to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

TCCPI Member Accomplishments: 2015

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

Alternatives Federal Credit Union


  • Introduced new Solar Loan products with interest only payments for first 18 months of loan term
  • Lowered rate through partnership with local solar energy installer
  • Closed 47 Solar Home Equity and Consumer Loans totaling just under $1 million
  • Made presentation to Public Service Commission Task Force on potential for Community Development Financial Institutions to finance renewable energy for lower income consumers
  • Revived staff “Green Team” to reduce internal waste and energy usage in operations


ASI Energy


  • Energize Ithaca, backed by ASI Energy, continued to develop a microgrid to power downtown Ithaca businesses.
  • Work focused on the installation of a combined heat and power (CHP) facility in the basement of Center Ithaca. This project will generate on-site electricity along with heat for in-building use and in the cooling season, excess heat will be converted to cooling with the use of an absorption chiller.
  • Because the building will be running on CHP, the building was approved as an America Red Cross Point of Refuge. (To be completed in 2016.)
  • CenterState CEO named ASI Energy in October as a 2015 Economic Champion for its contribution to the economy of Central New York. 
  • ASI Energy President and CEO Herbert Dwyer spoke in November at the SUNY BEST “Green Energy in the Southern Tier” event hosted by the State University of New York at Binghamton.
  • Since 2006, ASI Energy has completed over 300 contracts in energy efficiency and energy performance for commercial, residential, and multi-family buildings.
  • Graduated the United States Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders Program
  • Was awarded three NY Prize microgrid projects (City of Syracuse, City of Binghamton, and the City of Schenectady) by New York State and NYSERDA.
  • Was featured in a New York Power Authority/New York Public Service Commission video highlighting ASI Energy’s work as cutting edge and defining NY’s REV process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhzEUdrWyNI.


Black Oak Wind Farm


  • Completed a 5-year environmental review process
  • Tompkins County IDA approved the PILOT Agreement
  • Signed Host Community Agreement with the Town of Enfield
  • Decide to use the new 2.3MW GE turbine, which produces 10% more power than the model we had been considering, the 1.7MW turbine
  • Black Oak named a finalist in this year’sCornell University Partners in Sustainability Award, Community category.
  • Reached an interconnection agreement with NYSEG
  • The main transformer was delivered to a local yard in readiness for substation construction.

Cayuga Medical Center

  • Finalizing Submission of LEED certification for our new Surgical Services renovations
  • Finalizing Submission of LEED certification for the newly constructed Cayuga Birthplace
  • 2016 capital funding approved and project started for a new Chilled Water Winter Loop project, which will have significant impact on winter cooling needs and water consumption reduction from dietary coolers.
  • 2015 – 2016 East Campus participation in the Airport Stage 1, NY Prize Microgrid Feasibility Assessment. The study area extends from the Airport west to Warren Road and south to include the Cornell Business and Technology Park, Parkview Healthcare Campus, TST BOCES and Dewitt Middle School.


City of Ithaca

  • Continued sustainability partnership with the Town of Ithaca through shared Sustainability Coordinator position.
  • Adopted Plan Ithaca, the City’s new comprehensive plan, which integrates sustainability and social equity as major themes, and includes a new sustainability chapter.
  • Participated in Residential Energy Score Project.
    • Creating a voluntary residential energy score program for homes within the five participating municipalities.
    • Participants will be able to receive an energy efficiency rating and score that will allow for better understanding and comparison of the energy use and efficiency of homes across the county.
    • Program creation to be completed mid-2016; Program to be implemented as soon as funding allows (2017?).
  • Signed power purchase agreement for a remote net-metered 2 Megawatt solar array at the Tompkins Regional Airport
    • Would provide for about one third of City government electric needs
    • Would provide renewable electricity at a reduced cost
    • Planning and development efforts are ongoing
  • Began revisions of CIITAP tax abatement program to incorporate additional community benefits such as energy efficiency standards, local construction labor, diversity and living wage.
  • Passed local law to enable Property Assesses Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, which offers long-term low cost financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in commercially-owned buildings.
    • Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca were the first two upstate NY communities to enable this program.
  • Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Plant awarded NY Prize Phase 1 funding for feasibility study of microgrid centered around the wastewater plant.
  • Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Plant received recognition from Department of Energy for energy efficiency goals and performance.
  • Purchased Renewable Energy Credits for 100% of City government electricity use
  • Completed the waterfront trail and connected it to neighborhoods with Route 13 crossing improvements.
  • Installed bike lanes on Cayuga street from Cascadilla Street to Ithaca High School.
  • Finished a majority of the planned bicycle boulevard network as part of the Safe Routes to School initiative.
  • Completed Ithaca Commons renovations, which has many sustainability features:
    • Benches use Forest Stewardship Council certified wood
    • Planting design uses predominantly native species
    • Reinforcing in concrete contains recycled content
    • All site lighting uses LED lamps
    • Bike racks are distributed throughout the site
    • Sediment and erosion were controlled during construction to prevent impact to water quality.
  • Participated in Form Ithaca, an initiative to support the ongoing efforts of the City and the Town of Ithaca to update their land use regulations to meet the goals and objectives of their comprehensive plans.
  • Continued publishing Ithaca Sustainability newsletter (now over 500 subscribers) and Facebook page (now over 350 likes).
  • Supported local initiatives through participating on steering committees and providing staff support, meeting space, and promotion:
    • HeatSmart Tompkins, a program to transition home-heating away from fossil fuels
    • Tompkins County Energy Roadmap, a detailed assessment of the local potential for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
    • Energy Smart Community, a local testbed for Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) demonstration projects.
    • The Sustainability Center, a gallery and meeting place featuring Tompkins County’s nationally recognized sustainability initiatives.
  • Presented on various sustainability issues: Town of Lansing Comprehensive Plan Committee; Town of Caroline Planning Board; Urban Sustainability Directors Network; New York Institute of Technology; Cornell University.
  • Received Sustainable Tompkins Signs of Sustainability awards for sustainability leadership for an organization and for an individual.
  • Joined the Ban the Box initiative to further enable residents to have a fair opportunity for employment.
  • Joined the Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest cooperative effort among city leaders to reduce GHG emissions, track progress, and prepare for the impacts of climate change.


Climate Changers

  • Climate Changers is in start-up phase and most of our milestones revolve our creating the the underpinnings of the project and raising awareness. A few key milestones include:
  • Being selected as an A project of the Center for Transformative Action (CTA). The Center for Transformative Action is an Ithaca-based 501(c)(3) organization with a 40+-year track record of supporting innovative educational and community projects. It is an alliance of individuals and organizations inspired by principles of nonviolence and committed to bold action for justice sustainability, and peace. CTA is a catalyst for innovative social change agents who are learning and using strategies that avoid the adversarial approach so common in social activism and in our society as a whole. CTA provides administration and fiscal oversight for Climate Changers.
  • Four graduate students at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs took on our project as their Capstone project and developed the Focus on the Future Climate Changers Strategic Plan. The Capstone team of Shamir Shehab, Marcus Franklin, Allison Springer and Vincy Zhu and brought international and diverse perspectives to the project.
  • We established an Advisory Board with members from England to New Zealand and right here in Ithaca with expertise in behavior change, science communications, climate equity, marketing and grant writing.
  • We developed a ‘pre-site’ to explain the project to potential supporters/funders: http://www.iclimatechange.org/#green-1.
  • We are participating in the B Corp B Hive, an online platform where other B Corp’s can explore ways to partner with Climate Changers. There are 1,640 B Corporations in 47 countries representing 130 Industries with one unifying goal – using business as a force for good.
  • Climate Changers was featured in an article the Ithaca Voice. http://ithacavoice.com/2016/02/38706/
  • Climate Changers was featured in an interview on the Human Rights and Social Justice radio program. https://soundcloud.com/…/jim-armstrong-and-neil-hertz-feb-1…
  • We were interviewed and will be featured on Yale Climate Connections.
  • We are partnering with the Hillary Institute to feature Institute Laureates Michael Brune, Jeremy Leggett, Peggy Liu, Atossa Sotani and Aimee Christensen as Climate Change
  • We are partnering with ClimateSign and Care for Climate to develop an Earth Day event coinciding with the signing of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.


