The Kaufman Astoria Studios (KAS) in Queens, NY, home of Sesame Street and a multitude of other television shows, movies, commercials, and recorded music, has produced much of our cinematic history, hosting such stars as Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, Woody Allen, and Denzel Washington. A mainstay in New York City since Adolph Zukor opened its doors in 1920, the studio's recent productions include Wall Street 2, Nurse Jackie, and the remake of the Taking of Pelham 123. This New York landmark has begun a transition from traditional heating oil to a blend containing bio-diesel fuel.
The switch to a bio-diesel blend will eliminate the use of over 70,000 tons of carbon dioxide and reduce the consumption of 4,000 gallons of petroleum per year. The fuel is known as "GreenHeat" and is contracted through local energy distributor Metro Oil. KAS had been using #2 oil, but has switched to a B5 residual/bio-diesel blend and is now the largest user of this fuel in New York City. The studio's president, Hal Rosenbluth, says it was an imperative to
"move to greener, more renewable heating oil... it was the perfect time to make a change as we have been looking for ways to go green around the complex. The initiative to switch our heating oil fit naturally into our plans and we now have a new heating plant in the studio."
While the elimination of the burning of fossil fuels is not going to happen overnight, or even in the next few decades, it's this type of transition that is most important in the combating of greenhouse gases. So many of us grew up learning from the gang at Sesame Street -- hopefully the producers will find a way to bring this story line into their shows. It may take a Muppet to teach the benefits of renewable energy to today's youth, but it's adults that have the most to learn.
Jonathan A. Schein is president and CEO of ScheinMedia and publisher of MetroGreenBusiness.com