Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative
The TCCPI Newsletter

May-June 2017

In This Issue
Quick Links

Our Supporters
Featured Article:

Welcome to the May-June 2017 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, an electronic update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).

Photo by Jo Jimny Photos licensed under  CC by-NC-ND 2.0.

TCCPI is a multisector collaboration seeking to leverage the climate action commitments made by Cornell University, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins County, the City of Ithaca, and the Town of Ithaca to mobilize a countywide energy efficiency effort and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy . Launched in June 2008 and generously supported by the Park Foundation, TCCPI is a project of the Sustainable Markets Foundation.
We are committed to helping Tompkins County achieve a dynamic economy, healthy environment, and resilient community through a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. 
TCCPI Releases 8th Annual Report on Coalition Member Achievements
By Peter Bardaglio, TCCPI Coordinator

The Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative has released its  report  on the 2016 achievements of the coalition's members in fighting climate change and working to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. A record number of 41 local member organizations submitted documentation of the work they carried out in 2016. Highlights from the full report include the following:

Alternatives Federal Credit Union
  • Joined as founding member of Ithaca 2030 District
  • Made 53 loans for solar energy installation totaling more than $700,000
  • Worked with stakeholders such as NYS Green Bank and Public Service Commission to make financing strategies involving clean energy accessible to low income target populations  
Cayuga Medical Center
  • Received "Healthcare" LEED certification for our new Surgical Services renovations
  • Received LEED certification for the newly constructed Cayuga Birthplace 
  • Completed the Chilled Water Winter Loop project, which has had a significant impact on winter cooling needs and water consumption reduction from dietary coolers. Last quarterly water invoice was 1,812,800 gallons of water less than the prior year or 604,266 gallons per month. Anticipate an annual reduction of 7,251,200 gallons of water not received from Bolton Point.  
City of Ithaca
  • Awarded $103,940 by Partners for Places for the Green Building Policy project (see below); half from national consortium of foundations, half from Park Foundation.
  • Kicked off Green Building Policy project to carry out  study of policy tools that the Town & City of Ithaca can use to incentivize or mandate green building standards for new construction
  • Completed Residential Energy Score project, an e ffort to create a voluntary residential energy score program for homes within the five participating municipalities  
  • Launched Energize NY financing program that us es innovative Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) model to offer long-term low-cost financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in commercially-owned buildings
Climate Justice and Youth Program
  • TCCPI announced the Climate Justice Column in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue of the TCCPI newsletter. We had a strong focus on the importance of racial justice in the movements towards sustainability. 
  • Reed Steberger and Jane Whiting gave their first climate justice presentation at TCCPI, where we highlighted the importance of social justice in the environmental movement. This presentation resulted in an invitation to present at Cornell's Presidential Sustainable Campus Committee (PSCC) Leadership Summit. 
  • Through the presentation at the PSCC and the development of a Talking Circle, a strong relationship with the Cornell student group ECO (Environmental Collaboration)was formed that can lead to a greater youth representation at TCCPI and further connection between Cornell and the City.
  • The 2016 pilot year of the TCCPI/MRC Youth Organizing Fellowship successfully developed an important resource and community space for diverse youth in Tompkins County. Fellows, with the guidance of adult staff and community partners,co-created a learning community grounded in a skills-based, experiential racial justice framework of community organizing, political education, and cultural intelligence. 
Coalition for Sustainable Economic Development
  • CSED's big victory was with respect to advocacy at Cornell's proposed Maplewood grad-student housing development. CSED environmental advocates worked tirelessly to educate the Town of Ithaca planning board and developers about efficient electric heat pumps as an alternative to gas heating. CSED member Joseph Wilson took a novel approach in urging the Town to use the SEQRA process to evaluate and mitigate energy impacts. Cornell was also instrumental in that using gas would move them in the wrong direction in meeting their GHG reduction goals. So in the end - big win on heat pumps instead of gas. 