Climate Justice and Youth


Participation in Community Events and Organizations

  • Planning Group and Facilitator for Ithaca People’s State of the Union with Civic Ensemble
  • Planning Committee, 2015 International Youth Arts and Cultural Festival
  • Planning Group, Arts and Economic Development Symposium with the Multicultural Resource Center and Imagining America (at Cornell)
  • Workshop Facilitator, IHS Social Justice Week, with Creative Community Designs
  • Planning Committee, 2015 Juneteenth/Southside Festival
  • Steering Committee, Building Bridges Initiative
  • Joined Steering Committee, Showing up for Racial Justice


Trainings Attended

  • 2015 Greenpeace Gulf Coast Action Camp, Arts in Action Track


Key Projects

  • Development of the TCCPI/MRC Youth Organizing Fellowship (launched in January 2016)


Overview of Work


2015 was full of opportunities to deepen relationships initiated in 2014. While branching out from traditional environmental and youth environmental work by volunteering with community organizations is a good start, historically environmentalists (especially those who are white) have difficulty earning trust with community members of color and community organizations that serve community members of color. In light of this, the Assistant Coordinator’s second year participation with projects such as the International Youth Arts and Culture festival, the Juneteenth festival at the Southside Community Center, and Civic Ensemble’s projects, as well as work with individuals unaffiliated with a specific organization, has helped demonstrated that TCCPI’s alignment with these organizations is a real and lasting priority.


It is clear that the two year process of a year of initiating new relationships followed by a year of working on the projects that came out of those new connections was unquestionably necessary for producing the outcomes that TCCPI’s youth and climate  justice organizing is seeing in 2016. The most prominent example is TCCPI’s collaboration with the Multicultural Resource Center on a youth organizing fellowship, which has brought together twelve 15-18 y/o Students of Color, LGBTQI students, and Lower Income Students, from IHS, LACS, and NRCS, for a one year intensive organizing program. While building relationships over time can appear slow in the face of the urgency of the climate crisis, it is a necessary step toward ensuring that those who will be most impacted by climate change -- those already at the margins of society -- are at the forefront of building a socially just, environmentally sustainable community strong enough to weather the disruptive consequences of climate change.


Going forward into 2016, the work and the challenges are twofold. First, we must continue to leverage resources and time to both the broad collaborations as well as the specific projects that emerged over 2014-2015. Second, we must begin to apply the lessons of the last two years inward to TCCPI, assessing aspects of the TCCPI network along the lines of equity, inclusion, and the development of socially just projects.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCETC)

Renewable Energy


Solar Energy


  • Contracts in place with NYSERDA funding to promote solar energy in the four western Southern Tier counties (Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung and Tompkins) as part of a multi-region, three-year project called Renewable NY. Other partners will support solar expansion in the eastern Southern Tier, and parts of the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions. Solar energy workshops have begun in each of the regions
  • Received NYSERDA funding for promoting solar energy in the four western southern tier counties (Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung and Tompkins) as part of a multi-region, three-year project called Renewable NY. Other partners will support solar expansion in the eastern southern tier, and parts of the Hudson Valley and Catskills.

Biomass Energy Efforts

  • Continued support of a public/private consortium for the development of a regional bulk wood pellet distribution system across the Southern Tier. When in place the infrastructure will facilitate the transition of tens of thousands of homes and thousands of commercial buildings from fossil fuels to wood pellets for space heating. Projections of annual GHG emissions reductions are in the thousands of tons.
  • Using NYSERDA funding developed plans for a woodstove change-out program to incentivize homeowners to switch from outdoor woodburners or old indoor woodstoves to high efficiency wood pellet burners.  Program began in late 2015 and will continue through much of 2016..
  • Established a program for homeowners heating with wood that helps them burn wood more efficiently and with fewer emissions and less pollution. It’s called Heating with Wood: Promoting environmentally safe use of cord wood; and summarized in the booklet “Learn to Burn: Your Guide to Heating with Wood”
  • Providing energy workshops: outreach in the Southern Tier as part of a NYS Wood Energy Team project to Organizations that work to improve economic and environmental sustainability and quality of life of residents by promoting and stimulating the market for high efficiency/low emissions biomass heating technologies
  • NYSWET (NYS Wood EnergyTeam) has been formed with support of the U.S. Forest Service to accelerate the growth of a NY bioenergy industry through development of commercial/ institutional/ industrial biomass heating projects

Energy Efficiency

  • Expanded the Energy Warriors pilot program for the development of curriculum for training youth in residential detention facilities on energy efficiency and renewable energy.  The curriculum is intended to introduce youth to potential careers and give them opportunities to develop associated skills and is now being tested in three facilities, with plans for expansion to one more in 2016.  Plans are underway for the second phase of the training which will include on-the-job training in select home communities to which the youth return when they leave the residential facilities.
  • Provided strong support to the Get Your GreenBack campaign described elsewhere in this document. That program has reached tens of thousands of county residents and helped thousands of them take new steps to save energy and money while creating jobs and reducing GHG emissions.
  • Our own outreach and education programs, related to energy efficiency and renewable energy branded under various CCE brands in Tompkins County reached over 20,000 individuals in 2013, including over 50,000 unique visitors to our energy efficiency and renewable energy web pages. 
  • The Energy Corps, a group of approximately 8  university students in Tompkins County continued their outreach and education efforts and greatly contributed to the successful residential retrofit  outreach and education campaigns that resulted in the highest rates in the state.
  • The Residential Energy Score Project, RESP, in collaboration with the Towns of Danby, Ulysses, Caroline, the Town of Ithaca, the City of Ithaca, and the Tompkins County Planning Department, CCE is designing an energy rating system for homes. The “Energy Score” of a home will inform buyers of the level of energy efficiency of a home that is on the market. The goal of this project is to make energy efficiency a significant part of the market for home sales.
  • The Smart Energy Policy Initiative is guided by an ad hoc group including representatives from local municipalities, Tompkins County Planning, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative. The initiative is designed to identify actions local governments in Tompkins County can take in the near term to help accelerate the transition to a more efficient, renewable energy future. The group has identified three main areas of work, including policies that support the adoption of renewable energy, improving the understanding of Energy Codes and review processes, and providing energy ratings of buildings that will allow renters or purchasers of property to make more informed choices. These actions will benefit municipalities and their residents by clarifying and streamlining steps to greater energy efficiency and CO2 reductions.
  • Button UP! is a project of Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Park Foundation. The Initiative started its pilot effort in Enfield endorsed by the Enfield Town Council, and Enfield Neighbors for Clean Air and Water. This initiative was created to help residents of Enfield tighten up their homes in order to use less energy, save money, and be more comfortable. We are holding short informational sessions for local groups, businesses, or clubs to give people information, and organizing in-home do-it-yourself sessions where people can invite friends or neighbors into their home for a hands-on session to learn simple ways to tighten up their house. Materials developed for this study included a DIY manual, a presentation and 8 short videos of a DIY Home Efficiency Workshop, two hands-on pipe insulation demonstration units, and a window caulk demonstration, which are also used in the Button UP! in-home workshops.
  • South Hill Outreach Rental Initiative – SHORE: In collaboration with Ithaca College, NYSEG, and PPM Homes, CCETC is designing, planning and implementing a four-year comprehensive energy efficiency curriculum for IC students. The program goal is to create “Certified Tenants,” students who have the information and skills they will need for energy-efficient off-campus living. Workshops will be implemented both on and off campus by a number of collaborators, including IC Residential Life, Peer Educators, Landlords, and the South Hill Neighborhood Association. The program goal is to create “Certified Tenants,” students who have the information and skills they will need for energy-efficient off-campus living.  The content has evolved from exclusively energy efficiency information to include several other issues that focus groups identified as critical to behavior change and reducing energy use: how to communicate with roommates, landlords and neighbors. Work has also begun with the Athletic Department, starting with specific sympathetic coaches, to make Certified Tenant content part of the “good athlete” messages from coaches.  Landlords report that the apartments they have the most trouble with are frequently team houses. 
  • East Hill Rental Initiative – Preparing a report summarizing insights from a survey of Cornell student renters, 4 Cornell Focus Groups, and including results from Ithaca College Focus groups and South Hill survey. The report will be presented to City, County, Landlords, and Higher Ed, to show the current situation, challenges, and possible actions
  • City Rental – Gathering data about the downtown rental situation, as well as how it is different from student rental – different realities, challenges, and potential remedies.
  • Datalogger Study: Partnering with Howard Chong in a study involving the use of dataloggers by hundreds of residents. Study intended to test the use of dataloggers as a relatively low-cost means of measuring energy performance in homes.
  • New Energy CodeShaping a proposal for training for new energy code enforcement. Basing the proposal on one to one conversations with key people: Kevin Esell and Dave Sprout (Dryden Code Officers), Tedd Hurd (TCAction), Mark Pierce (CCE), Ian Shapiro (Taitem Engineering), Mike Carpenter (builder). A consensus is emerging about how best to get Code Officers sufficiently educated about the new energy code for them to encourage “code plus,” or “stretch code” in Tompkins County.
  • Working with TCCOG and Irene Weiser (head of TCCOG’s Sustainability Committee) through the Survey of municipalities to identify what kind of movement toward renewables and energy efficiency might be possible in each town.  Drawing up proposals for SEPI,  which could decide whether it would be best to work with key people in each town, or work through TCCOG, or both. Also, we need to identify priorities for action, and how to move forward with them.
  • Energy Smart Community: Worked closely with Cornell University, the county and the city to bring the Iberdrola/REV demonstration project to Tompkins County. Among other benefits will be the installation of a smart electric network including smart meters installed in 12,000 residences.
  • The Energy Corps, a group of approximately 8 university students in Tompkins County continued their outreach and education efforts and greatly contributed to the successful residential retrofit outreach and education campaigns that resulted in the highest rates in the state.
  • Our own outreach and education programs, related to energy efficiency and renewable energy branded under various CCE brands in Tompkins County reached over 10,000 individuals in 2015


