to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

November-December 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011


Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Award: Peter Bardaglio

  • Governor Cuomo awarded $49 million to Southern Tier, which includes Tompkins and seven other counties
  • TCCPI proposal for $1 million revolving fund to carry out large-scale institutional and commercial energy upgrades approved as part of this process
  • Empire State Development is providing money for the revolving fund and Blue Hill Partners will manage it

Town of Ithaca Energy Action Plan: Katie Stoner

  • In 2009, the Town of Ithaca government used 46,548 MMBTus of energy, resulting in 3,928 metric tons of CO2e
  • Water use a large contributor to the Town’s overall emissions, in part because water must be pumped uphill using a huge amount of energy
  • Water and energy closely linked – huge amounts of water used to cool energy plants, for example
  • Michelle Jones: Water IS energy
  • 60% of emissions were from electricity use, which highlighted the importance of the potential of solar
  • 3,900 tons of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 432 homes using electricity throughout the year, or 699 passenger vehicles
  • Half a million dollars per year spent on water and energy associated with it
  • Two goals: reduce emissions 30% by 2020 below 2009 levels, and 80% by 2050 below 2009 levels
  • The Energy Action Plan is the guiding document to move the town toward these goals
  • Short term actions: improve efficiency, thereby reducing demand – requires a low to moderate investment, provides quick return on investment, and produces energy savings that can be reinvested in future projects
  • Mid to long-term actions on the supply side: solar PV – seems like the most appropriate first step alternative energy for the town of Ithaca
  • Energy efficiency upgrade at water treatment plant, which will eventually pay for itself
  • Established extensive actions to be taken in order to reduce emissions and increase efficiency for each subsector of emissions (buildings and facilities, town fleet, water, streetlights and traffic signals)
  • Renewables: to start, town will purchase renewable energy credits, as well as potential solar power purchase agreements
  • Solar-operated gate to the town hall parking lot, not so much to save a lot of energy but to prove that solar is a reliable source of energy, even in this cloudy area
  • Herb Engman: We are trying to institutionalize sustainability in the town of Ithaca, but it does take a long time – next time the planning department makes a round of hiring, Herb hopes they can hire a sustainability planner.
  • Martha Robertson: Perhaps Blue Hill could provide financing the retrofitting/upgrade of the water treatment facility
  • Herb: How can we get a broader buy-in on these initiatives? Smaller municipalities need to find a way to get involved with efforts like this, but difficult to do all of this without big staff – we hope to create guide to the process for small municipalities

NYSERDA Grant for Electric Car Charging Stations: Peter Bardaglio

  • Sites for electric car charging stations being identified – then NYSERDA will provide money for company to install stations
  • Wide range of local institutions, companies, and government offices submitting letters of intent as part of this process

Cayuga Medical Center CHP Plant: Lou LoVecchio

  • No deal breakers surfaced in feasibility study
  • Hospital has set aside significant funding for the next phases, looking at having a biomass boiler
  • Trying to accommodate a loop for West Hill developments
  • Upcoming meeting to discuss results of feasibility study

Brownfield Application and Sustainability Center: Katie Borgella

  • Sustainable Strategies DC has worked with us to submit an application to EPA Brownfield program  for funding a feasibility study regarding establishing a CHP plant at Emerson
  • Sustainability Center currently recruiting internship opportunities for spring semester – center currently virtual but hope to find physical location in not too distant future

Review of 2011 Goals and Accomplishments: Peter Bardaglio

  • Sector representatives will be contacting TCCPI members in January to provide short reports on 2011 accomplishments regarding climate action and clean energy
  • We have made significant progress on 2011 goals:
    • Feasibility study for potential South Hill district energy system—identify potential energy sources and financing
    • More sophisticated efforts to raise profile of TCCPI coalition efforts with state and federal officials
    • Explore possibility of Cayuga Medical Center/PRI CHP
    • Establish Sustainability Center on The Commons or elsewhere downtown
    • Expand media outreach, including Ithaca Journal TCCPI series
    • Establish low-interest loan fund for financing residential energy upgrades
    • Organize and mobilize countywide energy campaign
  • Need to focus on developing support among for-profit large employers and in faith community 