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCETC)
  • Worked with municipalities, especially through the Tompkins County Council of Governments (TCCOG), to identify energy reduction and climate adaptation strategies. 
  • Supported and/or led new Solarize-type campaigns in Schuyler, Steuben and Chemung counties that resulted in more than doubling the amount of installed solar in those counties; worked with various stakeholders in Tompkins County to develop a campaign that is running March-May 2017.
  • Wrapped up Southern Tier Bulk Wood Pellet Infrastructure Boost Program, a $1.3M Cleaner Greener Communities (CGC) program
Cornell University
  • Cornell researchers will use a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to create, test, and optimize new residential electric storage systems.
  • Senior Leaders Climate Action Group (SLCAG) established to focus on improving current climate trends by advancing public understanding of climate change and spurring innovative, cross-disciplinary solutions on campus and globally.
  • Sutton Road Solar Farm, a 2-megawatt energy facility that will offset nearly 40 percent of the annual electricity demand at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, New York, became fully operational 
  • Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (ACSF) has given $1.5 million from its Academic Venture Fund to a record 14 new university projects
Downtown Ithaca Alliance
  • New structures such as the Ithaca Marriott, Monks on the Commons, and the Carey Building addition include many green features such as energy efficient windows and lighting. The Hotel Ithaca expansion and the new Tompkins Trust Company building, which are currently under construction, will include similar energy efficient features as well.
  • The DIA, in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension and Ithaca Carshare, is at work implementing a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan with the immediate goal of removing up to 400 private vehicles from the city garage system.
  • The DIA has implemented composting and recycling systems for its major downtown events, including Apple Harvest Festival, the Summer Concert Series, Chowder Festival and Chili Cook-Off, which are attended by over 100,000 locals and tourists. Local service organizations like the Cornell Rotary Club have helped to oversee these composting stations. 
Finger Lakes Land Trust
  • Protection of the 470-acre Sheffield Farm in Town of Ithaca through the donation of several perpetual conservation easements. This expansive equestrian property includes more than 180 acres of forest and features streams and wetlands that flow into Coy Glen, a county-designated natural area.
  • Acquisition of 120 acres bordering Six Mile Creek in the Town of Dryden. Located in close proximity to the Land Trust's Roy H. Park Preserve, this property features more than 10,000 feet of frontage on Six Mile Creek and its tributaries. Funding for the purchase came from private donors as well as grants from Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca.
  • Completed the addition of 86 acres of fields and forest to Connecticut Hill State Wildlife Management Area, the state's largest.  
Finger Lakes ReUse
  • Finger Lakes ReUse continued to expand its capacity to further its 'net green' impacts in 2016. This was the organization's first full year with two active storefronts, which greatly increased its capacity to keep items out of landfills and to accept increasing donations of materials from the community.  
  • Shoppers made 86,000 visits to the two ReUse Community Centers in 2016, which earned a combined $815,463 in register sales.
  • V olunteers donated 14,000 hours of labor at our stores, averaging 31 volunteers per month, alongside 24 living-wage permanent employees.
  • An estimated 330 tons of materials were diverted from potentially ending up in landfills this year, a new record for ReUse 
Fossil Free Tompkins
  • After a four-year fight to oppose NYSEG ratepayer funded conversion of Cayuga Power Plant to gas, the Public Service Commission agreed with our arguments that it was cheaper and better for the environment to upgrade the transmission lines in Auburn.
  • Activities opposing the West Dryden Rd. pipeline increased, including intervening in NYSEG's rate case.
  • Convened a group of Black Oak Wind Farm supporters to develop a grassroots strategy to support the wind farm project in the face of mounting local opposition. Door-to-door canvassing in Enfield resulted in signatures from over 400 Enfield residents who supported the wind farm and nearly 300 lawn signs displayed.  
Get Your GreenBack
  • Successfully developed all of the elements of a system of energy advising to provide personalized support to local residents who want to take a step to reduce their energy use, a system which is becoming the central focus of our work. 