Commercial Energy Efficiency

  • 2030 District. The NYSERDA Grant contract has been recently approved. Our role in that contract is outreach and education about the program, and working with members and potential members of the district to understand the modeling tools and resources the program makes available. Attended the Cleveland 2030 District Summit with other Ithaca 2030 team leaders. We met with leaders of other 2030 districts around the nation. We were exposed to useful tools, available resources, learned best practices, lessons learned and built a network of knowledgeable individuals who will be assets in building the Ithaca 2030 district.
  • Partnered with Taitem Engineering and McGuire Auto Dealerships to plan the first Commercial Building Green Buildings Tour, to be held in February of 2016.
  • Partnered with the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, to develop a Commercial Building Energy Efficiency quarterly newsletter, to share information about opportunities in commercial building energy efficiency. First issue was released in December, 2015.
  • Analyzed the data from building audits performed by Taitem Engineering on 99 small to mid-sized commercial buildings in Tompkins County and surrounding counties. Key findings included potential for 30% reductions in natural gas usage and 20% reductions in electricity usage.
  • Began working with EnergizeNY to expand PACE financing opportunities to other counties in NY, by partnering with Cooperative Extension Associations in counties throughout the state.


Alternative Modes of Transportation

  • The Way2Go Transportation Education program continues to provide thousands of people a year with information and opportunities to switch from the use of single occupancy vehicles to a wide range of alternatives. Efforts include support for Streets Alive described elsewhere in this report.


  • Collected data on road culvert capacity as part of assisting communities to prep for the increased number and intensity of storms predicted as the climate continues to change. Data were used to improve a model that tags culverts for their capacity to handle different size storms now and in the future. Communities can use the information to prioritize where to expend resources. The project will continue into 2015 and is part of a suite of activities around flood resiliency.


Cornell University


  • Annual CAP Progress Report submitted to Second Nature. Cornell has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30% since the carbon commitment was made in 2007
  • Commissioned the 2MW Cornell Sutton Road Solar Farm at Geneva, and 90kW of rooftop solar on Klarman Hall and the Human Ecology Building
  • Executed contracts to construct an additional 6MW solar PV on Cornell property
  • Campus-wide LED lamp replacement project underway (33% complete as of 3/1/2016). Currently approved work will save 2,900,000 kWh annually.  If the entire project is funded and completed, it could save up to  19,000,000 kWh and $290,000 in O&M costs annually
  • Think BIG Live Green sustainability engagement program continued in College of Human Ecology: “Towards a Sustainable Destination”. The campaign’s energy competition resulted in >100k pounds of GHG reduction.
    • An average of 17% of CHE respondents indicated to have participated in new sustainable behaviors because of the TBLG College Engagement Program
    • Composting in the College of Human Ecology increased by over 200lbs per week
    • Over 180 people participated in the Green Lab and Office Certification programs within CHE
  • Initiated partnership with Avangrid and community leaders for demonstration projects and research under the NYS Reforming the Energy Vision initiative.
  • Over $24,800 of calculated savings were avoided through the participation in the 2015 Energy Smackdown competition
  • Over $168,000 avoided during the 2015 Winter Break Setback program
  • New students 4-minute video on sustainability and sustainability literacy survey were updated. New Student Survey Highlights:
    • 82% of respondents understand the concept of sustainability and the triple bottom line
    • Respondents view food security as the highest priority environmental issue.
    • Respondents feel strongly that human activity plays a strong role on the climate and our natural environment, and that Cornell has a responsibility to lower its environmental footprint.
  • Gates Hall certified LEED Gold
  • Refurbished Warren Hall certified LEED Platinum
  • Weill Cornell's Belfer Research Building Certified LEED Gold
  • Numerous Energy Conservation Initiative projects have been completed and energy savings documented. Selected projects include:
  • At the end of 2015, the Energy Conservation Initiative 2010 to 2015 is complete. This $33 million initiative included 90 projects in 60 buildings resulting in a cost effective 20% reduction in heating, cooling and electricity use in those buildings.  Since 2001, central utility connected campus space has grown by over 20% and total campus metered energy use in forecast to be slightly less than FY2000 in FY2017.   
  • Campus Water: New Cooling Loops Save Millions of Gallons
  • Forest Home Garage Certified Green
  • Greening the Garage with Free EV Charging Stations
    • Cornell campus' Transportation Services offers free electric vehicle charging to Cornell commuters with two new stations in the Hoy Rd garage
  • Cornell Center for Hospitality Research Offers Sustainability Measurement Tool
  • Four Cornellians Travel to Paris for Global Climate Summit
  • STARS Gold for fourth year in row
  • Continue to be included in Guide to 352 Green Colleges in the Princeton Review
  • Continue to ranked in the top 30 for the Sierra Club reporting for 2015
  • Engaged over 500 people campus wide with a total of 50 Green Offices university-wide

Coalition for Sustainable Economic Development


  • Formation of a new community coalition that brings together Environment and Social Justice Advocates, Labor Unions and local businesses to push for local policies and practices that support the triple bottom line. 
  • Formulated policy recommendations for awarding tax abatements only to development that provided specific community benefits. 
  • These recommendations, while not yet adopted, have resulted in examination of need for policy changes both within the Industrial Development Agency and the City of Ithaca. Our concerns have struck a nerve with city residents, resulting in broad based community engagement that has stopped the development of 2 major projects that did not serve the public interest. 
  • CSED was awarded the Friends of Labor award at the Workers Center and Midstate Central Labor Council's Labor Day Picnic. 
  • CSED has joined a statewide coalition called NY RENEWS that will be forwarding legislation that will commit the State to specific greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy goals, while also creating green jobs and supporting restoration of environmental justice communities. Watch for a large rally in Albany this summer!


