to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

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

TCCPI Member Accomplishments: 2011

Alternatives Federal Credit Union

  • Made $2.14 million in "green loans" in 2011, more than 50% higher than in 2010
  • Conducted seminars on home energy retrofit assistance
  • Participant in "Building Bridges" program connecting economic and environmental issues
  • Signed contract for solar panels to be installed on building in 2012

ASI Renovations/ ASI Energy

  • Completed, as general contractor, their first new construction Energy Star rated structure
  • Formed Energize Ithaca committee and are 50% members
  • Became a partner with the United States Environmental Protection Agency Combined Heat and Power (EPA CHP)
  • Partnered with the US Department of Energy on a large municipal project
  • ASI’s co-owner Anthony Guarneri received his certification from US Green Building Council/ Green Pro in Building Green & Construction Management
  • Completed commercial energy audits for Center Ithaca, LaTourelle Resort & Spa, Beechtree Nursing facility, and Tompkins Chamber of Commerce
  • Completed the first Energy Star retrofit in New York State of a Fraternity house at 106 the Knoll.
  • Presented to the Landlords Association of  Tompkins County on how landlords themselves can retrofit existing tenant spaces to make them more energy efficient
  • Trained 7 new “green” workers with the help of NYSERDA
  • Expanded office and operations
  • Now offering High Efficiency (Energy Star) Kitchens and Baths
  • Became an Energy Star partner

Black Oak Wind Farm

  • Black Oak Wind Farm LLC formed, bought out the assets of Enfield Energy LLC
  • Started process of developing a 20 MW community owned wind farm

Cayuga Medical Center

  • Commissioned an Energy Audit by Taitem Engineering through NYSERDA grant.
  • Participated in a national survey of energy efficiency in healthcare through ASHE (American Society for Healthcare Engineering).
  • Completed Phase I Feasibility Study for CHP and District Heating. 
  • Hosted a major stakeholders meeting for the West Hill area to discuss interest and next steps in District Heating.
  • Committed budgeted funds for Phase II of the CHP/District Heating project, as well as for a 30% Design component
  • Enhanced our Reduce/Reuse/Recycle program to be rolled out in 2012

 City of Ithaca

  • Undergoing facility upgrades at the IAWWTP (Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Plant), including lighting and HVAC upgrades, improvements to increase biogas production and Heat & Power cogeneration, installation of a solar PV system, and more.
  • A number of City departments and agencies worked together to secure funding and implement a solar-thermal (hot water) project at two City buildings (to be installed March 2012). These systems are projected to supply between 40 to 50% of the annual DHW (domestic hot water) load for the two facilities – Streets & Facilities and Cass Park main building –, and provide total annual energy savings of approx. 166 MMBTUs.
  • Signed contract – through the MEGA alliance – to purchase RECs (Renewable Energy Credits) for 100% of the City’s electricity supply (starting January 2012). This was recently followed by the City joining EPA’s “Green Power Partnership” (Feb. 2012).
  • Initiated work on the City’s new Comprehensive Plan, which integrates sustainability principles and brings key sustainability issues to the forefront of the planning process. The plan will address topics like energy conservation, sustainable development analysis, greenhouse gas emission reduction, and more.
  • Installed over 2 miles of new bike lanes, mainly on Rt. 89 and Mitchell St.
  • Worked on planning for the construction of new sidewalks and repair of existing ones, to provide improved conditions for pedestrians.
  • Exploring the feasibility of creating a Bicycle Boulevard network; a system of traffic-calmed streets where bicycle traffic is prioritized over motor vehicle traffic.
  • Created a Sustainability page for the City website to inform and educate the public on sustainability related activities, recent initiatives, documents and useful resources (launched in late December; currently undergoing latest updates and improvements).
  • Conducted a greenhouse gas emissions inventory for the calendar year 2010. Based on these results, an updated Energy Action Plan is underway – to be presented in early spring 2012.
  • Working with Taitem Engineering to study and analyze future renewable energy alternatives.
  • Collaborating with other organizations and community partners in the county on the “Get Your GreenBack - Tompkins” energy efficiency campaign.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCETC)