  • Engaged almost 200 homes with the energy advising program through a variety of methods-Green & Cozy promotion of pellet heat and energy efficiency, volunteer Energy Navigators and the GYGB coordinator's networks. 
  • A core 80+-page training manual has been developed for Energy Navigators along with a framework for a 10-week training and monthly support gatherings.  
  • Over 500 low-income households received plant seedlings to grow some of their own food during the summer.
  • Through its various initiatives, GYGB has had a direct impact on at least 12,000 people, and worked collaboratively with over 80 organizations, including 10 in the energy sector, 13 in transportation, 32 in waste reduction and 17 in local food (the other organizations include banks, sustainability and social justice-oriented non-profits, and schools and government agencies).
HeatSmart II
  • The HeatSmart II program, like its predecessor, has stimulated the building energy efficiency and electric heat pump markets by improving the market share of the partnering companies.
  • Public outreach once again served every town in the county, with at least one public meeting held in each municipality.
  • After considerable review and consultation, HeatSmart has also taken steps to develop much better documentation on every job, so that accurate and home-specific estimates of carbon reductions can be calculated for the entire program. 
HOLT Architects
  • HOLT completed the renovation of its new offices located at 610 W. State St. Originally built over multiple decades in the 1900's, HOLT designed a gut-renovation to 7500 gross square feet of the total 10,830 gross square foot area. The renovation included:
    • Abandonment of the natural gas service with a replacement of the existing heating system with electric heat pumps.
    • Installation of a 70kWh rooftop photovoltaic array.
    • Alternation of the exterior walls and roof into a High Performance Building Envelope. 
  • In the first 9 months of occupancy, the 56,407 kWh photovoltaic production of electricity (the only source of energy used in the office) exceeded the 53,089 kWh consumption by 6%. 
  • HOLT is presently pursuing LEED certification for this project.
Ithaca 2030 District
  • The contract for the Cleaner, Greener Communities Program grant awarded by NYSERDA in December 2014 was executed in January 2016 and funding was made available.
  • The fully chartered 2030 District was launched in June 2016 at a reception in the new HOLT Architects office on West State/MLK St.
  • Ithaca became the first 2030 District in New York, joining twelve other 2030 Districts in the U.S. and Canada: Albuquerque, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Grand Rapids, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, Stamford, and Toronto. 
Ithaca Carshare
  • 1,450 members took a combined 18,771 trips totaling 209,427 miles.
  • Fleetwide fuel economy was 22% above the national average. The share of high fuel economy Toyota Prius Hybrids in the carsharing fleet is up to 54%
  • As a result of the changed driving habits of these members and higher than average fuel economy, an estimated 15,671 gallons of gasoline and 140 metric tons of carbon dioxide were avoided.
  • The low-income Easy Access membership plan, which subsidizes regular membership costs by more than half and reduces financial barriers to getting started with carsharing, supported 53 individuals. 
Ithaca College
  • Commissioned the 2.9 MW Town of Seneca solar farm in November. It will provide over 10% of our annual electricity and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by over 2,400 tons carbon equivalent per year.
  • LED lighting upgrades in the Gannet Center Library, Terrace Dining Hall, and several larger classrooms in the Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise.
  • Started a student leadership team consisting of 10 Eco-Rep Project Coordinators, an Eco-Rep Program Manager, and an intern to help promote sustainability on campus through various programs and projects.
  • Installed bottle filing stations and promoted the use of refillable bottles, helping to minimize the use of disposable water bottles.
  • Recovered over 1,000 lbs. of used cooking oil per week, which is used for biofuel and other sustainable products.
Ithaca Tompkins County Transportation Council
  • The NYSERDA-funded project to develop an Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Plan for Tompkins County is nearing completion. It includes strategies and technologies for EV recharging stations, with particular attention to local conditions, a site evaluation tool for EV charging station suitability, and a detailed analysis/plan for EV charging station installations at preferred locations.
  • Tompkins County and the ITCTC will coordinate local participation in a NYSERDA project that identifies Tompkins County as an EV Deployment Community. Subsidies will be offered for installation of 11 charging stations by the end of 2017, followed by substantial community outreach and education to promote EV use in Tompkins County.