Tompkins County Energy Options: Larry Cathles, Cornell University

  • Cathles is professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell – teaches graduate level class at Cornell called Energy and Mineral resources of the Earth
  • Class investigated the feasibility and costs of replacing the energy produced by AES Cayuga with solar, nuclear, gas, wind locally
  • AES Cayuga: 2 units built in 1955 have combined capacity of 323 MW/a, providing 85-95% of Tompkins County electricity
  • Power density: Energy received/produced per unit of space, the amount of land needed to generate a certain amount of energy – for the sun, 1000 w/m2 hits Earth, 15 w/m2 of which is sequesterable.
  • Cathles noted that many of his students are enthusiastic about the potential of nuclear, but some at meeting question safety and tech of nuclear
  • Group suggested that next time the study should include the potential for energy conservation and how that would subsequently affect the numbers for the respective technologies
  • Cathles questioned the economic viability of solar for the region, although some at the meeting noted that the price of solar is projected to decrease by 2/3 in the next 5 years
  • Cathles argued that energy conservation will not make much of a dent with the upcoming population boom and development – right now globally we consume about 15 terawatts, but we will need 75 terawatts if all of these future people will have European level of electricity consumption and quality of life – Ed Marx responded that it was not possible or desirable for everyone to be consuming at that level.
  • Class ultimately recommended a mix of wind, natural gas and solar for the short term, and a phase out of natural gas for nuclear or renewables for the long term 

Finger Lakes Energy Choices: Milt Taam, Town of Caroline

  • Presented his thoughts on old and new clean energy choices for Tompkins County
  • A study was done in 1983 on the potential of Six Mile Creek Hydro
  • Tradeoffs in using the falls: local energy, but issues with potential disruption of enjoyment of falls. Fall Creek ultimately deemed a ‘wild and scenic river’ so that it could not be used
  • Dennise Belmaker: Van Atta dam would still be too expensive/not feasible – city has looked into it recently
  • Right now microturbines seem to be the best option – building plant at Van Atta is not usable and would need to be replaced, which would be very expensive
  • Taam asked if it might be worth it, and offered that the new building wouldn’t have to be expensive
  • According to Taam’s figures, TC solar panels generate 1/100th of what Ithaca Falls could produce
  • Some at the meeting questioned his conclusions because inflation since 1983 figures not accounted for
  • Ed Marx argued further that numbers need to be normalized, because in reality, in these days, hydro would not be feasible and solar would in fact be more attractive based on projected dramatic decreases in prices
  • Taam presented concept of pumped hydro alternative using Cayuga Lake and its surrounding hills
  • Katie Borgella asked what kind of energy would it take to pump the water up the hill, and Taam responded that it can be done efficiently, with examples in Denmark and Norway
  • One advantage of pump hydro is that you can get the energy on demand versus renewables which have down times when there is not a lot of sun or wind
  • We are potentially a good fit for pump hydro because of elevation changes along lake – expensive tunnels required but there is a lot of potential for energy

USGBC-NY Upstate Chapter GPRO Training: Andrew Gil, HOLT Architects

  • GPRO training options: 1) 4 hour course in fundamentals of green buildings which is for building professionals; 2) subsequent trade specific 6-8 hour courses focused on construction management, HVAC management.
  • Aims to also reach maintenance, facilities, construction and operations people on board who are really important to getting green building practices implemented
  • Gil expects GPRO to pick up steam in the next five years and thinks its certifications may become valuable
  • Potential professional development hours for architects as an incentive
  • GPRO is needed in some ways because the LEED exam has changed a lot and gotten more exclusive/harder. GPRO also qualifies as intro coursework for LEED qualification
  • NYSERDA can reimburse 50% of course expense in some cases
  • Finger Lakes region GPRO training should be happening soon (December or early next year)
  • If anyone knows of a local institution or group that would be interested please let them know about it

Solar Liberty: Ed Marx, Tompkins County Planning Dept.