Downtown Ithaca Alliance

  • The newly rebuilt Commons boasts many sustainable features. This once-in-a-generation public works project has greatly increased energy efficiency by upgrading antiquated water, gas, sanitary sewer, and storm utilities. The surface also includes such green-friendly amenities as native-species trees and planters, bike racks, and solar-powered trash and recycling compactors. The DIA also received and implemented a Park Foundation grant to showcase local sustainability-related initiatives on several new Commons elements: the new touchscreen kiosks, colorful posters on the recycling compactors, and a striking sculptural display made from reclaimed iron by Rochester artist Sam Castner soon to be sited in the Downtown Visitor Center.
  • There are over $212 million of private smart growth projects recently completed and underway in downtown Ithaca (2013-2018). This includes 212 new housing units, 313 new hotel rooms, 18 new retail units, and 200,000 square feet of new office space. With so many multi-story buildings close together and sharing walls, there are tremendous savings in heating, power, and the delivery of essential municipal services. When new construction occurs downtown, it takes advantage of this sustainable platform and conserves land by building upwards rather than outwards. Moreover, downtown projects decrease dependence on automobiles and increase walkability and access to public transit. The DIA continues to advocate for zoning changes that incentivize downtown density.
  • The DIA, in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension and Ithaca Carshare, has begun to implement its Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan with the immediate goal of removing 300 private vehicles from the city garage system. This will optimize downtown land use and taxpayer revenue by forestalling the construction of a new garage. It will also reduce carbon emissions by millions of pounds and promote health, social engagement, and employee goodwill. NYSERDA grant funds secured last year are now being used to carry out an individualized marketing pilot program that will offer one-on-one planning assistance and a suite of new transit services (including remote parking and an emergency ride home program) to newcomers in downtown Ithaca.
  • Downtown Ithaca is a “Walker’s Paradise.” That’s according to Walk Score, a tool that rates the walkability of over 10,000 neighborhoods throughout the continent. The numerical Walk Score for the Ithaca Commons is 97 out of a possible 100, up from 94 in 2015. Our Walk Score is just three percentage points shy of Greenwich Village; by contrast, Cayuga Heights ranks in at 32 and Enfield ranks in at zero. We were also listed as number one on MSN Real Estate’s “Ten Cities Where You Want to Walk to Work.”
  • The DIA continues to work on a transit corridor plan to improve bus service between downtown Ithaca and the campus communities. Downtown Ithaca is the regional transit hub for Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT), which was recently recognized by its industry peers as being the best transit system of its size in North America. TCAT contributes greatly to the community by reducing traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and the cost of building parking facilities. Its fleet currently includes eight electric-diesel hybrid buses.
  • Downtown Ithaca is home to the headquarters of Ithaca Carshare, a non-profit carsharing service with a growing fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles shared by over 1,500 members. Users can save hundreds of dollars per month in avoided gas, maintenance, and insurance costs while reducing traffic congestion, pollution, and space and money devoted to parking. Independent studies show that for each Carshare vehicle, over 15 privately-owned vehicles come off the road.
  • Press Bay Alley, two blocks southwest of the Ithaca Commons, serves as a pickup spot for the Full Plate Farm Collective CSA each Thursday. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a cooperative relationship between a farmer and consumers; consumers commit to buying a crop “share” and growers commit to growing that amount of produce. Full Plate Farm Collective farms grow over 50 acres of organic vegetables and share the vision of building community, farming with integrity, and growing high-quality food with fair prices for all involved.
  • Downtown Ithaca is an important green retailing showcase, with at least 14 independent, locally-owned stores that specialize in reused and recycled products. Explains Karim Beers, coordinator of the Get Your GreenBack Tompkins campaign, “Making stuff is very energy intensive; it constitutes ten percent of our carbon footprint. Shopping at reuse stores means no additional energy was used.” Such stores include Sheldon Hill Vintage & Estate Jewelry, SewGreen, and Home Green Home.
  • Downtown living is sustainable living. According to the Center for Sustainable Economy, a couple living in an apartment in downtown Ithaca, using TCAT, and adopting excellent green habits (e.g. unplugging appliances, composting, buying organic food) would have a carbon footprint approximately 34 percent of the national average. A couple with the same commendable habits but residing in a single-family home outside of town and commuting in a mid-size car would be at 76 percent.
  • The DIA has implemented composting and recycling systems for its major downtown events, including Apple Harvest Festival, the Summer Concert Series, and Chili Cook-Off, which are attended by over 100,000 locals and tourists. Local service organizations like the Cornell Rotaract Club have helped to oversee these composting stations. Additionally, the DIA has coordinated a shared recycling and trash compactor program to encourage proper disposal of recyclable materials generated by over 300 businesses and residents on and around the Commons.
  • Downtown Ithaca is home to Coltivare, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar as well as a major culinary education facility. Coltivare, an initiative of Tompkins Cortland Community College, offers a unique hands-on experience alongside working professionals for students studying sustainable food systems and entrepreneurship. The team aims to find all their menu items within a 300-mile radius, with some food sourced from the college’s own farm. Their new waste management system, which reduces food scraps to a grain-like compostable material to be used by the farm, is the first of its kind in the United States.
  • Energize Ithaca continues to move forward with its strategy to create a mini-nodal, combined heat and power program that proposes to reduce downtown’s carbon footprint by 40 percent. The first node will be in the Center Ithaca building.


Finger Lakes Land Trust


  • For 2015, we added a 31-acre parcel to our Lindsay Parsons Biodiversity Preserve in West Danby – this site now spans nearly 550 acres and borders Danby State Forest. 
  • We also completed a 120-acre conservation easement bordering the National Forest in Schuyler County, 200-acres bordering Mark Twain’s Quarry Farm in Elmira, and several easements spanning nearly 300 acres of farm and forestland in Cayuga County. 
  • Lots of additional work in progress within Tompkins County, including partnership projects with Towns of Dryden and Ithaca but only one closing to report last year.  Anticipating more in the county during the coming year.


Finger Lakes ReUse


Community ReUse Centers
The intent of the Community ReUse Center model is to maximize convenience and offer a robust portal to exchange used goods in high volumes effectively, exemplify best practices in the reuse industry, use the storefronts as powerful outreach points for messaging to the general public, and share strategies to enable other communities to maximize the diversion of materials currently being overlooked and transform used materials into valuable local resources.


  • Completed renovations and opened doors at the Ithaca ReUse Center, located at 214 Elmira Road, more than doubling the organization’s operating space. This facility houses the organization’s second retail location, the administrative offices, and eCenter lab. The Triphammer ReUse Center now has more space dedicated to retail operations, including an expanded office furniture section, and the community now has two convenient locations to donate and shop for reusable items.
  • Provided consultations and gave presentations to NYS communities, including St. Lawrence County, Buffalo, Cobleskill, and the Hudson Valley Regional Council, through the second year of the Community ReUse Center Template, an initiative funded by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I). Through this project, we assist NYS communities and beyond in efficiently developing their own, independently operated Community ReUse Centers.
  • We received notification that we will be granted $500,000 from the New York State Upstate Revitalization Initiative to assist us in the future development of a new, LEED-certified project involving additional buildings on the 2.4 acre parcel purchased in 2014 – these funds supplement the $1.89 million awarded through NYSERDA’s Cleaner, Greener Communities Program in 2014.
  • Joined the Cascade Alliance, a national effort to provide in-depth technical assistance to organizations who want to expand capacity to “provide jobs for vulnerable populations through waste-based industries”. This initiative is supported by a major grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is managed by St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County.
  • Sold more than 87,500 items through our retail operations in 2015, generating revenues exceeding $487,000, and diverting more than 356,000 pounds from landfills.
  • Total labor for the organization includes 25 living wage employees, 3,400 trainee hours, and more than 13,600 volunteer hours (averaging 39 individuals each month).

eCenter Computer Refurbishing Program
Technology is a priority for ReUse, due to the particularly energy-intensive processes of mining and extracting raw materials, to the also energy-intensive processes of recycling materials at end of life.

  • 222 refurbished computers were sold in 2015
  • 70 refurbished printers sold in 2015 (with 100% volunteer effort)
  • Logged more than 2,500 volunteer hours in the eCenter program alone


ReSET Job Skills Training Program
ReUse Skills & Employment Training (ReSET) is designed to offer mutual benefit to both the trainees and the efforts to maximize waste diversion from landfills. Two curricular tracks were offered in 2015. In ReSET Technology, trainees are embedded in the eCenter computer refurbishing program and receive training in computer anatomy, equipment testing, troubleshooting, operating systems, and local employers volunteer to train on varying field-relevant topics including networking and open source software. New in 2015, ReSET Retail & Customer Service embeds trainees in our retail operations, and trainees learn cash register operation, merchandising, donations processing, and customer service.

  • Participating partner employers providing guest instruction and/or guaranteed informational interviews to ReSET trainees in 2015 included Brightworks Computer Consulting, Dairy One, Databound Solutions, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, and Southside Community Center.


Fossil Free Tompkins


  • Our campaigns focused on 2 major issues in 2015: the proposed "repowering" of the Cayuga Power Plant and the proposed West Dryden Road gas pipeline.
  • In Spring of 2015 the all volunteer "power plant and pipeline group" gave itself a name - Fossil Free Tompkins - and committed ourselves to seeing Tompkins County become the first fossil free county in NYS.  We had a terrific "coming out party" at the Ithaca Festival Parade - complete with beautiful giant puppets of mother earth and the Oil and Gas industry mogul that landed us a front page photo in the Ithaca Journal.  
  • Worked with Sierra Club and Barbara Lifton's office to secure transition funding in the State budget for communities impacted by closure of fossil fuel plants that make up a large portion of the local tax base.
  • Held a really fun rally attended by over 100 people where Barbara Lifton announced that $19 million in transition funding had been secured in the 2015 budget.
  • Commissioned an economic analysis of the Cayuga Power Plant to determine its profitability if it converted to all gas or coal plus gas.  We learned that under market conditions at the time of the study Cayuga would not be profitable without the $9.6m annual ratepayer subsidy that they requested in their repowering proposal.  
  • Commissioned an engineering study to determine what, if any, power quality issues might arise if/when the Cayuga plant retires.  We learned that power quality issues were unlikely, and further that most power quality issues effecting high tech manufacturing are best managed at the manufacturing site.  
  • Participated in proceedings regarding the Auburn Transmission Upgrades that were the alternative to converting the power plant to burn gas.  Our members attended and held signs at several Public Service Commission meetings over the course of the year, and in August, at the end of the public comment period on the proposed repowering held a rally in Albany and delivered over 25,000 letters to the Governor, PSC and Energy Czar Richard Kauffman sending a clear message that New Yorkers from Tompkins County to NYC did not support coal plant bailouts or conversion to gas.
  • In February 2016 celebrated the decision by the Public Service Commission that NYSEG customers would not have to pay to convert Cayuga to burn gas and coal - that instead ratepayers would pay for the substantially cheaper ($25m vs. $145m) and energy efficient Auburn Transmission upgrades.
  • West Dryden Road pipeline: Organized resistance to the West Dryden Road gas pipeline. Raised awareness about the flawed easement that did not protect property owners, educated them about alternatives to heating with gas, organized and supported a core group who attended County and Town board meetings to speak out in opposition, wrote letters to the editor.  Their activism amplified the concerns raised by County Planner Ed Marx that this pipeline would result in the County not being able to meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals.  Resistance resulted in the formation of the County/TCAD Energy and Economic Development Task Force which will soon publish a report. 