  • The ITCTC continued to advance online ridesharing in the greater Tompkins County area. The effort has a new name, Finger Lakes Rideshare, and can be found at . The system is seeking to expand to a regional rideshare program powered online by Zimride. 
Learn@EcoVillage Ithaca 
  • TREE neighborhood Common House received a 2016 DOE Zero-Energy Ready award, as one of just three multi-family buildings in the U.S.
  • This same building was studied by Taitem Engineering, and found to use one-tenth of the energy of a standard multi-family building, yet cost only $124/square foot to build.
  • Ian Shapiro and Liz Walker taught two Net Zero Energy Building workshops, for architects, developers, and green builders. Architects were able to earn 14 Learning Units for each of the two-day workshops, and LEED professionals earned 14 GBCI CE hours.
  • Learn@EcoVillage received a Town-Gown or TOGO Award, in recognition of our work with Cornell, including a half-day visit by Kyu Whang, VP of Infrastructure, Property and Planning, and his senior staff. The visit was meant to further develop collaborations between sustainability efforts at Cornell and EcoVillage.  
Local First Ithaca
  • Membership numbers more than 220 local businesses, organizations, and non-profits and is still growing
  • Published our 6th issue of the annual "Guide to Being Local."
  • LFI became the Designated Management Entity for the Ithaca 2030 District.
  • Continued our collaboration with GreenStar Community Projects/Feeding Our Future, Get Your Green Back, Building Bridges, and New York State Sustainable Business Council
New Roots Charter High School
  •  New Roots was selected to participate in Teaching Our Cities, an EPA-funded project that brings together leaders among schools with a mission of environmental stewardship in the Northeast to develop and refine curriculum that engages students with a study of the environmental and human landscape of their cities and regions.
  • All New Roots students participated in a course called A Sense of Place in September, investigating the relationship between people and the natural environment in our region through the lens of Education for Sustainability (EfS) standards.
  • New Roots environmental chemistry students developed a longitudinal study of water quality in Cayuga Lake to test the efficacy of indigenous ecological knowledge in remediating water quality problems in Stewart Park. Students petitioned Ithaca City Council and the Department of Public Works for permission to plant a 50x50' test plot of cattail and calamus, then worked with a local native plant nursery to obtain plants and establish the plot.
Park Foundation 
  • The Foundation awarded a total of $237,936 for climate and energy related projects including TCCPI, Sustainable Tompkins, INHS and HeatSmart programs.
  • Grants totaling $835,000 continued to focus on aspects of hydrofracking including pipeline and compressor station issues as well as follow-up on the state ban.
  • A conservative estimate of the Foundation's portfolio includes 15% (approximately $46 million) in climate solutions investments.
  • In 2016 the Foundation filed or co-filed 7 shareholder resolutions on hydrofracking, environmental and investor climate risk. Companies included ExxonMobil, Chevron, Entergy, Anadarko, Newfield, and Hess. Votes ranged from 23% - 61%.
Paleontological Research Institution, Museum of the Earth, and Cayuga Nature Center
  • Our Weird Weather exhibit-a kiosk focusing on local impacts of climate change on weather, agriculture, public health, and the economy -was installed for most of 2016 at the main branch of the Buffalo and Erie County Library system. Development of the kiosk was funded by the Park Foundation and NSF.  
  • We published two more volumes of our Teacher-Friendly Guide to the Earth Science ( for additional regions of the US. The Guides contain new chapters on climate and energy. We are also working on a separate Guide in this series specifically on climate change. This work was funded by NSF.
  • We continued to publish volumes of our Teacher-Friendly Guide to the Earth Science for additional regions of the U.S. The Guides contain new chapters on climate and energy. We are also working on a separate Guide in this series specifically on climate change. This work was funded by NSF.
  • We worked with New Roots High School 9th graders and elementary school-age summer campers on climate change-related outdoor education activities at Smith Woods and the Cayuga Nature Center. This work was funded by the Park Foundation.
Renovus Solar
  • Interconnected the very first Shared Renewables Community Solar project in New York State with a ribbon cutting event in partnership with NYSERDA and the Governor's Office. 
  • This project, located in the Town of Ulysses, serves 40 area households and is comprised of 1,140 solar panels, capable of generating 359.1 kilowatts of clean electricity. 