  • Firm in Buffalo which offers program to lease solar PV systems for government, non-profits, commercial – 25 kw/building for government and non-profits; for commercial, 50 kw
  • 25 kw system for 125/month (fixed) for 15 years and they will install and maintain it, will review your bills with you to make sure you are qualifying and would be realizing the savings
  • Savings have averages $100-200 per month
  • Liberty Solar is able to do this because of federal and NYSERDA tax credits which virtually cover the cost of hardware, and then the $125 pays them for their time and work for maintaining
  • Liberty basically breaks even but they retain renewable energy credits, which they can then sell – federal credit will expire this year and may not be renewed
  • If TC went through with this, would to have agreements signed soon – a per building deal
  • TC would not get the energy credits, but would be supporting the market and would be saving money. Visibility to the public also sends a good message.

Get Your GreenBack Tompkins Update: Dominic Frongillo

  • Thousands of energy savings bags will be distributed to Tompkins residents on October 29
  • GYGB involves 60 organizational partners with a focus on saving money by saving energy in the areas of local food, transportation and waste


Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council: Fernando de Aragón

  • Council has had to scale back many projects due to budgetary constraints
  • Zimride, a rideshare program, is up and running and is open to everyone in the county. He encouraged employers to inform their employees about this program as a carpooling option
  • The Council is conducting an EPA regional transportation use study to find out more about how people get around the county with hopes of reducing the number of cars coming into the county (15,000 every day)
  • Around 80% of car trips taken in the county are non-commutes, and most of those same trips are within a travel radius of no more than two miles
  • Hopes that an update can be made to the 5-Year Plan by the end of next year

 NYSERDA Sustainability Planning Grant: Ed Marx

  • Up to $1 million for regional grant with the same regions as NYSERDA Energy Smart Communities Program and Regional Economic Development Council
  • Goal is to reduce carbon footprint, increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use
  • Need to identify consultant as part of application process – deadline for applying is Oct. 31, and will issue RFP to consultants some time next week
  • Any application has to be endorsed by Regional Economic Development Council as part of review process after Oct. 31
  • TC will take lead on application and will be reaching out to other municipalities for endorsement, and plan must be written within 8 months for all 8 counties

 Local First Ithaca: Jan Rhodes Norman

  • Began 3 years ago, and is a member of the BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) network (25,000 members)
  • Trying to revitalize local currency and stimulate local economy, advocates for policies that will encourage growth of local economy
  • The seven BALLE principles:
      1. Think Local first 
      2. Increase self-reliance
      3. Share prosperity
      4. Build community
      5. Work with nature
      6. Celebrate diversity
      7. Measure what matters
  • Michael Shuman speaking at the Space at GreenStar on Wednesday, October 26th about revitalizing  local economy and will also be giving a lecture at the CSMA on Oct. 4 at 7:00 pm


Green Power Partnership and Southern Tier Economic Development Council: Ed Marx

  • EPA, private investors to help expedite and realize our goals in a much shorter time frame. There are already successful models for deploying solar PV based on long-term purchasing contracts that make it profitable for investors. Work with institutions that are trying to hedge against rising energy prices in addition to having goals around GHG emissions reductions and energy savings.
  • 30 MW of solar in 1-2 years is possible here in TC, but answers are still needed for questions of NYS regulatory requirements
  • Main issue is around the upfront expenses to study and analyze sites; could be funded by initial partners, or through governor’s $1 billion through economic development effort; not just one path
  • Commercial energy efficiency through Blue Hill, commercial renewables though EPA. Proposal: Set up revolving funds of $500K each to start up energy efficient and renewable energy initiatives to leverage $100 million in private capital. Hope is to bring the proposal to the state through the Southern Tier Economic Development Council. More details on financing can be found in the white paper.
  • Ed Marx: Advantage of PV is that it generates the most power during peak power times, which makes it very economically feasible for purchasers
  • Peter Bardaglio: Rochester International Airport is a strong example of solar PV at work and subsequently saving money in upstate New York.
  • General concerns from group members: 3rd party involvement, importance of creating green jobs locally, sourcing PV locally, creating a vibrant landscape for private businesses, etc. 

