The Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Certification program, one of 10 High Impact Actions communities can complete to become a Clean Energy Community, provides municipalities with a robust framework to guide their local climate action.
CSC Certification recognizes high-performing communities for their leadership in reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate. Designed around 10 pledge elements, the CSC Certification program honors communities for their accomplishments through a rating system leading to four levels of award: Certified, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Communities can choose from more than 120 individual actions to earn points toward certification.
Attend the workshop at the Guilderland Library on April 19th to:
- Learn about the CSC program, greenhouse gas inventories, climate action planning and CSC grants available to municipalities
- Hear from local municipalities about their experience with the CSC program
- Identify the technical assistance your community can receive from a Clean Energy Community Coordinator
Register Here: https://conta.cc/2XnHsN7
Do you want to reduce energy costs for your community?
In December, ANCA’s Clean Energy team and contractor partners Troy & Banks and Wendel Energy led a two-day workshop for municipal leaders focused on aggregated LED street light design.
To learn more about LED street light aggregation, contact us at .
Photo: ANCA Energy Circuit Rider Nancy Bernstein presents at the two-day workshop at the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at Clinton Community College.
LED STREETLIGHT CONVERSION SUPPORT
- – Cost and Energy Savings: Many communities are converting their streetlights to LEDs and capturing significant cost and energy savings by doing so! Communities are aggregating their streetlighting projects in partnership with NYPA to bring costs down in several of our counties.
- – Hudson Valley Regional Council (HVRC) can provide significant assistance to your community, including provision of an LED Streetlighting Conversion Costs Analysis. This analysis outlines side-by-side the potential savings for LED conversion in both utility and municipally-owned conversion pathways, based on your community’s current street lighting bills.
- – Contact HVRC today at (845) 564-4075 to sign-up for your free LED Streetlighting Conversion Costs Analysis!
- – Dutchess County’s Climate Smart Community Task Force held their first meeting on 12/20/18 to outline the County’s plans to pursue Climate Smart Community certification in the next 12-18 months.
- – Many municipalities in the Mid-Hudson Region received funding via the 2018 NYS Consolidated Funding Application. The full list of awarded projects includes many communities that received NYSDEC Climate Smart Communities funding.
- – NYSDEC’s 2018 CSC Climate Smart awards in our region include:
- – The Town of Philipstown was awarded $6,000 for its Climate Smart Communities Campaign. In addition, Philipstown’s received $9,670 to inventory greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through a consumption-based inventory.
- – The Town of Poughkeepsie was awarded $45,000 for its Comprehensive Plan Update with Sustainability Elements. Poughkeepsie’s comprehensive plan update will include a complete streets policy, bicycle and walking infrastructure planning, and a natural resource inventory.
- – The Village of Port Chester received $50,000 to develop its Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan, a climate adaptation strategy for sea-level rise along the Byram River.
The Town of Plattsburgh (Town) received a $100,000 award from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for completing at least four of the 10 High Impact Actions and qualifying as a Clean Energy Community.
- Benchmarking – Plattsburgh adopted a policy to record and report annual energy consumption at Town Hall, allowing it to be compared against other buildings and to better identify opportunities to cut energy waste.
- Clean Fleets – Installed an EVCS.
- Solarize – Joined the Solarize Adirondack Coast campaign. The town used a $5,000 grant to work with two local companies to bring affordable residential solar to more than 20 households, for a total installation of 164 kilowatts.
- Unified Solar Permit – Adopted the New York State Unified Solar Permit to reduce costs and delays for solar projects in the jurisdiction. The town received a $2,500 incentive for this action.
- Energy Code Enforcement Training – Town of Plattsburgh code-enforcement officers and two other Town employees underwent training in best practices in energy code enforcement through collaborative plans reviews, and joint onsite inspections of local construction projects.
The Town of Plattsburgh is utilizing the $100,000 in grant money from NYSERDA to help fund four projects:
- Purchase a plug-in hybrid vehicle. The Town has added to its fleet a 2018 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid and plans to wrap the vehicle with the town logo and NYSERDA Clean Energy Community logo to help promote the mission to the greater public. According to the town supervisor, use of the vehicle will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.6 tons a year and cut gasoline use by 546 gallons a year.
- The Town’s capital plan includes an upgrade of three aging constant-speed pumps and motors at the Bullis Road Water Plant. Part of the CEC grant will be used to install three 125 HP 460V variable frequency drives on the new motors. This will reduce expected energy use by 20 to 30 percent and will deliver significant energy and cost savings benefits.
- Installation of LED lighting in its parks and outside of Town Hall. The Town calculated that change will reduce annual energy use by 48,000 kilowatts a year, translating into $7,200 savings on a $15,000 investment – a two-year payback.
- The last of the funds will go towards a smart growth plan.