  • Completed a successful NYSERDA grant delivering community-based energy efficiency education and town facilities energy efficiency upgrade services to six towns: Dryden, Lansing, Ulysses, Enfield, Newfield, and Danby. Highlights include:
  • With the help of 500 volunteers through the Cornell Public Service Center (Into-The-Streets) and Tompkins Energy Conservation Corps interns, (and funding from Cargill & ReLight NY,) distributed 12,000 "Get Your GreenBack - Tompkins energy saving information packets to households in the City of Ithaca and across the county, generating $589,000 in savings. Packets included a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), energy savings information, coupons, and a NYSERDA booklet containing an application for a home energy assessment. The effort was the largest effort of its kind in upstate New York and is being used as a model for Stueben County in fall 2012.
  • Assisted in the creation of and provided fiscal sponsorship for the Get Your GreenBack - Tompkins coalition (over 70+ partners, see: http://www.getyourgreenbacktompkins.org with the goal of inspiring every household and business in Tompkis County to take a new step for energy savings and received initial grant funding to do so.
  • Continued to grow the Tompkins Energy Conservation Corps (or Energy Corps), an outreach/educational initiative to engage community groups from all sectors on the economic potential for energy efficiency – 16 more students were trained in the program and over 30 community groups received services/presentations, including 8 "Energy Teams."
  • Continued to adopt several components of our education model for workforce development elsewhere in the state, including the city of Binghamton, and has worked with Cooperative Extension in Chemung and Schuyler counties to adapt it for extension outreach education.
  • Continued to create a wide range of educational materials on building demand for energy efficiency upgrades that have been distributed across the state through the Cooperative Extension statewide Energy and Climate Change team, including upgrade upstate web portal site, video testimonials from homeowners, a “Path to Energy Savings,” online guide to financing home energy upgrades, and more (see www.ccetompkins.org/energypath)
  • Coordinate weekly articles in the Ithaca Journal during the winter months, which was so successful we were asked to replicate the series under the Get Your GreenBack - Tompkins brand.
  • Began a landlord / tenant pilot program to educate tenants on energy saving actions and help landlords apply for financial incentives to upgrade properties
  • Promoted new On-Bill Financing program for home energy efficiency upgrades, which started January 30, 2012.
  • Initiated an energy action conference, "Youth Power Summit", with 200 middle school to college-aged students (9 school groups and 8 workshops) to inspire their involvement in creating a clean energy economy for our region, which led to the creation of the statewide youth network, the Green Umbrella: NY Youth for a Just and Sustainable Future
  • Received grant funds for and implemented the 1st-ever Building Science Course (BPI certification) for high school students. 18 students took the course (mix of classroom and field instruction) with 100% of the students who took the BPI “building analyst” certification test passing it

Cornell University

  • Cornell Gold STARS rating: At the leading edge of sustainability efforts across higher education, Cornell’s “green” endeavors have earned the university a STARS gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, is a self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to gauge progress in sustainability (http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Jan12/STARSrating.html
  • CornellNYC Tech: Cornell was selected to develop a new applied science and engineering campus on Roosevelt Island, located on New York City's East River. The campus will be a model for sustainability, and a net-zero energy LEED Platinum academic building is part of that development. The campus will create a vibrant community focused on innovation and commercialization, with space for academics, incubators and accelerators, R&D space for tech sector partners, and housing and a conference center (http:/www.news.cornell.edu/pages/TechCampus.shtml.
  • COP 17: Cornell sent a delegation of twelve staff, extension professionals and students to the United Nations climate negotiation conference (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa. Cornell hosted an informational booth with materials from Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Climate Action Plan, and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. The Cornell Global Labor Institute coordinated several panels on “just transitions” for workers in green energy economies. Dominic Frongillo (CCE) hosted a press conference on the climate change impacts of hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale formation.
  • Climate Action Plan 2011:  The Climate Action Plan update highlights accomplishments since the plan was launched in 2009.  Four projects achieved LEED Gold recognition: Riley Robb Biofuels Research Laboratory, Physical Sciences Building, Combined Heat and Power Plant Office, and Animal Health Diagnostic Center.  In addition, eight new building projects are targeting LEED Gold or higher.
  • AVF Research Projects: The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future funded 10 research projects for a total of $662,509. The Academic Venture Fund stimulates original, cross-disciplinary research at Cornell in sustainability science, and emphasizes work with the potential to involve external partners such as industry, government, foundations, and NGOs. Nearly all the proposals include investigators from more than one college and most encompass two or more of ACSF’s themes of energy, environment, and economic development. The AVF granted this cycle (http://www.sustainablefuture.cornell.edu/grants/AVF/2011).
  • Carbon Offsets: The Finger Lakes Climate Fund helped Cornell offset travel-related carbon emissions associated with the Big 10 & Friends Utility Conference.
  • The End of Coal: Cornell ended all campus coal use in March 2011 (http://www.cornell.edu/video/?videoID=1165. The coal plant is being replaced with Cornell's new 30-megawatt Combined Heat and Power co-generation facility, which burns natural gas to generate electricity and heat.
  • Sustainable Energy Systems Minor: The College of Engineering launched a new university wide minor in Sustainable Energy Systems.  The administrative home is the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and it includes courses in such wide-ranging disciplines as biological and environmental engineering; earth and atmospheric sciences; and mechanical and aerospace engineering. Its broader aspects reach across the university to encompass environmental, economic, and social impacts of energy technologies (http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Feb11/SustMinor.html
  • Energy and Climate Resource Center: Cornell Cooperative Extension launched a resource center on energy and climate issues. The dual issues of climate change and energy cross many research and policy areas. CCE’s investment in programming will have state-wide impact. http://blogs.cce.cornell.edu/energy.
  • Accolades: The Princeton Review included Cornell in "The Princeton Review Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition." http://www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.aspx. Sierra magazine identified Cornell as one of the “Coolest Schools" for 2011. http://action.sierraclub.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=213801.0.

EcoVillage at Ithaca- Center for Sustainability Education

  • Climate Showcase Communities EPA Grant: In partnership with the Tompkins County Planning Department, EVI-CSE has completed the first year of a three year EPA grant to document and disseminate the lessons learned from its twenty years of experience in building an internationally recognized sustainable community. To date, a report “EcoVillage at Ithaca: Principles, Best Practices & Lessons Learned,” and a new proposed Pedestrian Neighborhood Zoning law have been written, and extensive groundwork on three residential pilot projects have been accomplished.
  • Solar Electric for a Neighborhood: The first cohousing neighborhood in EVI installed a 50KW ground-mounted photovoltaic array in December, 2011. The 220 solar panels provide electricity for the entire 30 household neighborhood, and are master-metered through four energy centers. Resident investors will be paid back over fifteen at 5% interest, while household bills remain at typical utility rates.