Into the Streets/Get Your Green Back Tompkins: Michael Koplinka-Loehr and Shawn Lindabury

  • Using ITS to help launch the “Get Your Green Back Tompkins!” campaign. In preparation of hard launch in November.
  • TCCPI members should be informed and aware of the campaign to ensure success and mobilize the effort.

 Rural Revitalization of the Finger Lakes Region: Ed Marx

  • Coming out of TC planning, recognizing that 2/3 of new development occurring outside of traditional communities, we are trying to reverse that trend and to establish new paradigm for rural development, shifting away from rural sprawl and establishing a stronger identity
  • Agriculture, forestry, renewable energy, tourism and recreation can bring resources and support to bring economic development, job creation, and a more prosperous and sustainable economy (as well as higher quality of life and reductions in GHG emissions)
  • Trying come up with a model for the region and to expand it

TCCPI and the TC Chamber of Commerce: Peter Bardaglio

  • Brief debate on whether TCCPI should join Chamber in which some argues it would help TCCPI build relationships with the business community, whereas others pointed out that TCCPI might not want to be directly involved unless the local Chamber distanced itself from the national Chamber’s climate denial

JULY 2011

Summer Energy Corps: Dominic Frongillo and Yash Gharat

  • Six different efforts:
    1. Energy teams in different neighborhoods: 2 in Fall Creek, and one involving Dryden town staff
    2. Tabling at community events
    3. Another team worked with Leadership Tompkins on youth outreach
    4. Commercial lighting (connecting local businesses with NYSEG)
    5. CALS Green (outreach to labs which are huge energy users)
    6. Team working with summer camp and GIAC
  • 13 summer Interns facilitated meetings
  • Expanding effort in fall to work with churches, schools (ex: New Roots) and other organizations
  • Dominic: Adam Flint in Binghamton is using the Ithaca model for Energy Corps, getting community leaders on board and adapting CCE materials

City of Ithaca: Energy/Sustainability: Dennise Belmaker

  • Mayor signed US Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement Committing City of Ithaca to Kyoto Protocol standards
  • Each of City depts. Developed energy conservation plans in 2005
  • City adopted Local Action Plan (LAP) for local government operations GHG reductions in 2006
  • Climate Smart Communities Pledge in 2009
  • Reviewing and organizing all materials—work on developing sustainability component to website
  • Another major task will involve updating GHG emissions inventory using ICLEI software
  • Follow up on department plans for energy conservation and implement Green Fleet policy
  • Would also like to promote adoption of green building policy and green purchasing policies

County Wide Energy Campaign: Stacey Murphy

  • Crafted language for rolling out energy conservation campaign to different communities and groups in county
  • Will announce competition for graphic design contest for campaign logo. TCCPI will provide $750 for contest winner

Green Umbrella: Reed Steberger

  • Statewide coalition of young people holding a training and organizing action event this weekend in Poultney,NY. Civil disobedience and direct action training against fracking.
  • How can Powershift NY be a springboard for TCCPI affiliated projects like Energy Corps? How to spread it to other campuses?
  • 25 campuses involved and 7 very involved

JUNE 2011

Countywide Energy Efficiency Campaign: Katie Stoner

  • Many initiatives and organizations in the country carrying out a similar campaign, but there is not a clear connection between them, or it seems like they should work together if they are working on similar things
  • Energy campaign: sustainability crowd in Ithaca historically hasn’t worked enough with social justice crowd, and they are trying to combine those groups now more in the context of housing, energy, food, and transportation
  • Trying to reach everyone in Tompkins County in the first 2 years and get everyone to take at least one step – trying to tailor the messages for different demographic groups

