Posts Tagged ‘Albany’

By Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Welcome to the April – May 2012 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, an electronic update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).

NY Students Rally in Albany for a Clean Energy Economy

Young people from around New York state headed to the Capitol at the end of April to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and lead the state toward a clean energy economy.

The Green Umbrella, a network of high school and college students fighting climate change, held a conference in Albany over the weekend of April 27-29. Speakers at Power Shift NY included Bill McKibben, Josh Fox, Sandra Steingraber, and Dominic Frongillo.

On Monday morning, the students gathered on the banks of the Hudson River at Albany’s Corning Preserve and then marched to the Capitol. Along the way, they engaged in some attention-grabbing street theater, including a mock “wedding” between gas companies and politicians.

Green Umbrella students at Power Shift NY in Albany on April 30.
Photo credit: Energy Action Coalition.


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By Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Welcome to the August 2011 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, a monthly update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).

Climate Showcase Community Projects Move Forward

EcoVillage at Ithaca celebrates its 20th anniversary next month.

As we all know, Tompkins County has taken a bold stance on climate change by committing itself to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with an interim goal of 20% reduction by 2020. But how does a community get from a vision to the reality of a sustainable future?

One strategy the county is using to reach these goals is teaming up with the internationally acclaimed, local EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI) to establish the county as a national exemplar of smart growth and sustainable development.

Tompkins County is one of 49 communities from across the United States to be chosen by the EPA as a recipient of a Climate Showcase Communities grant. The aim of the EPA program is to “create replicable models of cost-effective and persistent greenhouse gas reductions that will catalyze broader local and tribal government actions to stabilize the climate and improve environmental, economic, health, and social conditions.”

The county hopes to build on and expand the successes of EVI’s approach to sustainable community design by updating and establishing a set of EVI’s best practices, which can then be disseminated to other communities. The County Planning Department will also be developing new building codes and zoning policies to encourage the sort of efficient and environmentally-conscious design exemplified by EVI.

Perhaps the most exciting, cutting-edge, and visionary part of the County and EVI’s plan is the construction of three pilot sustainable communities based on EVI’s smart growth principles. The first pilot is known as TREE, and its housing units will not only be more than 80% more energy efficient than the average American household, but there will also be greater availability of affordable units. The County and EVI are hoping that the TREE residences will be Passive House, LEED, and Energy Star Certified.

The second community is the Aurora Dwelling Circle (ADC), which will have 5-8 households on just one urban lot. Housing units at the ADC will emit 80% less greenhouse gases than the average American household and the development will also be within walking distance of downtown Ithaca. A third sustainable development pilot village will be established on county-owned land. The County will incentivize the development of one or two dense neighborhoods, each containing between 37 and 45 household units, and with easy access to community amenities and public transportation.

The energy efficiency, emissions, and building performance of the three pilot communities will be monitored by the County and EVI. They will also reach out to planners, local governments, architects, educators, developers, and community members through educational workshops, professional conferences, and webinars so that other communities can replicate, adapt or build on the County’s example.

So where does the progress of these ambitious and exciting projects stand in the first six months of the Climate Showcase Communities grant?

The biggest challenge so far has been getting enough people to sign on to live in the two communities getting off the ground this summer, TREE and the Aurora Dwelling Circle. Although there are many attractive aspects to living in a sustainable community development and many Ithacans are enthusiastic about smart growth, the state of the economy is making it difficult to secure a critical mass of potential residents.

Considerable progress has been made in other areas, however, in just six short months. Grant contracts, timeline, goals, tasks and milestones were established for the first year. The Planning Department’s Ed Marx and EVI’s Liz Walker attended an EPA conference for Climate Showcase Community grantees in Colorado in May.

The grant and planned projects have received considerable media coverage throughout the county. Extensive data on both current and past energy and resource usage in EVI has been gathered and organized, and a report containing EVI’s guiding principles and best practices has been completed. Also, zoning ordinances are being drafted by the County for urban infill and village nodal development projects.

County and EVI staff have already presented on the Climate Showcase Communities project at twelve different events or conferences, reaching over six hundred people, not only in Ithaca, but also in New England, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Keep your eyes open for further events, as well as the soon-to-be launched project website!

Hannah Foster
TCCPI Summer Intern


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