Get Your GreenBack


  • Over 600 low-income households received plant seedlings to grow some of their own food during the summer.
  • Established two CSA drop-off points, serving over 70 employees.
  • Printed and distributed 10,000 Reuse rack cards, promoting over 40 local stores that specialize in used goods
  • Developed network of hunters interested in promoted hunting in Tompkins County.
  • Facilitated “Energy-Equity” working group -- developed working paper and shared it broadly.
  • GYGB continued to lead discussions around transportation as shared goal.
  • Responding to a suggestion from Cornell HR, incorporated GYGB poster and local business map into Local First Ithaca’s Guide to Being Local, with the intention of being distributed to the 1,000 new staff they expect this year.
  • Produced pamphlet on “Big Steps for Business” – distributed at Employer Resource Fair.
  • Helped develop and pilot Commercial Energy Workshop series -- more than 15 participants expect to see on average 20% or more energy use reduction as a result of implementation of cost-effective measures.
  • Supported development and growth of Interfaith Climate Action Network (ICAN), formation of local Food Policy Council, and development of new advisory group for Recycle Ithaca’s Bicycles (RIBs).
  • GYGB developed a new website focused on the key steps for people and organizations, along with a sign-up form for a home visit—the focus on the campaign’s work in 2016.
  • GYGB set up a series of online forums for people to ask and answer questions around key steps: growing food, fuel-efficient vehicles, energy-efficient homes and renewables, and hunting and fishing.
  • Coordinated recruitment and management of 100 volunteers for Streets Alive! in September 2015
  • Helped organize and promote Bike to Work Day in May
  • Helped promote Heat Smart Tompkins through campaign channels
  • Wood pellet and energy upgrade campaign planned for Spring 2016.


HeatSmart Tompkins


  • Solar Tompkins, the nonprofit organization focused on facilitating a large, sustained increase in the rate of renewable energy adoption in Tompkins County, and responsible for the administration the HeatSmart Tompkins program, has stimulated the building energy efficiency and electric heat pump markets by improving the market share of three partnering companies, collectively generating over $1.2M in sales as a result of HeatSmart.
  • Public outreach served every town in the county, holding over 30 community meetings and tours between September and December 2015. In the spring of 2016, HeatSmart will host three resident discussion sessions to highlight select projects completed as part of the program, furthering much needed education and providing county residents still interested home heating and cooling via heat pump a chance to dialog with program participants about their HeatSmart experience.
  • The HeatSmart program, which is still in progress with regard to contract finalization between county residents and their chosen Installer Partners, enrolled nearly 300 households in the fall of 2015, and is projected to meet its conversion goal of 100 installed projects for residential energy improvements via any stand-alone or combined adoption of insulation and air sealing, air-source hot water unit, air-source heat pump system, and ground-source geothermal system.
  • In addition to helping residents access available state incentives and federal tax credits for home insulation and heat pump installations, HeatSmart negotiated an average 20 percent below market rate pricing structure with Installer Partners to make system choice and adoption more affordable for county residents.
  • The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Office of Renewable Heating and Cooling as well as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) Climate Smart Communities program have engaged HeatSmart in events aimed at highlighting model programs working toward diversifying home heating options, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving climate resilience in the State of New York.
  • Project installations are scheduled through June of 2016, and a final report of HeatSmart Tompkins program results and technical findings published by Solar Tompkins is anticipated soon thereafter. 

HOLT Architects


  • In 2015 HOLT completed the design work, documentation and submittal processes for pursuing LEED Certification for a 18,540 sf renovation to house a new Obstetrics and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Cayuga Medical Center.
  • In 2015 HOLT completed the design work, documentation and submittal processes for pursuing LEED Certification under the LEED-Healthcare Rating System®. The project, initiated in 2010, culminated with the 2012-2013 construction of a 29,400 gsf addition/renovation at the Cayuga Medical Center main campus for 4 renovated, and 4 newly-constructed surgical suites. The new 14,399 gsf addition was registered for LEED-HC certification: we are presently waiting for the results of the Green Building Certification Institute’s final review. There are presently 8 projects in NYS registered for certification under LEED-Healthcare, but no LEED-HC certified projects have been certified yet in NYS; Ithaca’s could be the first.
  • With HOLT’s interest in achieving carbon-neutral design, initiated by Ed Mazria’s “Architecture 2030 Challenge,” HOLT targeted a “net-zero” energy performance in the design of its new offices, which occurred throughout the first half of 2015, and with construction starting mid-year 2015. The design included:
    • A reconstruction of the building exterior to create a high-performance envelope.
    • Occupancy sensors for all mechanical and electrical equipment.
    • Use of high-efficiency, electrically-powered HVAC equipment, engineered with Taitem Engineering.
    • Incorporation of multiple skylights to afford maximum daylighting.
    • A new technology that affords energy-efficient plug load control; getting out ahead of the new Energy Code.
    • Installation of a 60KW solar photovoltaic system, provided by Renovus Solar, on the building roof to supply the office’s power needs.
  • HOLT continues to work with Travis Hyde Properties on the development of the County’s Old Library site for a mixed-use, downtown development for urban living/working/playing. The project is striving to achieve sustainable goals of the 2030 District for energy and water use reductions, and alternative transportation to reduce VMT. Up to 60 apartments are proposed to increase density in the downtown for the middle income market.
  • HOLT has maintained its commitment to the goals of the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative, with HOLT Associate Andrew Gil continuing to serve on the Steering Committee.
  • HOLT has maintained its commitment to the establishment of an “Ithaca 2030 District,” pledging an in-kind contribution of $24,000 in staff time in support of the tasks needed to implement and sustain the District. HOLT has also certified its participation as a property owner in the establishment of the Ithaca 2030 District.
  • HOLT supports the Tompkins County/TCAD Energy and Economic Development Task Force effort for exploring the future needs of the County’s energy requirements and economic development growth with the participation of HOLT President Graham Gillespie.


Ithaca Carshare


  • In 2015, 544 new Ithaca Carshare members reported that they would sell or avoid the purchase of 157 vehicles.
  • 1,324 members took a combined 18,386 trips totaling 235,503 miles. That comes out to only 14 trips and 180 miles per member per year.
  • Met the milestone of the 5,000th approved Ithaca Carshare member. 
  • At 31 mpg, fleetwide fuel economy was 19% above the national average, thanks in part to the inclusion of eleven Toyota Prius C hybrids in the fleet.
  • As a result of the shifted driving habits of these members and higher than average fuel economy, an estimated 17,075 gallons of gasoline and 152 metric tons of carbon dioxide were avoided.
  • Ithaca Carshare participated in the Finger Lakes Climate Fund "Seal the Cracks" campaign by offsetting all member miles in November and December (34,579 miles), including $5 in carbon offsets as an Alternative Gift Fair gift option, and encouraging members to offset some of their own miles in direct member communications. 
  • The low-income Easy Access membership plan, which subsidizes regular membership costs by more than half and reduces financial barriers to getting started with carsharing, supported 53 individuals over the course of the year.

Ithaca College

In November 2015, Jerone Gagliano was hired as the new Director of Energy Management and Sustainability reporting to Assistant Vice President of Facilities, Tim Carey.  Bring this position into Facilities has and will continue to provide great synergies and efficiencies to making long-lasting, positive changes towards our Climate Action Plan and Sustainability Strategic Plan.