South Hill Task Force: Katie Borgella

  • Where might district energy be located on South Hill?
  • Peter B. brought the case statement down to DC and shared it with Congressman Hinchey as well as with staff from Schumer and Gillibrand’s office – all promised to write letters of support
  • Important to find the right feedstock – also need to keep in mind that the project would be in a neighborhood that has already experienced negative environmental effects so need to be sensitive to concerns
  • On-Bill Financing – Ken Schlather
  • On-bill financing passed by NY legislature and signed into law by Governor Cuomo on June 22
  • Loans for energy upgrades carried out through on-bill financing will go with the house and be subordinate to the mortgage – like a home equity loan but goes with the house if agreed upon by buyer and seller.
  • Financing, workforce, and market needs all need to be present for large-scale energy efforts, and this should help with the financing
  • Could be reasonable to assume that with this new on-bill financing that another 200 or so retrofits could be done per year if the workforce is there
  • Big opportunity for low-income people to get green jobs, or for minority contractors to benefit
  • Would take about 1700 job years to do all of the needed retrofits in Tompkins County, with lots of room for entry-level growth

Clean Energy Leadership Summit: Ed Marx and Ken Schlather

  • Ed: There are coalitions emerging involving local actors who are interested in learning from one another, and there is a lot of benefit to be derived from associating with them
  • DOE, EPA, HUD, DOT and other agencies are all working together on energy issues
  • Ken: Even if the politicians might not be interested in climate change, they are interested in job creation, so you can use that angle with them
  • Jobs were created in TC by the stimulus package, which many people in DC didn’t know about – people need to hear success stories
  • Ken: Presentations by people who are both new and not new to the scene – it’s clear that a lot of people/communities don’t know where to start
  • There isn’t enough information out there for people to draw off of systematically but there are a lot of initiatives out there that can provide helpful models and ideas

Other Updates

  • Tristram: The Alternatives Board just approved a new home equity loan project for energy retrofits
  • Ken: The executive director of Climate Communities has a copy of the district energy feasibility study proposal, and they are pretty confident that they can secure funding for a feasibility study
  • Ken: The data on retrofits and audits suggest that our rate of energy efficiency retrofits is 8 to 9 times higher than the rest of the state

MAY 2011

Groundswell Center: Joanna Green, Executive Director

  • Need to secure good source and access to healthy affordable food especially urgent as we enter post peak-oil era
  • Huge increases in household and community-based food production  
  • Groundswell catalyst that brings together farmers, faculty, and students 
  • Three ‘main campuses’: West Haven, King Bird and Northland Sheep Dairy -- will soon expand to 6 core campuses 
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCETC) integrally involved with Groundswell 
  • Individual and business supporters and new grant from USDA’s new farmer program provide support for Groundswell 
  • Launched summer practicum last year-- class of 2010 comprised of 14 students from Cornell, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, and non-students w/ instructors from the 3 institutions and community 
  • Enrollment options: 6 credits or non-credit -- very replicable model
  • Ithaca Crop Mob another initiative of Groundswell -- only a little more than a year old, but very successful with 26 events last year 
  • Very popular with farmers as word about Crop Mob has spread -- have tried to keep Crop mob events to one per month now 
  • Crop Mobs provided over 1000 hours of farm labor in 2010 -- planting, harvesting, weeding, and building fences
  • Finger Lakes CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) another project that Groundswell supports

Youth Representatives Update: Reed Steberger

  • Focusing on hydro racking issues and clean energy at state level 
  • Looking to make youth involvement in activities such as energy corps replicable model statewide 
  • Reed serving as interim representative for young people on steering committee 
  • Working on organizing student reps from each of relevant schools to attend monthly TCCPI meetings