  • Completed a second project on the same piece of property, owned by the GrassRoots Festival organization. This Community Solar Farm serves an additional 51 local households and is comprised of 1,512 solar panels, totaling 499.96 kilowatts of generation capacity. 
  • In 2016, installed clean energy systems totaling 1.32 MW in generating capacity, serving over 200 residential and commercial customers.
  • Added new exhibit on fresh water and watershed health
  • Toured a major traveling exhibition "Ocean Bound!" on watershed health and ocean conservation to museums nationwide.
  • Delivered field trips on the topic of renewable energy to 400 2nd grade students in Tompkins County through the Kids Discover the Trail! program.
  • Offered exhibits in our "Sustainability Corner" on waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, composting, and consumer behavior. 
Snug Planet
  • Received "Outstanding Performance by a Contractor" award from the NYSERDA Home Performance with Energy Star program.
  • Completed 100+ energy-saving retrofits in the greater Tompkins County area.
  • Completed our first-fossil-fuel-to-heat-pump retrofits, allowing customers to eliminate natural gas meters and oil/propane deliveries.
  • Performed energy design, insulation, and heat pump installations on several net-zero ready new homes.
Sustainable Tompkins, Finger Lakes Climate Fund  
  • We ran our second fall 'Seal the Cracks' campaign with a goal of offsetting 500 tons of CO2. In August, we launched our new website for the Climate Fund with several features to enhance user interaction.
  • We exceeded our goal by 144%, raising $17,863 and offsetting 715 tons of CO2. Campaign participants included many repeats from 2015 and a large number of first-time offsetters. In addition, Cornell departments successfully made three offsets through their business office - creating a known process for other Cornellians to follow.
  • In 2016, we also reached our goal of making six grant awards totaling $8,745 to homeowners in Lansing, Newfield and the City and Town of Ithaca - including our first grant for air-source heat pumps for space heating and hot water and our first grants to immigrant families.
Taitem Engineering
  • Two members of Taitem's PV department received awards for excellence from NYSERDA. They were two of only three awards given.
  • Taitem began participation in Going Solar! Chemung County. This solarize program is one of several that Taitem is participating in. Others include Tompkins County, Seneca County, Southern Tier East, Southern Tier Central, Schuyler County, and Central New York. 
  • Ian Shapiro's latest book was published, Energy Audits and Improvements for Commercial Buildings (Wiley). Ian was also honored as Green Building Advocate of the Year during the 2016 New York State Green Building Conference held in Syracuse. 
  • Taitem worked with the Tompkins County Planning Board, Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency, and Tompkins county Area Development to create a tax-abatement incentive program for new commercial and industrial buildings that meet green building criteria. 
Tompkins Community Action
  • Completed 57 energy efficiency upgrades to low-income housing units under the Weatherization Assistance Program.
  • Completed 18 energy efficiency retrofits under the NYSERDA Home Performance with Energy Star Program and the Assisted Home Performance with Energy Star Program.
  • Provided 26 free energy audits / electric reduction / energy efficiency upgrades to low-income households as a designated NYSERDA EmPower NY contractor.
Tompkins County  
  • Energy Roadmap. Final report evaluating local energy resources and developing scenarios to meet the County's 80% GHG emission reduction goal and projected energy needs through 2050 was completed in March 2016. This was followed by presentations within the County and at a statewide conference in Buffalo.
  • Energy and Economic Development Task Force. Partnered with Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) to facilitate the work of the Task Force to address short-term energy needs and emissions in ways that contribute to a vital local economy. The final report and recommendations from the Task Force were released in June 2016. Comprehensive Plan Update. Included a new section on climate change and wove sustainability throughout the plan, which was adopted by the Legislature.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories. In September 2016, completed detailed greenhouse gas emissions inventory for both the community and County government using 2014 data and presented results to the Legislature. Went beyond traditional GHG accounting methods to show results if latest climate science on methane is applied to the inventory, as well.
  • IDA Energy Incentives. In partnership with TCAD, hired a consultant to structure an incentive program to provide enhanced incentives for businesses that invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems to reduce their carbon footprint as part of a job-creating expansion.  The final report was completed in 2016 and presented results to the IDA for consideration.