“The Town’s use of the NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities award to fund these four energy efficiency and resiliency projects demonstrates our commitment to a clean environment and a strong economy,” said Plattsburgh Senior Planner Trevor Cole. “Development growth is generally good for the economy, but it must be partnered with environmental sustainability and community health to be Smart Growth.”
The Town worked with the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) to apply for the Clean Energy Community designation. Contact ANCA Energy Coordinator Jamie Rogers at or by calling 518-891-6200.
NYSERDA has an online dashboard that provides regularly updated information on the number and amount of remaining grants in each region by community size. Grants are available to local governments that earn the Clean Energy Community designation. Block 1 Grants are awarded first, followed by Block 2 Grants. There are a number of grants available in the North Country region.
In June 2016, the Village of Kinderhook (Village) approved a resolution to adopt the New York State Climate Smart Community Pledge (Pledge). The 10 elements of the Pledge commit the village to an evolving process of climate action in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate. Here’s an update on the community’s work to date.
What is the Kinderhook Climate Smart Task Force?
The Task Force consists of community volunteers, Warren Applegate, Kim Gray, Aileen Leventon and Bill Mancini, invited by the village to consider various climate smart initiatives which might be suitable for Kinderhook. The Task Force exists solely as an advisory and informational committee. Mayor James Dunham and Deputy Mayor Rich Phillips are active participants at all meetings. Tara Donadio, NYSERDA CEC from the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, also attends many meetings offering valuable suggestions and assistance.
What is the mission of the Climate Smart Task Force?
- To listen, research and set goals for climate initiatives
- To inform and advise village officials and the public
- To assist with climate smart innovation projects
The Task Force at work:
The Task Force is working to achieve a Clean Energy Community designation for the village. This designation will make the village eligible for grants from NYSERDA. In order to do so, the village must complete four impact actions.
- The Task Force recommended, and the Village Board (Board) adopted a Unified Solar Permit. This will streamline the process for village residents seeking to install solar panels for their homes. As a result, the Village received a $2,500 grant from NYSERDA. The passage of this resolution also gave the Village credit for an impact action prescribed by the Clean Energy Community program.
- A second impact action recommended and completed is the Energy Code Enforcement Training of the Village Code Enforcement Officer (CEO). This training focuses on what code enforcement officials need to know about the NYS Energy Code in the context of its practical application on active construction projects. Special thanks to CEO Glenn Smith for taking part in this training.
- The Task Force also recommended, and the Board adopted a third action item, the passage of a Benchmarking resolution. This provides a means for the Village to track energy costs incurred and greenhouse gas emissions by municipal properties. The reports generated will be used to look into potential clean energy upgrades that will reduce costs and emissions.
- The fourth impact action, the installation of an electric vehicle charging station (EVCS), was recently completed. The charging station installation was a great process, a real collaborative effort by the Village. It should be noted that 80 percent of its cost has been provided by through the grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).
Items currently under study are:
- The feasibility and potential savings involved in a green power purchase policy for the Village.
- A food waste recycling program.
- A food redistribution program.
- Solarization of the municipal buildings.
- Village wide solarization, Community Choice Aggregation.
Meetings are scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Village Hall. Meetings are open to the public. To join the Village Task Force or offer suggestions, you may attend a meeting or call Bill Mancini at 758-9584 or Mayor Dunham, at 758-9882.
In June 2018, Amy Wyant joined the Mohawk Valley Clean Energy Communities team. Amy has an eclectic background that ranges from Microbial Ecology research to Systems Administration for a Social Justice Video Coalition in San Francisco, CA. Currently, Amy is the CEO of Total Geekery, a local small business consulting firm with branches in Syracuse and Richfield Springs, NY. In her free time, Amy has been an integral part of forming and building the Richfield Springs Community Food Cooperative, along with previous Mohawk Valley Clean Energy Coordinator, Dan Sullivan.
As the Mohawk Valley Clean Energy Coordinator, Amy’s main focus at the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District (MVEDD) is providing technical assistance to municipalities in the six county region, through the Clean Energy Communities Program. MVEDD also provides assistance to local businesses through gap lending. Cabryn Gurrdo administers the NYSERDA Community Energy Engagement Program (CEEP) from the MVEDD office. CEEP assists residents as well as local businesses reduce their energy consumption and energy costs. MVEDD loan fund sources include the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council (REDC), federal Rural Development Agricultural funds, as well as New York State Job Development Authority Agriculture Loan funds. MVEDD is also an arm of the federal EDA for infrastructure grants to local municipalities.
Amy can be reached at .
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories and climate action plans are part of Pledge Element 2 under the CSC Program, and are key to establishing baselines and setting achievable goals.