Local Clean Energy Leadership Summit: Peter Bardaglio

  • Peter updated group on TCCPI panel at conference in Washington, DC next month -- organized by Climate Communities
  • Ed and Ken will join Peter for session on "The Power of Partnerships" 
  • Peter in conversation with Andy Seth, executive director of Climate Communities, about forging links between Climate Communities and American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment
  • Martha Robertson raised whether hydrofracking should be part of conversation at summit-- also what about PACE? 
  • Jon Jensen noted increasing coverage of opposition to hydrofracking in media across country 
  • Also shared recent success with proxy votes at Exxon Mobil and Chevron stakeholder meetings--Park Foundation played key leadership role in mobilizing these votes 

Energy Corps 2.0: Dominic Frongillo

  • Partnership between CCETC, Park Foundation, and TCCPI to organize students to carry out distribution of info about energy efficiency and available incentives as well as energy assessments
  • Goal is to accelerate growth of energy retrofits 
  • Green Jobs, Green NY will take over  fall energy audits
  • Four different initiatives this summer: 
    • Commercial lighting 
    • In home no cost/low cost support
    • Energy teams based on Gershon’s Low Carbon Diet Model 
    • Partnership with Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) green initiative exploring behavior change with 6 CALS  buildings 
  • Preparing for another Lighten Up Tompkins campaign in October
  • Jon Jensen: Park Foundation approved $500K investment in residential loan fund to be administered by the Alternatives Federal Credit Union for energy efficiency retrofits
  • Dominic: 66% of students who worked in Energy Corps and graduated have gotten jobs in energy efficiency/clean energy field 
  • Brian Eden and Herb Engman both raised concerns about need to focus on getting landlords more involved in energy efficiency effort

APRIL 2011

Cornell Presentation to TCCPI

  • Kyu Whang presented the 2011 Cornell Partner in Sustainability Award to TCCPI
  • Peter Bardaglio shared a few remarks thanking Cornell for recognition as well as the TCCPI steering committee, Park Foundation, and Sustainable Tompkins

Statewide Cornell Cooperative Extension Clean Energy & Climate Protection Efforts: Dominic Frongillo

  • Dominic shared various ways in which CCE is working to expand the Tompkins Energy Conservation Corps idea to other communities

South Hill Task Force: Katie Borgella

  • TCCPI has focused its effort up to now on reducing demand for energy but also need to address clean energy production
  • 10 people from TCCPI have volunteered to join task force—primary focus is to develop case statement and secure funding for feasibility study to explore viability of CHP on South Hill and development of district energy system to provide clean energy for downtown Ithaca & big box stores

EPA Climate Showcase Community Grant: Ed Marx & Liz Walker

  • Ed provided update on idea behind EPA grant and goals of project
  • TREE project alone will double number of passive house residences in the US
  • Will be able to get close to zero carbon footprint thanks to federal and state incentives, inc. NYSERDA, will be able to do this at fairly affordable cost
  • Liz noted that not every will be able to have same degree of subsidized support but NYSERDA incentives in place until 2018

Chamber of Commerce and Climate Change : Jean McPheeters, President

  • TC Chamber of Commerce has reduced its dues from $2K to $500 as way to express its displeasure with stands that the national Chamber of Commerce has taken 
  • Jean noted extent to which national Chamber has provided training for local Chamber—also has gone to bat on some important issues for small businesses 
  • Board of directors will be discussing again issue of relationship with national Chamber
  • Jean noted that TC Chamber has sent several letters to national Chamber expressing its opposition to position that it has taken on such issues as energy transition

Local Youth Summit and Power Shift: Dominic Frongillo

  • Dominic noted that 160 young people attended Power Shift 2011 in Washington DC earlier this month as the largest delegation in state and second in nation
  • Ariana Shapiro from Ithaca High School discussed development of idea for local youth summit that met earlier this month
  • Almost 200 youth attended summit, which reinforced their commitment—attended workshops on local food movement, building sciences, etc.
  • At end of day marched to City Hall to demand that all public organizations in county take up commitment to 80% by 2050
  • Students came back from Power Shift determined to build statewide coalition and network to accelerate transition to clean energy economy
  • Offered to become allies of TCCPI and asked for seat on TCCPI steering committee
  • Group expressed its strong support of idea of student representative on steering committee

