilis, 30, lives in Astoria.

What sparked your interest in the energy biz?

Prior to starting Greenlight Energy, I was 23 years old and working my way up in the health insurance industry, providing plans to small businesses. At the time, there was a lot of uncertainty in health care and the role of the sales agent, and it was also extremely competitive. The initial draw to energy was to get a competitive advantage in the insurance industry by saving customers on their utility bills in addition to their medical insurance. It was basically about finding ways to lower the customer’s bottom line, which is usually a good sell.

Why did you decide to take the leap?

The value of the services we could provide, as well as the potential to grow, became immediately apparent. And because we’d begun by providing only natural gas services through one utility in New York, there was a serious desire to expand our territories as well as the products we could provide. I knew the only way I could do that successfully was to become 100% invested in Greenlight Energy and leave the insurance industry behind. Whole hog, as they say.

What was the first step?

It was coming up with a company name. [My father and I] knew that we wanted to go the green route. I came up with Greenlight Energy mostly because we eventually wanted to get into providing green energy services. At the time, our resources were a little bit limited; we only recently started providing natural gas because it requires a great deal of capital to provide. For the first two years we were only providing natural gas services.

Why are you based in Astoria?

My father grew up in Astoria and he currently lives in Astoria as well, so the idea was I wanted him to be able to walk to the office. I’m also living here and this is where my father grew up. This is where our roots are, so it just makes sense that we should get a stronger presence here and kind of grow from here.

How is Greenlight moving toward providing renewable energy?

We’re currently reaching out to existing customers and new business, offering the opportunity to purchase their electricity supplies from 100% renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. Our goal is to have at least 50% of our customers green by 2017.

What was an unexpected challenge in getting into this biz?

One unforeseeable factor has been the volatility of energy markets. We’ve seen historic highs and lows in some markets since we started six years ago. As it turned out, the only predictable thing about the markets was how unpredictable they were. So we had to adapt fast and did so by signing up our customers with fixed rates for periods of 12 to 24 months. As a result, our customers knew exactly what their natural gas and electric supply rates would be every month and were no longer at the mercy of the markets.

What benefit does Greenlight Energy offer New Yorkers?

Over the last year, we’ve seen Con Edison’s electricity supply rates triple from one month to the next. We can protect our customers against this kind of volatility by locking them into a fixed rate for 12 to 24 months. This also allows the customer to budget their annual utility costs. Knowing how much you have to spend, how much you can save; these concerns seem to be more pressing than ever.

Why might people not sign up for your service?

Lack of information, I guess. There are some misconceptions running through the industry, one being that we’re stealing business away from the customer’s utility (Con Edison, et cetera). But this couldn’t be further from the truth. The local utility companies that deliver our customers’ natural gas and electricity actually endorse third party suppliers like us. And because of our lower operating costs and the opportunity to offer fixed plans, which the utilities cannot, we’re able to consistently provide our customers with stability and savings. We’re offering people something they can use, something that can positively impact their lives and I suppose that’s about the best anyone can do.

What do you like about your new job?

When I was in health insurance, I was working for myself, by myself. As nice as it is to reap the fruits of your own labor, I find it much more fulfilling to see what each of our 15 employees brings to the table every day, to see them growing and succeeding as a member of a team. All that I’ve experienced and learned in this business over the last six years, I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Any advice for readers considering a career 180?

I just wouldn’t be intimated by the unknown. Considering the resources we have now, [there is] access to all kinds of information. And I’m not just talking about Google. You can find somebody in a specific industry or field on LinkedIn and these people are willing to talk to you, especially young people who are looking to get into that field. Do your research and the information is there.

By HEATHER SENISON – Visit original article →