Tompkins County Area Development
  • In a joint effort with Tompkins County, the Energy and Economic Development Task Force was created to consider creative solutions to meet the energy needs of Tompkins County's growing economy, while simultaneously supporting the County's goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. The task force was comprised of 16 community leaders. A report of recommendations was issued in 2016. Follow-up with studies, and work with the local utility and NYS Public Service Commission are underway.
  • The Industrial Development Agency and the Tompkins County Department of Planning and Sustainability jointly funded a study by Taitem Engineering that made recommendations for an enhanced energy incentive offered by the IDA for significant energy efficiency and renewable energy in new building construction. The IDA will adopt the policy and 2017 and expects at least two projects in the near term.
  • The Industrial Development Agency is reviewing a community solar policy that would provide property tax incentives for community solar projects.
Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce
  • During 2016, the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce continued its partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County to publish the newsletter Commercial Energy Efficiency Now, a publication which included success stories from local businesses and organizations implementing conservation measures or alternative energy projects, and provided access to financing and other resources for commercial property owners and businesses.
  • The Chamber also completed a $5,000 lighting efficiency project, transitioning its entire supply of light bulbs and fixtures to LEDs. Chamber President Jennifer Tavares continued to serve on the Energy & Economic Development Task Force throughout the year, and the Chamber is a proud member of the Ithaca 2030 District.
Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative
  • The Ithaca 2030 District is now the flagship program of TCCPI. Fifty percent of the coordinator's hours have been committed to this project. The 2030 District is vital to achieving two important strategic goals for TCCPI: 1) strengthening the involvement of the business community; and 2) establishing a process for collecting building performance data in downtown Ithaca and benchmarking it against both national and local baselines. 
  • The TCCPI monthly general meetings continued to be very well attended, with an average of 24 participants. That the meetings continue to attract a sizable number of community leaders after eight years, together with the high number of requests made to present at the meetings (at least two-thirds of the agenda topics come about this way) and the fact that the agendas for the meetings are usually set several months in advance, suggest interest in TCCPI remains strong. 
  • TCCPI grew its relationship with the Multicultural Resource Center in 2016 to collaboratively develop and implement the TCCPI/MRC Youth Organizing Fellowship.
Tompkins County Council of Governments
  • TCCOG's sustainability committee established two working groups in 2015. The Community Choice Aggregation working group has been reviewing the state's new initiative allowing municipalities to procure energy supply on behalf of their residents. CCAs bring the possibility of local control over energy sourcing, including the possibility of more renewables, local jobs, local installations, also possibly lower costs than NYSEG supply. The Towns of Caroline, Danby, Dryden, Ithaca, and Ulysses, the City of Ithaca and Village of Cayuga Heights are participating in the CCA work group.  
  • TCCOG's Energy Advisory work group was formed to enable municipalities to work together to help achieve the goals in the County's Energy Road Map. Currently participating municipalities (same list as CCA) are working on achieving 4 of the 10 goals identified by NYSERDA, which would enable each municipality to qualify for funding for additional energy-related projects.  
Tompkins County Environmental Management Council, Energy Committee
  • The Energy Committee developed a document entitled "Wind Power: Frequently Asked Questions" that draws upon technical reports and up-to-date peer-reviewed articles from the scientific literature.
  • In 2015 the EMC had successfully urged the County to adopt a resolution in support of a NYS geothermal energy systems tax credit. Tax credits are an excellent tool because they leverage major investments from homeowners in these technologies and thus are amplified as an investment by market forces.
  • The Committee participated in the environmental review of Cornell University's Maplewood Graduate and Professional Student Housing Redevelopment Project.
Town of Caroline
  • The Caroline Planning Board continues its work on updating Caroline's Comprehensive Plan. The Community Survey was completed in 2016 and those results were presented at a public meeting in fall 2016. Sustainability and rural lifestyles are still strongly supported. The Town budgeted for a Planner to assist with completing the Comprehensive Plan update in 2017.
  • The Town has been vigorously exploring Community Choice Aggregation as a mechanism to move our community swiftly to renewable energy. A key concern is determining whether we can support local renewable energy companies and projects with a CCA model. 
  • The Caroline Town Board adopted a Resolution Supporting Alternatives to Natural Gas Expansion (#81-2016, April 13) directed at the PSC and NYSERDA, asking them to recognize that expanding natural gas infrastructure is contrary to municipal and state goals for reducing GHG emissions, to request that utilities investigate non fossil-fuel technologies, and to curtail incentives for fossil fuels and instead direct those incentive toward curtailing the number of natural gas customers. 
Town of Ithaca
  • Awarded $103,940 by Partners for Places for the Green Building Policy project; half from national consortium of foundations, half from Park Foundation.
  • Continued sustainability partnership with the City of Ithaca through shared Sustainability Coordinator position.
  • Kicked off Green Building Policy project  involving a comprehensive study of policy tools that the Town & City of Ithaca can use to incentivize or mandate green building standards for new construction.
  • Led effort to create a voluntary residential energy score program for homes within the five participating municipalities.
Travis Hyde Properties
  • The Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission (ILPC) voted in favor of the final design for the redevelopment of the Old Tompkins County Library into a 58-unit apartment house to be named The Dewitt House. The building will reuse part of the existing structure. It will also be an all-electric building, which will allow it to be powered by renewable energy in the future as local capacity grows. 
  • Travis Hyde Properties signed a Power Purchase Agreement with Renovus Energy for up to one megawatt of solar photovoltaic capacity. 
  • The five-story vertical expansion of the 1923 Carey Building was completed in 2016, part of Travis Hyde's commitment to density in downtown Ithaca. The new building utilizes highly energy efficient HVAC equipment and lighting, and will be eligible for LEED certification.
Weaver Wind
  • In June, Art presented at the Small Wind Conference, the annual event of the small wind industry. The subject of his talk was the Weaver 5, our 5 kW turbine that has now passed all testing required for certification to the AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) standard.
  • In September, one of our local wind systems was featured as the cover story of Home Power magazine. 
  • In November, Weaver Wind was a finalist at the Ocean Exchange annual competition in Savannah GA for "innovative solutions" to environmental, economic, and social problems.
Next TCCPI Meeting:
Friday, July 28, 2017
9 to 11 am
Tompkins County Public Library
Borg Warner Conference Room
101 E. Green St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
Gov. Cuomo Names Tompkins County and Town of Ithaca Certified Climate Smart Communities

Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 20 recognized Tompkins County and the Town of Ithaca as New York's 12th and 14th local governments to be designated as Certified Climate Smart Communities. Actions to strengthen resiliency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in these communities support the Governor's goals to reduce statewide emissions 40 percent by 2030.

"New York continues to make significant strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and by joining forces with communities across the state and the nation, we are combatting climate change to provide a more sustainable environment for future generations of New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "I commend Tompkins County and the town of Ithaca for supporting these clean energy initiatives, and I encourage municipalities across New York to follow their lead and become Certified Climate Smart Communities." 

Nick Goldsmith (L), Town of Ithaca Sustainability Coordinator, and Bill Goodman (R), Town Supervisor, receive the Governor's award from  DEC Regional Director Matt Marko.
At an event held at the Tompkins County Recycling and Solid Waste Center in Ithaca, Michael Lane, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, and Bill Goodman, town of Ithaca Supervisor, were presented street signs highlighting their achievement of certification.

In April Tompkins County became the first community in the Southern Tier to be designed a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), highlighting its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs, and driving clean energy in its communities. The designation gives Tompkins County an opportunity to apply for up to $250,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.

"Tompkins County appreciates the recognition this Climate Smart Community certification provides for our ongoing efforts to lead by example in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing our community's resilience to the effects of climate change," said Tompkins County Legislature Chair Michael Lane. "It is vital for local communities to reduce emissions and energy use while preparing for climate change impacts."

The Town of Ithaca earned its certification by implementing each of the Climate Smart Community Pledge Elements through a well-rounded, comprehensive local climate action program that embraces both mitigation and adaptation. Ithaca has completed greenhouse gas emissions inventories for both municipal operations and the broader community and has integrated sustainability into its Comprehensive Plan. The town also showed its innovation and leadership in the unique Residential Energy Score Project (RESP), which aims to create energy scores for homes that will provide the housing market with a clear signal regarding the value of energy efficiency. RESP was made possible with support from NYSERDA.

