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Posts Tagged ‘Tompkins Cortland Community College’

By Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow, Second Nature
(This article appears in the October, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)
TCCPI, a project of Second Nature, is generously supported by the Park Foundation

The ACUPCCEmbedded in the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) is the notion of leadership by example. By committing their institutions to the goal of carbon neutrality, the presidents who are signatories to the ACUPCC underscore the critical role of higher education in meeting the challenge of climate change and building a more sustainable future.

Universities and colleges in the United States have historically been crucibles of social change and laboratories for new ideas and creative solutions to some of society’s toughest problems. In this sense, the ACUPCC is part of a long tradition in our country. What is new, however, is the scale of the problem and the threat it poses to human civilization. Simply providing a model of sustainability will not suffice this time around. Campuses can only truly become sustainable if the communities around them are sustainable. In this sense, implicit in the ACUPCC is the commitment to not only dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of the university or college, but also collaborate with the larger community in doing so.

Tompkins County Climate Protection InitiativeThe Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI) seeks to demonstrate what this kind of collaboration looks like and the impact it can have on a region’s economic and environmental health. With a population of about 100,000, Tompkins County includes three ACUPCC signatories: Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College. These three institutions also happen to be among the top employers in the county. At the same time, the city of Ithaca, the town of Ithaca, and the county government have made formal commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the latter calling for a decrease in emissions of 80 percent by 2050 and establishing an interim goal of 20 percent by 2020.

TCCPI seeks to leverage these climate action commitments to mobilize a countywide energy efficiency effort and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. The coalition, launched in June 2008, currently consists of local leaders from more than forty organizations, institutions, and businesses in the county organized into five sectors: business/financial, education, local government, nonprofit, and youth. Each of these sectors has selected a representative to the steering committee, which tracks the progress of the coalition’s projects and sets the agenda for the monthly meetings of the whole group.

Among the projects currently underway is an effort to explore the feasibility of a combined heating and power plant shared by Cayuga Medical Center and its next door neighbor, the Museum of the Earth. Working with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, TCCPI has also helped to support the establishment of the Tompkins County Energy Corps, which is made up of students from Cornell and Ithaca College who carry out informational energy audits for homeowners, share information with them about state and federal incentives, and encourage concrete steps to improve the energy performance of their residences. Other projects involve the implementation of a $375,000 EPA Climate Showcase Community grant secured by the Tompkins County Planning Office and EcoVillage at Ithaca, both TCCPI members, and the rollout this fall of a countywide campaign to raise awareness about the importance of energy savings.

Perhaps the most ambitious effort undertaken by TCCPI is its current attempt to shape the economic development agenda not just of Tompkins County but the seven other counties in the region that make up what is known as “the Southern Tier.” In particular, TCCPI has called for the implementation throughout the region of large-scale commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy projects totaling $100 million.

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The Ithaca Journal in New York ran an article last week titled “Local colleges take measures to reduce carbon footprints” written by Dan Roth, Marian Brown and In Shik Lee.  The piece provides an overview of how three institutions are working together to reduce their climate impact and fulfill the ACUPCC through their engagement with the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).  They write:

 

The “Big Three” — the Tompkins County higher educational institutions — have each adopted the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations. Cornell University and Ithaca College have each pledged to meet a goal of 100 percent emissions reductions by 2050 and are currently implementing their Climate Action Plans. Tompkins Cortland Community College has submitted the first draft of its Climate Action Plan.

 

Cornell University reports that, over this past winter, new programmable digital heating and cooling controls were installed in the Cornell Campus Store. They are projected to cut energy costs by as much as $75,000 each year, about 49 percent of the store’s energy bill. The upgrade is just one of dozens stemming from Cornell’s increased investment in an Energy Conservation Initiative that aims to reduce energy use by 20 percent by 2015…

 

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Roth is sustainability coordinator at Cornell; Brown is special assistant to the provost for sustainability at Ithaca College; Lee is SUNY GREENS NY program coordinator at TC3. All three institutions are members of Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative. For more information about TCCPI, including a full list of its members, go to www.tccpi.org.


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By Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

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

TCCPI is a multisector collaboration seeking to leverage the climate action commitments made by Cornell University, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins County, and the City 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 Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

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.

Tompkins County and EVI Awarded Major EPA Climate Grant

EcoVillage at Ithaca on a sunny day!

Tompkins County, in a unique partnership with EcoVillage at Ithaca’s Center for Sustainability Education, has been awarded a $375,450 Climate Showcase Communities grantfrom the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fund innovative approaches to creating dense neighborhoods that enhance residents quality of life while using fewer resources.

The project will focus on three different experiments in sustainable development, including construction of a third neighborhood at EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI), an internationally recognized cohousing community in Ithaca, and study of 26 acres of county-owned land as a potential location for a village-scale residential community that draws on the lessons of EVI.

The third project involves the Aurora Dwelling Circle, an urban infill development at the corner of North Aurora and Marshall streets in Ithaca. Builder Susan Cosentini and architect/planner Rob Morache run New Earth Living, the organization that will oversee the construction of the Aurora Dwelling Circle.

“I’m thrilled,” said EVI-CSE Executive Director Liz Walker. “This will give us the ability to translate proven concepts of sustainable community development to a mainstream audience. We hope to reach developers, architects, planners and builders.”

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The Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI) continues to accelerate progress towards climate neutrality and sustainability on a regional basis in and around Ithaca, NY. With three ACUPCC signatory institutions – Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College – and a concentration of leading businesses, NGO’s, and government agencies, the coalition is developing and implementing innovative solutions.

Recent activities include:

  • Co-sponsored with the Ithaca Downtown Alliance and the Park Foundation a public lecture in early May by David Orr on the Oberlin project – standing room only crowd at the county library!
  • Co-Sponsored with the Cayuga Medical Center a luncheon the following day with about 3 dozen community leaders with David Orr to discuss how the lessons of Oberlin might apply to downtown redevelopment in Ithaca
  • Collaborated with the Tompkins County Landlords Association to carry out a survey of landlords in the county about energy efficiency and barriers to more widespread investment in this area of property management. Results were presented at the July meeting.
  • Co-sponsored the summer rollout of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Tompkins County Energy Corps, which includes 15 students from Cornell and Ithaca College conducting energy audits and sharing information about energy efficiency as well as state and federal incentives.
  • County planning officials presented a draft of the County’s 2020 Energy Action Plan at the May meeting and received feedback from the group. A very substantive discussion that helped refine the county’s thinking.
  • Gary Stewart, assistant director of community relations for Cornell University, has taken leadership of newly formed TCCPI outreach working group which will seek to raise the profile of TCCPI in the community as well as outside it.
  • Kicked off what will be an ongoing discussion of the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling on greenhouse gas emissions with outstanding presentations by Cornell professors Tony Ingraffea and Bob Howarth.
  • New members of the coalition since February include HOLT Architects, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, and Tompkins County Solid Waste.
  • The Park Foundation renewed TCCPI’s funding for another two years with a 20 percent increase beginning July 1

TCCPI is a program of Second Nature, coordinated by senior fellow Peter Bardaglio, former Provost of Ithaca College and co-author of Boldly Sustainable. For more information on the program, its history, and its goals, please visit: www.tccpi.org.

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