The Hudson Valley Regional Council
(HVRC), with the support of Climate Action Associates
(CAA), has begun facilitating a Climate Action Planning working group which consists of a series of 10 monthly meetings. This project is intended for communities in Ulster County that have taken the Climate Smart Communities Pledge and have appointed their CSC Coordinator(s).
Additionally, communities that also have CSC Task Forces in place and have identified a Liaison between the local government and the Task Force, will have the greatest opportunity for success, as there is a significant amount of information-gathering and coordination that will need to occur at the local level throughout this project.
The series is designed to run in parallel with local planning efforts led by participants. The working group receives guidance via the monthly sessions and then directly engage their stakeholders. Participants have begun the process of gathering all of the energy billing data for their municipalities to conduct their own GHG emissions inventories and develop emissions reduction targets and climate action plans from these.
By working together as a team, each community can learn from one another, share strategies, and help troubleshoot issues. At the end of the process, communities will have GHG inventories, emissions reduction targets, and draft climate action plans that they can use to fulfill the Climate Smart Communities Program Pledge Element 2 actions.
Communities that participate in this project will have completed approximately one-third to one-half of the points needed to achieve Climate Smart Communities Certification. Participants can also potentially use the government energy usage data they have collected towards the Benchmarking and Clean Energy Upgrades High Impact Actions under the Clean Energy Communities Program.
For more information, contact Europa McGovern at .
The NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities
program is flourishing in the North Country as more communities continue to receive and seek designation. Local governments in New York State can use the Clean Energy Communities program to implement clean energy actions, save energy costs, create jobs, and improve the environment. In addition to providing tools, resources, and technical assistance, the program recognizes and rewards leadership for the completion of clean energy projects.
Here’s a run-down of the latest communities tackling clean energy and climate issues in the North Country:
St. Lawrence County
St. Lawrence County is the most recent community to have completed four High Impact Energy Actions (HIAs) and has been named a Clean Energy Community by NYSERDA. Local governments must complete four of 10 High Impact Actions to earn a Clean Energy Community designation and qualify to apply for grant funding. At least two actions must have been completed after August 1, 2016. The County received the designation for completing the following high-impact clean energy actions:
- – Benchmarking – Adopted a policy to report the energy use of buildings
- – Clean Energy Upgrades – Achieved 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings
- – Clean Fleets – Purchased a plug-in hybrid and installed an electric vehicle charging station
- – Solarize – Managed a Solarize marketing campaign to encourage residents to install solar installations with more than 40 units installed countywide.
“It’s wonderful that we have been designated as a Clean Energy Community. We will continue to be mindful of our energy usage and will look for new ways to save energy and promote energy conservation,” said Legislator John Burke, Norfolk. Burke first introduced the idea of the county becoming a Clean Energy Community in 2016.
The designation gives the County an opportunity to apply for up to $250,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.
Village of Canton
The village of Canton was designated a Clean Energy Community earlier this year and has received a $100,000 grant from NYSERDA to install new energy-efficient blowers at its wastewater treatment plant.
“This funding came at a most opportune time,” Mayor Michael Dalton said. “The blower upgrade at the wastewater treatment facility is desperately needed. The existing equipment is failing and in need of frequent repair.” Canton received the designation for completing four of 10 high-impact clean-energy actions:
- – Climate Smart Communities – The village and town boards passed resolutions to become a Climate Smart Community and progress is being made toward certification.
- – Energy Code Enforcement Training– Code enforcement and other municipal officers completed training on best practices in energy code enforcement.
- – Solarize – Canton’s Town and Village Sustainability Committee launched a successful Solarize campaign, resulting in close to 40 residential installations of solar panels.
- – Unified Solar Permit– The village adopted the state’s Unified Solar Permit, streamlining local approval processes for solar projects.
The village is also pursuing conversion to LED streetlights and benchmarking energy use in municipal buildings.
Town of Waddington
Lastly, the town of Waddington is awaiting Clean Energy Community designation from NYSERDA. The four high impact actions completed by the town were:
- – Benchmarking – Monitored energy use of local government buildings to find ways to lower it
- – Clean Fleets – Built an electrical charging station
- – LED Street Lights – Converted street lights to energy efficient LED technology
- – Unified Solar Permit – Adopted a standardized permit application designed to streamline the approval process for installing solar in the community.
As it awaits designation, the town has begun considering clean energy project ideas that meet grant funding guidelines under the Clean Energy Communities Program. One project idea is to improve the energy efficiency of older buildings such as the Town Hall and the library. It also hopes to expand on the 55-kilowatt solar array behind the town office.
Currently there are 28 remaining awards in the North Country region. NYSERDA manages an online dashboard
that provides regularly updated information on the number and amount of remaining grants in each region by community size. Communities in the North Country can email Jaime Rogers at for assistance navigating the program.