EMC Energy Committee

  • Following the EMC's adoption in 2010 of the resolution, "Recommending Tompkins County and Municipalities Sign a Letter of Intent to Purchase Wind Power from the Enfield Energy Wind Project", the Energy Committee prepared a Support Memorandum and made a presentation to the Tompkins County Legislature's Planning, Development, and Environmental Quality (PDEQ) Committee at its February 2011 meeting. 
  • The Energy Committee urged the Tompkins County Legislature to arrange a meeting with Gordon Boyd, Energy Next, the purchasing agent for the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance which negotiates on behalf of Tompkins County, and Barbara Blanchard, the Executive Director of MEGA, to discuss the bid specifications for a program agreement to select a vendor to supply electricity to Tompkins County. Gordon and Barbara attended the August meeting of the PDEQ.
  • The Energy Committee advocated that the bid specifications require bidders to provide a fully integrated portfolio option of mixed energy sources rather than pricing wind and solar separately. In lieu of purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates, the Committee proposed that an investment of equivalent public funds be devoted to the direct development of the County's renewable infrastructure and production facilities.
  • The Energy Committee requested that the NYS Public Service Commission update their Environmental Disclosure Label data. The disclosed information enables consumers to select an electric supplier based on environmental quality and resource diversity. This data is available on their web site as well as distributed on an annual basis by the consumer's energy services company.
  • Tompkins County was urged to adopt a routine maintenance schedule for the solar array at the Tompkins County Public Library. Vegetative growth establishes itself each year on the roof and shades the panels thus reducing their efficiency.
  • The work in the transportation sector is being achieved by a number of
    community partners, not just the ITCTC. Partners include TCAT, Tompkins
    County Department of Social Services, Ithaca Carshare, Extension's
    Way2Go program, Cornell University, Ithaca College, TC3, City of Ithaca,
    and the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce.

Finger Lakes Land Trust

  • Completion of seven land protection projects that add forestland to the growing Emerald Necklace Greenbelt and will also secure more than 4,000 feet of frontage on Fall Creek and Trumansburg Creek. 
  • Partnered with Parks and Trails NY to host the first ever Finger Lakes Regional Trails and Greenways Conference.  One hundred and fifty volunteer and local officials attended this two-day event, which was held at Cornell.

 Franziska Racker Centers

  • Received Silver rating from the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) at our “Starry Night” Respite House in Cortland, and new residential home on Warren Road in Ithaca. Both houses are also NYSERDA Energy Star rated homes.
  • Installed thermal solar panels, storage tanks, pumps and controls to supplement existing domestic hot water systems at six of our residential homes. The systems were supplied and installed by Tompkins Community Action through a grant received by the US Department of Energy under the Sustainable Energy Resources for Consumers (SERC) and additional funding from New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR).
  • Completed air sealing and insulating at all 20 of our eligible residential houses within a three- county area with funding from NYS DHCR, and Tompkins Community Action (TCA), Cortland County Community Action Program (CAPCO), Tioga Opportunities (Tioga County), and Seneca County Weatherization.
  • Replaced all lighting fixtures in our Cortland County preschool site with energy efficient T8 fixtures and reduced lighting to appropriate levels with help from National Grid.
  • Installed a new VRV heating and AC system at our Tompkins County preschool site, as well as a heat recovery ventilation system throughout the preschool and upgraded the HVAC controls for better efficiency. Replaced all lighting with T8 fixtures and installed occupancy and day light sensors to reduce unneeded lighting.
  • Installing a 24kW, 116 panel photo-voltaic array in conjunction with Solar Liberty on the Wilkins Road Administrative building.

Ithaca Carshare       

  • Ithaca Carshare saw continued growth in 2011, expanding their membership to 1,200 members and their fleet to 16 vehicles, including a minivan and pickup truck. Research conducted in March of 2011 by Cornell graduate student Timon Stasko showed that each Ithaca Carshare vehicle added replaces about 15 privately owned vehicles, a number which matches national carsharing research.
  • The low-income Easy Access membership plan, which subsidizes regular membership costs by more than half and reduces financial barriers to getting started, has been a success and has seen a doubling of membership since 2011. In February of 2011, with support from the Park Foundation, Ithaca Carshare was able to purchase two vehicles to be placed specifically in Ithaca's low-income neighborhoods, increasing access to transportation for those with the most barriers.
  • In September of 2011, Ithaca Carshare received a grant from NYSERDA to host the Upstate Transportation Forum. The conference was planned in partnership with Tompkins County, Tompkins County Consolidated Transit, the Ithaca Tompkins County Transportation Council, the New York State Department of Transportation, Way2Go, Ithaca College, Cornell University, The Downtown Ithaca Alliance, The City of Ithaca, and the Ithaca Visitors Center. The four-day conference drew 225 participants from across the state, covering topics from active transportation, carsharing and transit to planning, politics, and collaboration. 