"In the absence of federal leadership, the role of local municipalities in combating climate change is now more important than ever," observed Town of Ithaca Supervisor Bill Goodman.
It's Not Too Late to Join a CSA! Save Money and Enjoy Local, Delicious Produce this Summer
by Karim Beers and Leah Balkin, Get Your GreenBack Tompkins

More than 4,200 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares were sold in Tompkins County in 2014. There's still time to join your community members and spend your summer eating fresh, healthy produce from local farms. Learn more about CSAs  here .
Erin Eldermire first got hooked on CSAs when she signed up for a share at Cornell University's Vet School, where she works. The weekly share of local produce is delivered right to her workplace, one of many CSA drop off locations in Tompkins County. Joining the CSA has changed the way she and her family eat, as well as their connection to food and local farms.

Erin had been searching for a source of locally grown food for a while, as she was interested in supporting the community while eating healthy food. She had been reading articles about the nutritious value of locally-sourced food; however, she found it difficult to know whether the produce in the grocery store was locally grown. Through an announcement from her employer, Erin learned about the CSA option and realized that it was just what she had been looking for. Once a week on Thursdays she walks downstairs in her office to pick up the food, which Erin says is "super convenient."

"We feel more connected with the local community both economically and ecologically," notes Erin. "When shopping I try to be mindful of the origin of food but sometimes it is hard to find out where food is grown. The CSA makes this easy."

Check out the  fruit and veggie CSA guide for Tompkins County, which includes a list of local farms and drop-off sites. Interested in meat or other speciality products? There are CSAs for  those, as well.

And, of course, Tompkins County has great  farmers' markets all summer long, with everything from produce to prepped foods to Finger Lakes wine.




Take a step to save money and energy!








No Moratorium on Climate Change

As the highlights from the 8th annual TCCPI report make clear  (see above), there is much to celebrate. Viewed collectively, the report documents an impressive contribution to the fight against climate change. Perhaps most important it demonstrates how collaboration and a sense of common purpose can lead to real progress.

There is one area, however, where there is much reason for concern: the growing opposition in the region to commercial-scale wind and solar. The debate over solar farms in Dryden, in particular, reflects the sharp divide between those who want to hold on to a nostalgic view of rural life and those who want to address the future challenges that we face as the climate continues to destabilize at a rate that even the most pessimistic computer models have underestimated.
The Willow Glen Cemetery in Dryden. Photo courtesy of the Town of Dryden.
The same battle lines have formed in other communities such as Newfield, Enfield, and the Town of Seneca, all of which have recently passed moratoriums on large-scale wind and solar projects in an attempt "to preserve the rural character" of their communities. The irony is that there seems to be little acknowledgment of how climate change is threatening the very foundation of rural life in the Finger Lakes, the biosphere that makes our region so unique. 

If we refuse to act with an eye on the future and move rapidly to a clean energy economy, we are faced with the prospect of a new ecosystem making its way north.   Projections indicate that, given the current pace of global warming, in as few as 30 to 40 years the climate of upstate New York is likely to resemble that of Georgia. Clearly, such a shift will result in a very different countryside than what our grandparents experienced. Already the average temperature in New York during the winter has climbed 4.4 °F since the 1970s, heavy downpours have increased by 70 percent since the 1950s, and spring begins a week earlier  than it did a few decades ago.

The message is clear: the biggest risk of all is to do nothing. The ecosystem of the Finger Lakes is already experiencing significant stress and only by dramatically reducing our carbon footprint as quickly as possible can we have any chance to avoid exchanging it for a very different ecosystem. Without the development of large-scale wind and solar, there is little to no possibility of avoiding this fate. In short, there is a lot more at stake than spoiling the view. 

Peter Bardaglio
TCCPI Coordinator


Be sure to visit the website for TCCPI's latest project, the Ithaca 2030 District, an interdisciplinary public-private collaboration working to create a groundbreaking high-performance building district in Downtown Ithaca.