  • Started construction of a 2.9MW solar farm that is located in the Town of Seneca and will be remote net metered to Ithaca College.  It will provide enough electricity to meet approximately 10 percent of the college’s electricity needs and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 888 metric tons of carbon equivalent per year. For more information http://www.ithaca.edu/sustainability/whatwedo/solar/
  • Ongoing lighting replacement: LED’s installed to replace fluorescent and HID completed at Dillingham Performing Arts Center: James J. Whalen Center for Music; and Gannett Library will be completed summer 2016
  • Continuation of our green cleaning program
  • Ithaca College continues to support alternative transportation modes, including offering 100% support for faculty/staff willing to use local transit services, and underwriting about 30% of purchased TCAT student bus passes. TCAT ridership continues to expand due to changes in the
  • In addition, Ithaca College underwrites support for members of our campus community to become Ithaca Carshare members. Ithaca College continues to support Zimride Tompkins, a local four-portal community rideshare system that has great potential to reduce single occupant vehicles.
  • The College also continues to meet with local transportation planners to strategize how to improve pedestrian and bicycling connectivity and safety between the College and downtown as well as increase transit support to the campus.
  • The Office of Facilities continues to work with departments to retrofit traditional water fountains to water bottle fill stations, which assists our efforts to minimize the use of disposable water bottles.
Resource and Environmental Management Program
  • The REMP program continues to work with EcoReps encourage the campus community to encourage participate in energy and water conservation, and waste reduction efforts, especially in the areas of recycling and composting. EcoReps create “Installments”, one-page newsletters that advocate for more sustainable, less resource consumptive practices.
  • Recyclemania - Advertise the campaign and help teach students how to recycle correctly. Collect data and enter it into the online recycle mania portal. In 2015, Ithaca College placed 26th out of 168 competing schools in the composting division.
  • Oscar - Maintain the room, have open hours, and collect new supplies when an office submits a work order.
  • End of the year TIOLI collection and donation - Advertise TIOLI and go to each dorm during finals week collecting donations. Sort and donate materials to Finger Lakes reuse or a local clothing drive.
  • Regular bathroom installments - Write and hang up installments in most bathrooms on the academic quad.
  • Residence hall room recycling education – educated first year students about the recycling process within their residence hall
  • Circle apartments energy bills - Use metering data to make a representative utility bill for each apartment to give them feedback on their usage and their peer percentile ranking.
  • Delivered four sustainable living presentations through OSEMA - Workshops on composting, and living sustainably on and off campus
  • Spotted Cards - Gave out coupons for a free cup of coffee or tea when a student was spotted using a reusable mug.
  • CRT in the pub - Help divert waste and educate students during the lunch hour
  • CRT at special events such as admissions - Same as in the pub except at special events
  • Power Down Fridays - Every Friday go around turning off electronics and keeping track of everything left on.
  • The First Year Residential Experience continues to work with faculty and staff associates to link the ICC themes to extracurricular student learning experiences for students living in campus residence halls. The Residence Hall Association held their first Residence Hall Energy Competition in the spring of 2014. The second annual event is March and April 2015.


Ithaca Tompkins County Transportation Council

  • The ITCTC is in the midst of updating its five year program of projects – 2017/2021 Transportation Improvement Program. Included in the programs are a number of repaving and bridge maintenance projects, as well as safety projects. Tompkins County, TCAT and the Town of Ithaca will sponsor mobility, transit and pedestrian projects. For more information visit www.tompkinscountyny.gov/itctc.
  • On December 2014 Tompkins County was awarded a NYSERDA grant to develop an Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Plan for Tompkins County. This project will study strategies and technologies for EV recharging stations, with particular attention to local (Ithaca-Tompkins County) conditions. The project was delayed one year due to NYSERDA processing. The ITCTC will manage the project, which will be implemented starting in March 2016.
  • A lot of planning and negotiations took place in 2015 leading to implementation of a regional rideshare program powered online by Zimride. Implementation of the regional rideshare program is expected in 2016.
  • The ITCTC, working with partners from the City of Ithaca, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell University, Ithaca Carshare, Way2Go and other community partners helped form Bike Walk Tompkins as a project of the Center for Transformative Action. Bike Walk Tompkins is an active transportation advocacy group, promoting bicycling and walking as primary modes of transportation - http://www.bikewalktompkins.org/.
  • Bike Walk Tompkins will play a lead role in the popular Streets Alive event and an number of other initiatives educating and advocating for active transportation.

Learn@EcoVillage Ithaca 

  • In December, 2015, new residents of the "TREE House" of EcoVillage's third neighborhood, TREE, were able to move into the 15 apartments in the four story LEED Platinum building. The units range from studios to spacious 3 bedroom apartments. The building is extremely well-insulated, and may qualify for Net-Zero energy use (we'll need to generate a year's worth of data before this can be established.)
  • Solar Liberty installed a 50Kw ground-mounted solar array intended to provide at least 60% of the entire electrical usage for the TREE House building (including heat, electricity, appliances, community kitchen and laundry, etc.)
  • A 12 panel Solar Thermal array on the roof of the TREE House is expected to off-set at least 25,000 Kwh of electricity a year. 
  • In conjunction with Taitem Engineering, and the U.S. Green Building Council NY Upstate chapter, Learn@EcoVillage offered two workshops, "What it Takes: How To Achieve Net-Zero Energy in New Buildings." We trained a total of 47 professionals. Architects were able to earn 14 Learning Units for each of the two-day workshops, and LEED professionals earned 14 GBCI CE Hours.
  • In January, our former EPA grant team offered a 90 minute webinar for Climate Smart Communities at the invitation of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. 
  • Working with the American Planning Association, Southern Tier chapter, we offered a half day program at EcoVillage for planners that emphasized densely clustered, energy-efficient housing.
  • The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) selected EcoVillage Ithaca as part of its national award-winning case studies. The two year study, conducted by Michele Palmer, was published by LAF in 2015, and concluded the ways in which development at EVI has significant environmental, financial and social benefits as compared to the original subdivision planned by a developer for the same site. 
  • Received ongoing national and some international media coverage, including: National Geographic, NPR, Global EcoVillage Network, and inclusion in several books and documentaries.
  • Learn@EcoVillage executive director Liz Walker gave a keynote speech to 200 people in Rochester who want to explore energy efficient cohousing.
  • Liz Walker and Jared Jones gave a workshop, "Net Zero Success Story: EcoVillage Ithaca Fundamentals and Strategies of Net Zero Energy Design" at NYSERDA conference.


Local First Ithaca

  • Membership numbers more than 210 local businesses, organizations, and non-profits and is still growing
  • Published our 5th issue of the annual "Guide to Being Local"
  • Continued our collaboration with GreenStar Community Projects/Feeding Our Future, Get Your Green Back, and Building Bridges
  • Continued to work with the New York State Sustainable Business Council (NYSSBC) and American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), focusing on the fight for a $15 minimum wage, an equitable clean energy system, and regulation of toxic chemicals
  • Continued work with NY4 Democracy/Public Citizen to make NYS the 18th state to call on Congress to overturn Citizens United
  • Jan Rhodes Norman, co-founder of Local First Ithaca, serves on the boards of NYSSBC, Finger Lakes Reuse, and GreenStar Co-op
  • She also served on Mayor Myrick’s committee to make recommendations regarding changes to the city’s tax abatement program (CIITAP) and was an active participant in the Coalition for Sustainable Economic Development.


New Roots Charter High School

  • Cayuga Nature Center scientists, in collaboration with New Roots science teachers, brought the impact of climate change on our local ecosystem into focus for our students through a series of field trips during the 2014-2015 school year.
  • Three outstanding New Roots students who demonstrated leadership in their school community were selected to represent New Roots at the Student & Climate Conservation Congress, a program of the Green Schools Alliance (GSA) in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC).
  • During Intensives Week in Spring 2015, 14 students and two teachers went backpacking on the Finger Lakes Trail, exploring the role of soil and plant microbiomes.
  • The focus of the Fall 2015 Intensives Week was a course called A Sense of Place, which investigated the relationship between people and the natural environment and met Education for Sustainability (EfS) standards.
  • New Roots students interned with a local business, Boxy Bikes, where they were provided mentoring and hands-on learning about alternative forms of transportation and sustainable business practices.
  • For the Farm to School Gardening Project this year, New Roots students planted cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley, lettuce, arugula, and radishes.
  • Students learned about migrant worker conditions at Cayuta Sun Farm during a 4-day intensive class in the spring.
  • In their economics class, students explored regenerative capitalism, an economic system that goes beyond sustainability to use human systems to support environmental systems, inspiring one student to propose a seven layer system, a concept covered in a recent permaculture course.
  • New Roots was chosen to be among national leaders in the sustainability education movement contributing to the Center for Green Schools' “Measuring Our Impact” initiative. 
  • New Roots Principal Tina Nilsen-Hodges attended a Green Schools summit in Washington D.C. in February to generate consistent standards and methods for measuring environmental and sustainability literacy.