Ithaca College

Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

  • Using the Clean Air – Cool Planet green house gas emissions inventory tool, research student Jonathan Thompson worked for a second year under the supervision of Dr. Susan Swensen in Biology to update the College’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory through FY 2009-10. This work is how we measure our progress in achieving our climate action goals, but it should be noted that our emissions inventories lag a year behind the fiscal year period in which we are reporting progress on climate action plan implementation.
  • The College did report a substantial amount of offset activities which reduced our gross carbon emissions. As part of our commitments under the LEED protocol, we purchased renewable energy certificates (RECs) for a portion of the energy used by both the Park Center and Williams Center projects, affording us a reduction of 145 MTeCO2 from the gross emissions total. We also achieved reductions in net emissions by sequestering 107 MTeCO2 from our composting of food waste, slightly more than in 2008-09. Together, these activities earned us a net emissions total of 32,048 MTeCO2 for fiscal year’09-‘10, a 15% increase over last year’s total net emissions of 27,895 MTeCO2. Ithaca College Climate Action Plan Progress Report – Year 2 (FY 2010-11)
CAP Facilities Implementation Team

  • Energy Manager Michelle Jones – whose position was specifically called for in the CAP – completed her first year of work. She has been looking carefully at patterns of energy use in campus buildings, seeking opportunities to make significant reductions in peak loads, for which we pay a premium to the utility. Michelle continued to conduct energy audits of campus buildings and she continues to working with other trades within Facilities Maintenance to improve energy efficiency. Michelle worked with faculty to identify possible demonstration projects of renewable energy technologies. Energy reports have been designed to be uploaded to the Facilities Website. Michelle is focused on developing a Strategic Energy Management Plan for implementation by end of year 2012.
  • Upgrades of lighting and direct-digital controls for HVAC systems continue as funding permits. Additional Variable Frequency Drives have been installed in several areas. Facilities Electricians have leapfrogged from incandescent lighting over fluorescent fixtures directly to extremely high-efficiency LED technology for many applications.
  • A proposal for a complete campus energy audit and “retro-commissioning” study was solicited. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority agreed to fund half of this project. The proposal was tabled until late summer 2011 pending release of funding, but is now under way.
  • Installing submeters on all energy (and water) systems in all campus buildings was identified as a priority. The Energy Manager identified the types and brands of desired submeters for electricity; installing a number of these units is included in the energy audit proposal (see above). As part of that project, new wireless meters will be installed in many areas, helping us “fill in” our energy consumption picture, plus 8 additional natural gas meters will be installed. This work is expected to be completed by Fall 2012.
  • Solar domestic water heating demonstration projects and small wind projects have been identified and funding proposals were submitted for capital budget review. Those projects were not approved for funding in 2011-12, but the small wind project will be re-evaluated for 2012-13. The solar domestic water heating project was tabled pending the need for additional engineering studies.

 CAP Transportation Implementation Team

  • The Transportation team continues to work on Transportation Demand Management (TDM) goals and targets, which include increasing transit ridership, increase use of carsharing, ridesharing, walking and cycling as preferred modes of commuting to campus over use of single occupant vehicles. The substantial premium on first-year student parking permits as well as limitations on the amount of first year permits issued has greatly decreased the number of registered vehicles by that group. But the relatively modest parking fee for continuing students ($120) – still far less than a year’s purchase of TCAT bus passes – does not create the “value proposition” for considering alternative transportation. And faculty and staff – with sufficient, free parking – have few disincentives for commuting to campus with single occupant vehicles other than the increasing costs for owning and operating a car.
  • Ithaca College continues to underwrite 100% of the cost of faculty/staff commuting using TCAT, the local transit service provider. Utilization of the local bus system continues to increase as fuel prices stay relatively high. Student pass purchases – of which the College underwrites between 30-33% of the special student pass cost – also continue to increase, especially since TCAT implemented a new fare system which enabled them to load purchased bus permissions onto our students’ ID card.
  • Ithaca College expanded its support for transit service for our employees and affiliates by offering to purchase monthly bus passes on Chemung and Tioga Transit service, for those living in communities served by those systems. Because of route and schedule limitations, the pool of employees utilizing this option is low (10-15 on Tioga; 3-4 on Chemung), but the College’s support is greatly appreciated by those commuter groups.
  •  Ithaca College committed support for the TCAT/VPSI vanpool program, contingent upon college employee participation, and will underwrite part of participating employees’ vanpool costs. As part of the vanpool program, Cornell will provide guaranteed ride home service for any participants in the program. To date, we have yet to have any Ithaca College employees enroll in a vanpool group.
  • Facilities Grounds and Transportation have established fleet fuel economy standards for new vehicle purchase and a number of department managers continue to investigate alternative fuel vehicle options.
  • Human Resources rolled out a significant expansion of the College’s flex-work and tele-work programs, developing protocols for employees to work with supervisors to request such accommodations.
  • Zimride Ithaca, our online community-wide electronic rideboard system, went live in late winter 2011. By the end of the Spring semester, there were more than 500 members of the Ithaca College community seeking commuting rides, offering to share local shopping trips, or connecting for shared rides home for Spring Break.