MARCH 2011

Cornell Climate Action Plan: Bert Bland, Director of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability Office

  • Bert reviewed Cornell’s progress on CAP and accomplishments to date (see 2010 Accomplishments for details)

Sustainability Center: Ed Marx, County Planning Commissioner

  • Ed shared info about idea of sustainability center: displays, both static and dynamic, about ways in which community is engaged in environmental, social, and economic aspects of sustainability
  • Also would be center of learning for students and citizens
  • In addition, provide space for meetings and possible offices for projects
  • Goal would be to be fully operational within two years

Countrywide Energy Campaign Update: Dominic Frongillo & Jeff Bercuvitz

  • Effort to be as inclusive as possible—reaching out to groups who have not been included previously
  • Would not focus only on energy per se but would also examine food, transportation, jobs, etc.
  • Includes efforts to tie in with "Green Jobs, Green NY" initiative
  • Looking to connect sustainability and social equity movements
  • Development of creative financing and job training key components

Emerson Project & District Energy: Bruce Abbott, Abbott Lund-Hansen, LLC

  • Bruce shared vision of what he called 100-year vision for county's energy future
  • Visited Denmark to explore district energy model
  • What would it take to purchase both Emerson & AES Cayuga?
  • Need to be able to provide 5-6% return on investment to attract investors
  • Initially, need roughly $250K to carry out feasibility study—would provide blueprint to shop around to potential investors
  • What would it take to convert AES Cayuga to biomass power generator? Plasma approach generates zero emissions
  • Emerson complex involves 17.5 acres of buildings—could easily be converted to producing power once clean up issues addressed
  • Natural gas could serve as initial energy source while making transition to biomass
  • Should be community investment component
  • Potential market of $300-400 million in terms of electricity/heating consumers
  • Bert Bland: feasibility of AES Cayuga very different from feasibility of Emerson—doubts $250 K could cover both

2011 Priorities

  • Feasibility study for district energy system—identify potential energy sources and financing
  • Cornell & Ithaca College climate action plans—due Dec 15—community engagement
  • More sophisticated efforts to raise awareness of TCCPI coalition efforts with state and federal officials
  • Cayuga Medical Center/PRI shared CHP project
  • Sustainability Center on The Commons
  • Media outreach, including Ithaca Journal TCCPI series
  • Financing low-interest loan fund for residential energy upgrades
  • Countywide energy campaign
  • TC Solid Waste strategic plan for solid waste reduction and diversion—75% within 5 years and 80% within 10 years
  • Development of large employee caucus within TCCPI—plan organizing meeting for July


New Partners for Smart Growth Conference: Katie Stoner and Peter BardaglioCornell Presentation to TCCPI

  • Katie and Peter reported on the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Charlotte
  • In the discussion following the presentations, the group discussed the issue of climate adaptation as one that TCCPI should consider
  • Jon Jensen suggested that it was another way to frame the climate debate that could possibly attract a broader audience  Another  important direction for TCCPI going forward is the question of social equity and its relationship to climate and energy issues
  • Climate adaptation and food are areas where social justice and climate change issues converg