Paleontological Research Institution, Museum of the Earth, and Cayuga Nature Center


  • Our Weird Weather exhibits — two kiosks focusing on local impacts of climate change on weather, agriculture, public health, and the economy — continued to travel to locations around upstate New York. Installations in 2015 included Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls, the New York State Fair, and C.W. Baker High School in Baldwinsville, NY. The installation at C.W. Baker High School was part of a series of activities led by science teacher Mark Penhollow, in connection with the COP21 climate talks.  We have begun to analyze data on perceptions of climate change and actions to reduce energy use that we have collected from a survey attached to the kiosks. The kiosks were funded by the Park Foundation and NSF. 
  • PRI’s book The Science Beneath the Surface: a Very Short Guide to the Marcellus Shale was used in a number of college courses around the country in 2015, including courses at Oberlin College, Alfred University and Northern Illinois University. 
  • At the New York Earth Science Teachers' Association Annual Field Conference in July of 2015, PRI staff member Don Duggan-Haas received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to Earth science education in New York State. Many of his contributions are in the realm of increasing climate and energy literacy.
  • We conducted sessions at national and regional conferences (e.g., Geological Society of America, Science Teachers Association of New York State, Earth Educators' Rendezvous, and more), and teacher professional development workshops on teaching controversial issues and climate and energy literacy.
  • We continued to publish volumes of our Teacher-Friendly Guide to the Earth Science for additional regions of the U.S., including the South Central, Northwest Central, and Southeast in 2015. The Guides contain new chapters on climate and energy. We are also working on a separate Guide in this series specifically on climate change. This work was funded by NSF.
  • We offered public programs on tree phenology and climate change on the tree phenology trail at the Cayuga Nature Center. This trail contains 10 trees which are registered with the USA National Phenology Network.  This work was funded by the Park Foundation.
  • We worked with New Roots High School 9th graders on climate change-related outdoor education activities at the Cayuga Nature Center. This work was funded by the Park Foundation.
  • We offered demonstrations of climate and weather concepts at the Museum of the Earth using a Weather-in-a-Tank apparatus – a rotating tank of water that allows for demonstration of fluid dynamics concepts. This project is funded by an NSF grant, through Cornell Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Gang Chen.
  • We continued to publish a series of articles about climate modeling on our Climate Change 101 blog (http://climatechange101.blogspot.com.) These articles were written by Dr. Ben Brown-Steiner, a postdoc at Cornell, and his goal is to make complex topics in climate science accessible to the public.

Park Foundation



  • The Foundation awarded a total of $275,000 for climate and energy related projects including TCCPI, Cornell Extension’s energy program and HeatSmart programs

New York

  • Grants totaling $455,000 continued to focus on aspects of hydrofracking including pipeline and compressor station issues as well follow-up on the state ban.


  • A conservative estimate of the Foundation’s portfolio includes 15% (approximately $45 million) in climate solutions investments.

Shareholder Resolutions

  • In 2015 the Foundation filed or co-filed 10 shareholder resolutions on hydrofracking environmental and investor risk, carbon stranded asset risk, and greenhouse gas reductions. Companies included ExxonMobil, Alpha Natural Resources, CONSOL, Chevron, Entergy, Anadarko, Hess, Commercial Metals, Clarcor and Esco. The most successful vote was Commercial Metals at 46%. The least successful was Entergy at 6.7%.


  • In 2015 the Foundation was certified by the Green Plus program. LEED certification is still pending.


Renovus Solar


  • Installed 524 clean solar PV systems - that’s an average of over 10 systems per week! 
  • Installed over 2.5 megawatts of solar generating capacity in the region. 
  • Received the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Business of the Year Award.
  • Moved to our new campus at 1520 Trumansburg Road. We totally transformed the long dormant chicken breeding facility into a state of the art warehouse and office space 
  • Increased our workforce to over 70 employees, providing good, living wage jobs. 
  • Completed the first local community Solar Farm, which generates electricity for area 23 households.
  • Launched the Renovus Community Solar Initiative - a public event forum that increases accessibility to solar. 
  • Participated in numerous regional solarize programs - installed 200 (or 22.5%) of the entire state’s 900 solar projects acquired through solarize programs. 


Rev: Ithaca Startup Works


  • We are moving forward with expanding our facility to include an additional 3500 square feet and finish construction on our current 4500 square feet. 
  • Implemented upgraded windows and LED lighting into the new floor that is being constructed
  • Opted for the new HVAC system to be decreased in size to a smaller and more efficient unit
  • Continued to keep up with and emphasize recycling which noticeably reduced total trash output
  • Awarded three years of funding to support our hardware accelerator which allows small companies to greatly reduce the cost and carbon foot print associated with prototype manufacturing.
  • Look forward to a completed building so we can look to implement policies to reduce excessive heating, air conditioning and electrical usage. 




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


Environmental (Internal: Management - External: Education)

  • New exhibitions: The New York Natives Gallery contains 4 exhibits that feature local animals and environments, with graphics that focus on environmental stewardship and sustainability in the Finger lakes Region
  • New exhibition: The Tidepool Touch Tank lets Sciencenter guests touch and experience live tidepool animals and learn about the fragile nature of marine life in the ocean
  • New national collaboration: The Sciencenter is part of the Sustainability in Science Museums project with the Walton School of Sustainability at Arizona State University and the Science Museum of Minnesota, to create sustainability themed activity kits that will be shared out to 50 museum partners throughout the US.
  • Toured a major traveling exhibition “Ocean Bound!” on watershed health and ocean conservation to museums nationwide.
  • Delivered field trips on the topic of renewable energy to 400 2nd grade students in Tompkins County through the Kids Discover the Trail! program.  
  • Delivered ocean health and science field trip to over 750 2nd grade students in rural Tompkins County and Cortland City School District through the Sciencenter’s endowment.
  • Offered exhibits in our “Sustainability Corner” on waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, composting, and consumer behavior. 


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

  • Donated $7,740 in free family memberships and museum passes to organizations throughout upstate NY.
  • Donated $32,250 in free memberships to families in neaad through our Membership Access Program.
  • Supported local health and human services agencies by participating as a United Way Pacesetter Organization, raising over $3,400 for the United Way 2015 campaign.
  • Offered a new access program for low-income guests called Museums For All, which provides $1 admission for anyone in a family with an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card  (formerly Food Stamps).
  • 27 staff served on boards and volunteered for 35 other not-for-profit organizations in Tompkins County and beyond.


Financial (Internal: Organization – External: Community)

  • Grew the Sciencenter endowment by $103,000, with the goal of providing sustained funding for the museum and its programs in the future.
  • Visitors to the Sciencenter from out-of-county spent nearly $1.000,000 in Tompkins County during the previous year.


Snug Planet


  • Received a first place People's Choice Signs of Sustainability award from Sustainable Tompkins.
  • Completed insulation and ventilation work on the TREE Sustainable Living Center, a super-efficient building that contains 15 apartments and community facilities.
  • Completed 100+ energy saving retrofits in Tompkins County and surrounding areas.
  • Eliminated use of high global warming potential blowing agents in most spray foam operations.
  • Began offering air source heat pumps as an efficient alternative to fossil fuel-based heating systems.
  • Jon Harrod published article, “Preparing for Climate Change,” in Home Energy Magazine, discussing ways that residential energy efficiency work not only slows climate change, but can make homes and communities more resilient to extreme weather.


Sustainable Tompkins


Finger Lakes Climate Fund

In 2015, we expanded the donor base for the Climate Fund with our ‘Seal the Cracks’ campaign.  Our objective was to greatly increase the public’s familiarity with our local carbon offset fund, and expand the base of offsetters. Our goal was to raise $10,000 and by the end of 2015 we exceeded that with $15,493 donated by 112 businesses, organizations, and individuals for a collective offset of 768 tons of carbon dioxide. Our media outreach and event presence reached thousands of local residents. Several individual entities at Cornell and Ithaca College began to offset some of their travel. 

Our local carbon offset fund continues to benefit local families. We gave out 2 more grants in 2015, which offset 225 tons of CO2 and contributed $4,509 toward energy improvements for low-income households in Caroline and Montour Falls (Schuyler County). To date, we have given out $30,366 in grants and offset 1,550 tons of CO2. Details are on our website (fingerlakesclimatefund.org). This year’s grants were made via Tompkins Community Action and Snug Planet. Three more grants are underway in early 2016.