CAP Resource and Environmental Management Implementation Team

  • REMP Installments (information sheets about sustainability and CAP-related energy, water and recycling programs placed on the inside of bathroom stall doors) are now in place in academic and administrative restrooms. We created a special Installment for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, which brought 2,500 visitors to campus in late March; this installment highlighted for these visitors our recycling and composting practices, as well as reminded them about transit service.
  • The REMP team continues to evaluate Institutional policies and processes related to campus procurement to help guide end-user departments to make purchases that fully support CAP goals (e.g. recycled-content paper and Energy Star equipment and appliances).
  • The REMP team has been working with Tompkins County Solid Waste Management Division to prepare for their planned transition to “single stream” recycling, where all curbside recyclables – paper and containers - are co-mingled. On campus, we plan to continue to separately collect clean office paper, as this has a higher market value, but having other recyclables commingled may free up bins in academic and administrative areas, as well as consolidating recycling/trash pickups on campus, allowing for additional post-consumer compost collection stations on campus, something which many on campus have been requesting..

CAP Education Implementation Team

  • The Spring 2011 Climate Action Research Team (CARTs) class – the first in the planned three-year series of classes to be offered in this (IC)2 pilot project - worked with Energy Manager Michelle Jones and representatives of the Peggy R. Williams Center to study issues of occupant comfort in that LEED Platinum building. In particular, the CARTs team focused on reducing the need for or eliminating altogether the practice of using personal under-desk heaters, which undermine the energy efficiency of the building. The Fall 2011 CARTs class will study behavior change strategies to improve energy conservation in the residence halls, as well as conduct research into a central utility plan for campus.
  • Students in the Fall 2010 Sustainability Principles and Practices class undertook as their class project having Ithaca College participate in the annual Game Day Challenge, sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency. This friendly competition seeks to encourage increased recycling of bottles and cans from tailgating parties at home football games. Ithaca College tied for first place in the Waste Minimization category.
  • Lauren Goldberg ‘13, Business, as part of the Spring 2011 Environmental Science and Technology class, undertook a project to research options for covered bike shelters on campus. Her findings were presented to the Climate Action Plan Steering Committee in May, and her project was also accepted for presentation at the annual conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in Pittsburgh in October 2011.

Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport

  • First major airport project subjected to "sustainability screening". The giant Sand Storage Building, which was in mid-design during the formulation of the airport's Sustainable Master Plan, went back to the drawing board and became the first major airport project to be subjected to the scrutiny of a design team that included a sustainability expert. As a result the plans were modified to include a number of sustainability initiatives that were not in the original plan.
  • November, 2011 Airport wins the prestigious national "Airports Going Green" award at the annual airport sustainability conference in Chicago for its Sustainable Airport Master Plan - the first in the nation. Ithaca's initiative led to the FAA beginning a pilot program for ten other airports, large and small, to conduct similar sustainable master plans. It is generally felt that all airport master plans in the future will require that sustainability be a major component.
  • Airport working with another company to test a low-growing species of grass that will require less mowing and will therefore reduce the amount of emissions from mowing equipment.
  • In conjunction with Sustainable Tompkins and the Finger Lakes Climate Fund, the airport introduced two Carbon Offset Stations in the terminal building. These stations will enable passengers to offset the carbon emissions created by their flights by making a payment to the Finger Lakes Climate Fund. That payment will be used for local emissions-reducing projects and will benefit lower income families who would not otherwise be able to afford them.

Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council 

  • Awarded a NYSERDA Grant to set up a web based ridesharing program for Tompkins County - Zimride Tompkins at http://www.zimride.com/tompkins. The Zimride Tompkins project kicked off in January 2011 with three web portals for participation: Cornell University, TC3, Ithaca College and a community-wide portal. There has been substantial outreach and program participation has been increasing steadily. Cornell is one of the top 2 busiest university based Zimride programs in the nation. We continue to look for more participants. The more people use the system the more effective it is.
  • Launched the initial vanpool serving a group of commuters from Schuyler County. A second vanpool was formed later in 2011. A vanpool is a transportation service for people who make the same trip most days. VPSI, the local vanpool company, provides a passenger van for a group of at least 5 and up to 15 people who agree to commute together. Vanpoolers pay by the month. VPSI can be contacted at 1-800-VAN-RIDE (800-826-7433); ask for Jesse Kafka.
  • Continued the ongoing implementation of the federally required Coordinated Human Services-Public Transportation Plan has resulted in increased resources and services for low income, disabled and senior populations in the Tompkins County. Funded programs include driver training, rural demand response transit, volunteer driver programs, low-income family subsidies for Carshare, travel training programs. More information on the Coordinated Plan can be found at: http://tccoordinatedplan.weebly.htm
  • Initiated implementation of a multi-county Regional Transportation Study in 2011. The study area covers Tompkins County and its adjacent counties - Cortland, Tioga, Chemung, Schuyler, Seneca and Cayuga. The main purpose of the study is to identify more and better mobility options for people moving between counties. Estimated time of completion is late 2012.


The Sciencenter takes a triple-bottom line (environmental, societal, and financial) approach to sustainability. We consider these three elements from two perspectives: internal (organizational) and external (community and beyond).  Each year, we seek to advance all six components of sustainability.