Roundtable Update

  • Lou LoVecchio – Cayuga Medical Center
    • West Hill district energy feasibility study: CMC partnering with PRI/Museum of the Earth
    • Working with NYSERDA Flex Tech program 
    • Had scoping meeting w/ NYSERDA and determined that CMC and PRI would be the focus of the study
    • They could then develop a second proposal about how to build on this to provide an energy district for a potential West Hill village 
  • Andrew Gil – HOLT
    • HOLT has signed the American Institute of Architect’s 2030 commitment, which obligates them to examine the work they put out for construction as well as address internal operations in terms of sustainable design
    • http://www.aia.org/about/initiatives/AIAB079458 for further details about the AIA 2030 commitments
  • Dominic Frongillo – Cornell Cooperative Extension, Tompkins County
    • The six towns sharing a facilities energy manager will be hiring very soon, and the City of will also be hiring a new sustainability coordinator soon 
    • Continuing to work on relationship building for the countywide energy campaign (reaching out to communities of color, transportation, food, waste) 
    • TECC model being deployed in three other communities outside of Tompkins County
  • Katie Stoner – Town of Ithaca and Dryden
    • Town of Dryden has completed its baseline sustainability study and the Town of Ithaca greenhouse gas emissions report has been finished
  • Tristram Coffin – Alternatives Federal Credit Union
    • Working on financing to support energy efficiency programs, help people do improvements to get energy savings 
    • Also working with INHS, figuring out how to segment the market given all the different programs that are out there
  • Dan Roth – Cornell University
    • Kicking off a new initiative next week for 10 campus-wide teams to help implement the university’s sustainability action plan Led by faculty and staff with student participation 
  • Bert Bland – Cornell University
    • Cornell received EPA Energy Star award for the new CHP 
    • Operating at 80% efficiency for the past year 
    • Two coal boilers will soon be obsolete, looking for biomass fuel and pelletized wood 
  • Ken Schlather – Cornell Cooperative Extension, Tompkins County
    • CCETC has received a Park Foundation grant to develop a commercial lighting marketing plan for the county Binghamton scaling up energy corps model
    • Binghamton also interested in possibility of developing a TCCPI-like organization
    • Submitted proposal to NYSERDA through Green Jobs for outreach, partnering with Binghamton


Cornell Wind Initiative: Bert Bland (Cornell University)

  • Looking at small scale wind, with some of sites local and others statewide at Cornell facilities 
  • Cornell has issued opportunity notice, indicating they are looking to talk with neighborhoods, farms, communities 

Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future: Mark Lawrence, Director of Communications 

  • Faculty fellows: 220 in 55 departments—another 250 to 300 faculty doing research on some aspect 
  • Atkinson Center seeks to amplify work of faculty 
  • Seeks to put together interdisciplinary teams of faculty 
  • Primary focus is on campus research but developing stronger ties with Cornell Cooperative Extension 

Waste Diversion: Barb Eckstrom (Tompkins County Solid Waste Management)

  • County’s first 20 yr plan established in 1991—achieved 50% waste reduction rate, now runs at 60% 
  • Will be looking to strengthen “pay as you go” program where people only pay for what they throw out 
  • Seeking to achieve 75% diversion rate by 2015 and 85% by 2030—new 20 yr plan 
  • New plan will take into account GHG emissions, energy issues, and carbon footprint Will exceed goals of overall county climate and energy plan Will be moving into single stream recycling with new contract that begins in February 
  • New recycling center will be able to generate new sources of revenue by focusing on commercial and institutional sectors, also will be able to recycle construction materials 
  • TC Solid Waste looking at different models of diversion credits and rebates Will also be devoting efforts to product stewardship, working w/ companies to develop better products 
  • Working on outline of new solid waste plan, which is due by end of year

Countywide Energy Campaign: Dominic Frongillo and Jeff Bercuvitz 

  • Full group meeting in October to launch thinking about county-wide campaign 
  • Smaller group then began meeting regularly to develop messaging and strategy 
  • Jeff asked group to think of organizations and businesses that aren’t normally included in such efforts 
  • At very early stages of planning—looking to engage low-income families and communities of color 
  • Stressed importance of empowerment in such campaigns—how do we get everyone involved? 
  • Four main components to campaign: 
    • Broad call to action 
    • Peer-to-peer messaging and recognition effort: “everyday heroes” 
    • Website: helping people take steps 
    • Community building initiatives w/ partners

309 North Aurora Street | Ithaca, NY 14850 | info@tccpi.org

Meeting Highlights: 2011