High-Impact Actions In Our Communities, Large and Small


Louis W. Allstadt

In each edition of this e-newsletter, we’ll focus on two communities that are working on energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability. This time, our spotlight is on Cooperstown and New Rochelle.

Cooperstown is a small village making a big impact. For Lou Allstadt, a trustee and climate activist who calls the Otsego County village of 2,000 home, a point of pride is that the municipality has made the business case for energy efficiency. As one of New York State’s 190 Climate Smart Communities, the Village has taken a host of actions toward sustainability, and is now deciding how to translate these accomplishments into Clean Energy Communities High Impact Actions.

“We’ve been very careful to ensure that the energy saving projects we undertake have both cost savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions”, says Allstadt, a former Mobil Oil executive.

The Village learned about benchmarking energy use from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Smart Communities program and has collected baseline data on energy uses in buildings, vehicles, sewer and water plants and street lighting. The analysis of that data is now being put into a plain language report that “will be easy for anyone to understand,” says Allstadt. “However, we started working on some of the obvious candidates for reducing energy even before all the data had been collected.”

The Village also:
• Insulated the Village firehouse ceiling and doors, upgraded windows, converted to LED lighting and installed a high efficiency heat pump for cooling and heating.
• is saving fuel and electricity at the large historic village hall with heating system improvements, additional insulation and the first stage of conversion to LED lighting.
• converted a portion of its owned streetlights to LEDs, which prompted further efforts to convert the majority of streetlights owned NYSEG to achieve additional savings.
• already has regulations that provide a simple process for approval of solar energy installations on homes and businesses, which should streamline the process of adopting the New York State Unified Solar Permit, a NYSERDA High Impact Action.
• has added a cost/benefit analysis of fuel efficiencies for purchasing decisions on municipal work vehicles and trolleys.
• with a group of nearby municipalities, has been investigating a solar photovoltaic installation to supply electricity. A developer is being sought.
• has been working with Constellation Energy to analyze possible upgrades of pumps and motors at the water treatment plant and additional LED lighting upgrades, which could count toward the Clean Energy Upgrades High Impact Actions.
• is including energy efficiency in designing upcoming sewer plant upgrades.
• has identified potential locations for EV charging stations.
• passed a climate change resolution that has been picked up by several other towns.

In the Mohawk Valley, Dan Sullivan of the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District provides Clean Energy Communities assistance to municipalities. Reach him at dsullivan@mvedd.org and (315) 866-4671.

LED Leadership From New Rochelle

Two hundred miles to the south, in Westchester County, the City of New Rochelle is out ahead on the High Impact Action of changing over its 7,000 street lights to LEDs. Here are fast facts on the NewRoc project, according to Scott Pickup, operations director for the Department of Public Works:


Mayor Noam Bramson at LED street light ribbon cutting

  • The City is financing the lights via a $2.95M Energy Performance Contract.
  • The project developer, Lumen Light Solutions, will be paid $650,000.
  • Annual savings of 3 million kilowatt hours will account for a 64% reduction in energy costs.
  • Initially, the city is set to save approximately $270,000 annually, until the new streetlights are paid off.
  • Once the lights have been fully paid for (approximately year 8), the annual savings will balloon to around $638,000.
  • Over the estimated 20-year lifespan of the LED fixtures, the city will save upwards of $9 million.

In the Hudson Valley , Carla Castillo of Hudson Valley Regional Council provides Clean Energy Communities assistance to the region’s municipalities. Carla can be reached at ccastillo@hudsonvalleyrc.org and  (845) 564-4075.

Municipalities of any size can benefit from the NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities program, as these stories demonstrate. Don’t delay – apply for Clean Energy Communities today.