Environmental (Internal: Management - External: Education)

  • Re-lamped all incandescent bulbs with LEDs throughout the museum.
  • Powered the museum’s electricity with 100% wind power for the 5th consecutive year.  
  • Opened major national exhibition Ocean Bound! on watershed health and ocean conservation, with funding from NOAA.
  • Delivered field trips on the topic of renewable energy to 400 2nd grade students in the Ithaca City School District through the Kids Discover the Trail! program.  
  • Delivered ocean health and science field trip to over 750 2nd grade students in rural Tompkins County and Cortland City School Districts through funding from the TRIAD foundation and the Sciencenter endowment.
  • Promoted our online Climate Change Toolkit, a suite of climate change education resources for formal and informal educators at schools, museums and other venues: www.sciencenter.org/climatechange  
  • Provided free afterschool programming on climate change to Dewitt and Boynton Middle Schools in Ithaca City School District through the National Science Foundation’s Communicating Climate Change program.  
  • Installed water filter with educational exhibit about bottled vs. filtered water with funding from Sustainable Tompkins. 
  • Continued development of “Sustainability Corner” with exhibits on waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, composting, and consumer behavior. 

Societal (Internal: Staff – External: Community, & Museum Field)

  • Increased benefits package to include long term disability, life insurance, and accident coverage for all staff
  • Supported local health and human services agencies by participating as a United Way Pacesetter Organization – increased staff contributions by 250% over 2010.  
  • Supported other organizations with 26 staff volunteering for 35 different organizations in Tompkins County and beyond
  • Chaired an international task force to update the content for the annual science center conference, benefitting 500 science centers and 60 million visitors worldwide

Financial (Internal: Organization – External: Community)

  • Grew the Sciencenter endowment to $2 million, with the goal of providing sustained funding for the museum and its programs
  • Instituted new annual budget process that provides for better linkage between the budget and organizational strategy
  • Sciencenter director chaired Tompkins County Area Development board of directors
  • Visitors to the Sciencenter from out-of-county spent $950,000 in Tompkins County during 2011

Taitem Engineering

  • Taitem Engineering added solar photovoltaic (pv) engineering, procurement, and contracting to its list of services. A 9.2 kW solar pv system is now up and running at the 110 South Albany office. Taitem’s system is unique in that there are one or two micro-inverters per panel, so the performance of each inverter system can be monitored separately. Also, there are panels from three different manufacturers tiled adjacently, so Taitem will be able to compare the performance of different panels and manufacturers.
  • Taitem Engineering became a licensed Aeroseal contractor and created a new business, Aeroseal of Ithaca. Aeroseal is a technology for sealing ductwork. Duct leakage can account for as much as 50% of the energy use in forced air systems, and Aeroseal can reduce leakage by 90%. Taitem is excited to make this service available to residential and commercial buildings in our region.
  • A new company, SynairCo Inc., was launched to commercialize Taitem President Ian Shapiro’s invention, the split airstream desiccant cooling system. Special thanks to NYSERDA and to the Syracuse Center of Excellence for all their support in the development of this unit.
  • Sustainable Tompkins acknowledged Taitem’s work as one of this year’s “Signs of Sustainability” award recipients. Taitem received three acknowledgements at the public reception for:
    • President Ian Shapiro’s, article, “10 Common Problems in Energy Audits,” published in the Journal of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers;
    • Taitem’s first overseas project, energy modeling for Varyap Meridian in Istanbul, Turkey, a 4.2 million square foot residential and commercial development that hopes to achieve LEED Gold;
    • Installation of the 9.2 kW solar pv system at our Ithaca building.
  • Taitem Engineering was awarded a GSA contract that allows it to perform work for all departments of the executive branch of the federal government. Services to be provided by Taitem include commissioning, LEED consulting, energy auditing, water conservation studies, program support, and training.
  • Taitem’s research department was awarded a grant from the Syracuse Center of Excellence to develop a method to detect air infiltration in buildings using sound waves. The company also completed a project funded by NYSERDA on determining window U-factors using IR thermometers. Taitem’s research paper, “Method to Diagnose Window Failures and Measure U-Factors on Site” was accepted in the International Journal of Green Energy.
  • Lou Vogel, Taitem’s vice president, participated in a panel, convened by the U.S. Department of Energy, made up of industry experts to develop nationwide standard specifications for green buildings. After a competitive process, Lou was selected for his expertise and innovative HVAC system and sustainable building design.
  • Taitem Engineering was awarded a contract for the NYSERDA Benchmarking and Operational Efficiency Program. Under this contract, Taitem develops site-specific reports for building owners statewide, to show how operational or system modifications may result in energy savings without significant capital investment.
  • Taitem Engineering provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural design for renovation and construction of a new building at the Maguire Automotive car dealership. Taitem also provided LEED consulting and construction administration services. This is one of the first automobile dealerships in the U.S. to achieve LEED Platinum certification.
  • Taitem Engineering provided technical assistance and LEED commissioning for the Hampton Inn hotel in Horseheads, NY which was awarded LEED Silver certification.
  • Taitem Engineering received a High Performance Building plaque from NYSERDA for their LEED consulting services at MaineSource, Ithaca.
  • Taitem Engineering registered its office at 110 S. Albany St. under LEED for Existing Buildings, Operations and Maintenance rating system. Taitem is targeting Gold certification.
  • Taitem Engineering announced a fundamental commitment to protect the environment by becoming an ENERGY STAR Partner.

Tompkins Cortland Community College

Tompkins Cortland Community College is working diligently to fulfill their commitment as a signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The commitment occurs in two areas. The first is the educational process to make the students and staff aware of the environmental issues associated with climate change and the environment and then to provide them with alternatives to assist them in making choices to reduce their impact on the environment and to provide them the training and skills that will be needed for employment in the many opportunities in the green technology fields. The second is to reduce the carbon footprint at the college to a net zero value.

  • Education:
    • In 2009, TC3.biz in conjunction with Alfred State College, six NYS community colleges, and the Association of Builders and Contractors (ABC) formed SUNYGREENSNY, an initiative that grew out of the efforts and recommendations of then Governor NYS Gov. David Paterson's Renewable Energy Task Force. SUNYGREENSNY received a $2M grant from NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) to develop and expand clean energy technology training across New York State. The grant has focused on workforce education in the area of emerging clean energy technologies, including photovoltaic (PV), wind (both wholesale and customer-sited), solar thermal, and geothermal. The consortium goals focus on enhancing building capacity in the state by developing laboratories and faculty expertise to conduct training in these clean energy technologies.
    • The TC3 Green Energy Technology Program which developed out of this grant offers courses in 3 areas of workforce sustainability training - Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Green Construction Science. Courses in these areas are being developed to be introduced as credit bearing courses. Working with Sustainability Council, many of the concepts of sustainability awareness have been introduced to the general student population, staff, and faculty through events during the course of the academic year, and during Earth Week events.
    • In 2010, TC3 implemented a Sustainability Literacy Program, which allows graduates to receive an endorsement on their diplomas after completing a targeted set of electives in the areas of natural science (e.g., ecology, environmental science), social science (e.g., political science, economics), and the humanities (e.g., sustainability-themed English courses, environmental ethics).  In addition to a wide selection of electives in these categories, all students enrolled in the program are required to take a capstone course entitled Global Seminar, which takes a case study approach to crafting sustainable solutions to current global sustainability issues.
    • The Sustainability Council also solicits input from the staff and students through the suggestions boxes installed in various locations around the campus. Recognition is made of individuals or organizations that show their commitment and energy to sustainability by presenting them with a certificate and engraving their name on a plaque mounted in the main lobby of the college.
  • Transportation:
    • Transportation is the greatest challenge since TC3 is a commuter school. This accounts for more than 50% of the carbon footprint for the college. To reduce the impact of the daily commute TC3 promotes the use of ZIMRIDE on our website to encourage students and staff to car pool. Additionally, TCAT partnered with the college to provide additional routes to not only the college but also to the residence halls. The fares for students have been discounted and the college provides the students with an additional subsidy to use the public transportation system. Based on the information gathered from TCAT the use has increased by more than 13% with over 18,500 fares reported for 11 months of 2011.
  • Waste Reduction:
    • TC3 has been recycling cardboard, paper, plastic, glass and electronic equipment for many years. Three years ago the college began separating compostable materials from the waste stream and contracted with Cayuga Compost to recycle this waste. We have diverted in excess of 119 tons of organic materials from the landfill through this process since the inception of the program.
  • Energy:
    • TC3 is aggressively pursuing plans to reduce the use of fossil fuels to the minimum feasible level. As examples the IT department has programs to update the computer systems on campus replacing old equipment with more efficient and powerful machines. The main server has been upgraded and now uses approximately30% less energy which also reduces the need for cooling in the space. The other building operating systems are constantly being evaluated for energy saving measures. Lighting systems have been changed to provide room by room switching as alterations are made and to meets the changing needs of existing spaces. Heating and cooling systems have been adjusted to provide the code required ventilation limiting the excessive outdoor air that was programmed into the control system for some areas. Temperature reductions are set for spaces such as the gymnasium that have low occupancy for most of the week. This has resulted in a significant drop in energy use on campus. During the 2003-2004 academic year the college was consuming energy at a rate of about 130,000 btus/square foot. This was reduced to about 76,500 btus/square foot during the 2010-2011 academic year. This reduction was achieved with an increase in the student population and building area.
  • Renewable Resources:
    • The college installed a small photovoltaic array as part of a classroom addition project. The use of photovoltaics will be expanded during the current academic year with the installation of a 25kW array. The college has contracted with Liberty Solar of Buffalo, NY to install the array and further displace purchased electricity. The college actively looks for opportunities to expand the use of renewable energy to replace fossil fuels.

    Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce

    • Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, 904 East Shore Drive
      • Replaced 3 windows that were leaking
      • Removed a door that was extremely leaky and rebuilt the wall
    • Crescent Building, 217 N. Aurora St., (Holt Architects)
      • Replaced the roofing on office with a high-albedo (white) membrane which greatly reduced cooling loads
      • Replaced the ballasts and tubes in all of fluorescent fixtures with higher-efficiency T8 lamping
      • Installing a 38 kW photovoltaic array on the roof, which will replace about 20% of their power consumption.  They currently purchase 20% of their power from a wind-power provider, so 40% of their power will come from zero-carbon, sustainable sources.
    • Benjamin Peters, 120 E. State St.
      • Completed a project of replacing over 300 new electronic ballasts and new LED lighting throughout the store.
      • Over 500 new light bulbs
      • They were reimbursed 70% of the total cost of the project through NYSEG
    • Fingerlakes Electric Supply Co., 802 W. Seneca St.
      • They have converted their counter area and showroom to T-8 8 ft. lamps and electronic ballasts saving 25% energy and increasing their light output by 20%.
      • In their offices they have installed 2x2 LED fixtures, cutting their energy usage by 66%.

    Tompkins County Council of Governments

    • Conducted a public hearing on the NYS gas drilling regulations for over 1,000 people
    • Coordinated local government responses to the NYS gas drilling regulations
    • Promulgated Tompkins County’s Municipal Tools for Addressing Gas Drilling Issues
    • Shared information and examples relative to road use and road preservation laws across municipalities
    • Commissioned Community Impact Assessment: High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing to assist municipalities in considering the impacts of natural gas exploration
    • Coordinated efforts to write gas drilling bans among several municipalities
    • Encouraged the installment of leased solar panels on municipal buildings.
    • Was lead agency for the following element of the Tompkins County Comprehensive Plan’s new Five-Year Implementation Plan: Maintain an inventory of the location and capacity of existing water and sewer facilities and utilize the information to maximize the benefit of public investments and efficiency of facility operations

     Tompkins County Planning Department

    • Worked with four graduate-level Cornell students and professors from engineering, business administration, and city and regional planning to conduct studies into key aspects of the County Energy Road Map to explore the potential and existing energy supplies in Tompkins County.
    • Completed groundwork in 2011 to fund feasibility studies for combined heat and power and district energy around Cayuga Medical Center on West Hill and the Emerson site on South Hill.
    • Awarded a $1M NYSERDA planning grant to develop the Southern Tier Regional Sustainability Plan, an 8-County regional sustainability plan that will include a region-wide greenhouse gas emissions inventory, 20-year implementation plan, 5-year action strategy, and present the top 10 regional projects to be submitted for NYSERDA's Phase II Implementation funding on 2013.
    • Completed the draft “Building Vibrant Communities in Tompkins County:  a Development Focus Areas Strategy” and began community discussions on how to build communities that attract the type and scale of development required to create lively places in which people will want to live.
    • Established the Sustainability Internship Program – the first initiative of the Sustainability Center – that matched 10 student interns with local hosts of sustainability positions from the private, public and non-profit sectors.  Also, developed draft designs and films for 2 Center exhibits on the topics of waste reduction and energy efficiency.
    • Implemented the first year of Tompkins County’s Climate Showcase Community EPA grant to test three different models of smart growth development (rural hamlet, urban, village).
    • Continued to track the status of Property Assessed Clean Energy programs nationally and worked with County legislative leaders to secure co-sponsorship from our Congressional representatives for the PACE Assessment Protection Act of 2011 to provide a national legislative solution to fix the problems holding up PACE.
    • Assisted local municipalities with preparing for potential impacts of high-volume hydrofracking in the County through the work of a Park Foundation-funded Planner dedicated to working with the Tompkins County Council of Governments Task Force on Natural Gas Drilling.
    • Participated in ongoing County initiatives to "stop the paper" - through smart office strategies.

    Tompkins County Solid Waste Management

    • Our community has achieved a waste diversion rate of 60%. Our goal is to achieve a 75% diversion rate by the end of 2015. We began developing a new 10 year Solid Waste Management Plan.
      Tompkins County signed a 10-year contract with ReCommunity of Charlotte, NC to upgrade and operate the Recycling and Solid Waste Center. This public- private partnership will undoubtedly contribute to our waste diversion goal.
    • The new operation includes 5 functions:
      • Single-stream recycling
      • High fiber processing for commercial recyclables
      • Waste diversion from certain recycling-rich commercial loads
      • An expanded drop-off area including the "Recycling Market" for residents and small commercial customers
      • Transfer of remaining garbage to a nearby landfill
    • Our partnership with the national non-profit, Catalog Choice provides our community with the opportunity to opt-out of unwanted mail to reduce waste and even recycling generation.
    • We developed an outreach campaign to increase recycling of new materials and increase residential participation that will launch in spring, 2012.
    • TCSWM received and implemented a grant from the USDA to assist low-income residents of several mobile home parks and apartment complexes to reduce waste through recycling, composting and reuse. A video and manual were produced documenting the fantastic accomplishments of 300 residents. This information will assist others and provide the impetus for expanding this opportunity to other locations in Tompkins County.

     Town of Ithaca

    • Integrating sustainability principles into Town’s Comprehensive Plan including smart growth neighborhoods and green energy codes
    • Completed lighting upgrades in Town’s facilities
    • Completed Government Energy Action Plan
    • Started Community Action Energy Plan 
    • Collaborating with the City and the Town of Dryden in a $8 million+ energy performance contract for the sewer treatment plant
    • Investigating the possibility of an energy performance contract for the Bolton Point water plant

    Travis Hyde Properties

    • Began FlexTech Audit for Center Ithaca with ASI Energy
    • Purchased 5% renewable energy portfolio-wide
    • Completed NYSERDA Multifamily Performance Program Certification for Fall Haven, Lakeland, and Westview Apartments
    • Participated in the NYSEG Commercial Lighting Program for all properties, replacing existing T12s with T8 fluorescents, and incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents
    • Participated in a Tompkins County ReBusiness Waste Assessment
    • Compared with 2008, our company-wide energy usage in 2011 was a reduction in emission of 525 metric tons of CO2 equivalent