Alternatives to Dryden Pipeline

Sustainable Tompkins worked to educate local policymakers and the building sector on alternatives to the proposed Drdyen gas pipeline. Working with Brice Smith, Melissa Kemp, and Brian Eden, we put together a seminar comparing climate impacts and energy models for new commercial and multifamily development using smarter design and heat pumps to replace conventional gas heating systems. This was presented at six public meetings and at a special 2-hour workshop at Hotel Ithaca hosted by ST for the local building sector. A series of private meetings with Chamber of Commerce reps, local developers, and elected officials were held to address assumptions about the lack of viable alternatives to "business as usual" construction. We also spoke at various county and city legislative meetings on these topics. Video of the building sector workshop is here.


Grassroots Policy Advocacy

ST serves on the Tompkins County Energy Road Map Steering Committee and TCCPI’s Smart Energy Policy Committee. We also provide feedback and try to stimulate systems thinking by sharing comments on climate action at county legislative meetings and articles on sustainable development and energy/equity/economy in the local press. The Building Bridges Collective Impact (BBCI) working group on energy (Karim Beers, Elan Shapiro, Anne Rhodes, Gay Nicholson) worked to focus attention on our collective need to link the issues of energy and equity in our work. We put together a presentation for TCCPI members to stimulate ongoing discussions and created a working document providing an overview of why Energy and Equity Go Hand in Hand.


Taitem Engineering


First Quarter

  • Our Renewables Department continued its steady growth, adding three more people to our PV installation crews and hiring Carina Ayar as a project manager.
  • Partner Beth Mielbrecht, PE, was recognized for her work as a mentor with preengineering students at Ithaca High School.
  • Tompkins County Commercial Energy Efficiency Collaborative, a free, hands-on workshop series led by energy professionals from Taitem and Cornell Cooperative Extension, completed the first session in a six part series. Local business owners are working with the team and setting energy efficiency goals for 2015.
  • Manhattan College Student Commons, Bronx, NY. Taitem worked alongside the architectural group Perkins Eastman on a 70,000 SF building that was awarded LEED Gold certification. Some of the green features include: a green roof, high-efficiency lighting design, occupancy-based lighting and HVAC, regional materials and recycled content, enhanced commissioning, demand-based ventilation, variable speed refrigerant system, high-efficiency condensing boilers, and low flow bathroom fixtures. Shout out to our Senior Sustainability Consultant, Courtney Royal, for guiding the building to LEED Gold certification.


Second Quarter

  • Physics bus! Taitem supported the physics bus mission by helping it go solar.
  • Taitem added a full-time Solar PV design engineer to its staff.
  • Taitem received an award for “CNY Best Places to Work 2015,” presented by the CNY Business Journal. Ranking third of twelve finalists in the 50 employees and fewer category, Taitem was recognized for high employee satisfaction, citing Taitem’s working conditions as well as its mission and culture.


Third Quarter

  • NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie visited our Ithaca offices and stopped by one of our installation sites to discuss meaningful green employment opportunities for underserved minorities.
  • Taitem began a partnership with Iberdrola (NYSEG/RGE) to develop a NYS REV demonstration project, based in Tompkins County, called Community Energy Coordination. The project will explore how the involvement and support of the utility company can help communities meet their energy goals. The project seeks to:
    • create sustainable business models and grow the market for clean energy services;
    • reduce the cost and increase the adoption of distributed energy resources (DER) such as solar PV (with one potential focus being clients of low and moderate income)
  • Continuing its ongoing commitment to bringing high-performance building practices to the affordable housing sector, Taitem became an approved Technical Assistance provider to Enterprise Green Communities. EGC helps developers, investors, builders and policymakers make the transition to a green future for affordable housing by providing the funds and technical expertise to help build, rehabilitate, and operate healthier, more efficient, yet still affordable homes.
  • Partner Umit Sirt, PE, published an article in Consulting Specifying Engineer Umit and his team modeled a NYC multi-family mid-rise building and showed that it’s possible to design a building that will meet the challenge of reducing emissions by 90% to 100%.
  • Net Zero Training. Ian Shapiro, founder of Taitem Engineering and co-author of Green Building Illustrated (Wiley, 2014) and Liz Walker, co-founder of EcoVillage at Ithaca, and Executive Director of its educational arm, Learn@EcoVillage addressed the fundamentals and strategies for zero energy design during the net zero training at EcoVillage Ithaca in September. The two-day training focused on design and construction details to achieve net-zero energy use in new buildings, both residential and commercial.
  • Taitem participated in the Smart Energy Jobs panel held in Binghamton and hosted by the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition with NYS, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo SUNY BEST, and NYS Energy Democracy Alliance.


Fourth Quarter

  • Taitem began installing a 48 kW solar PV system for the Ulysses Philomathic Library in Trumansburg. The SunPower module array is projected to meet nearly 100% of UPS’s annual electricity needs.
  • Taitem became the first company in New York to be accepted as an energy modeling partner to provide technical support services for NYSERDA’s New Construction Program. The program aims to increase the performance of buildings and to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions with an emphasis on deep energy savings and zero-net energy designs. Taitem was selected because of the strength of its energy modeling department and its nationally recognized work in design and modeling for zero-energy buildings.
  • Taitem shared information about PACE: Property Assessed Clean Energy with members of the Amicus Cooperative, a cooperative of the finest independent solar companies across the United States. PACE is a new financing option for energy efficiency, solar PV and other renewable energy projects that offers long-term, low-cost funding. Savings on utility bills are redirected to pay off the loan, through a special line item on a property tax bill. Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca plan to launch PACE in 2016.
  • Ian Shapiro, founder and chairman of Taitem participated in the closing panel of the Syracuse CoE Symposium, “COE 15th Annual Symposium – 2015 Clean Energy Frontiers from Lab to Market” this November.


Tompkins Community Action


Tompkins Community Action, Inc. has been the designated US Department of Energy/NYS Homes and Community Renewal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) provider for the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County for thirty-three years. Working closely with the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) as a Home Performance with Energy Star contractor, we provide Assisted Home Performance and EmPower programs. As a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Goldstar Contractor, members of TCAction’s Energy Services Department hold multiple BPI certifications including auditor, heating professional, envelope professional, manufactured home professional, building analyst, and quality control inspector, etc. We partner with numerous municipal entities, not-for-profits, and private sector organizations to leverage funding associated with weatherization, energy efficiency, and other types of home repair and housing rehabilitation programs.


  • Completed 45 energy efficiency upgrades to low-income housing units under the Weatherization Assistance Program.
  • Completed 40 energy efficiency retrofits under the NYSERDA Home Performance with Energy Star Program and the Assisted Home Performance with Energy Star Program.
  • Provided 46 free energy audits / electric reduction / energy efficiency upgrades to low-income households as a designated NYSERDA EmPower NY contractor.
  • Provided 16 emergency cooling services under the Tompkins County DSS Emergency Cooling Program.
  • Provided 4 emergency heating services under the Tompkins County DSS Emergency Heating Program.
  • Participated with Better Housing of Tompkins County to provide energy audits and energy efficiency upgrades to 18 housing units.
  • Facilitated radio spots and news articles in support of National Weatherization Day 2015.
  • Participated with Sustainable Tompkins’ Finger Lakes Climate Fund “Residential Energy Efficiency” grant program to provide energy efficiency retrofits to two Tompkins County homes.
  • Increased Energy Services Department staff to respond to growing demand for energy efficiency retrofits throughout the County.
  • Participated in diverse local forums, presentations, and conferences, etc. to inform the Tompkins County community about the benefits of weatherization (for housing units and the environment).
  • Participated with diverse community-wide agencies and their standing committees to address issues associated with climate protection.


Tompkins County


  • Tompkins County Comprehensive Plan Update.  Included a new section on climate change and wove sustainability throughout the plan, which was adopted by the Legislature.
  • Energy Roadmap.  Conducted extensive outreach presenting the results of the resource analysis and future energy scenarios, and finalized the topical chapters and drafted conclusions and recommendations in order to complete the Roadmap in 2016.
  • Energize NY Finance.  Worked with County and City officials to join Energize NY, the State’s property assessed clean energy (PACE) program for commercial properties. Now, commercial property owners throughout Tompkins County can take advantage of low-cost long-term financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, with repayments collected annually through a charge on the tax bill.
  • Energy Smart Community.  Worked with Iberdrola USA staff and other community partners to develop a framework for integrated systems planning and other aspects of the utility’s proposed Energy Smart Community focused on Tompkins County.
  • Reforming the Energy Vision Clean Energy Demonstration Project. Collaborated with NYSEG, Taitem Engineering and other community partners to develop a demonstration project to explore how the involvement and support of the utility can help communities meet their energy goals.
  • HeatSmart Tompkins. Advised and assisted the Solar Tompkins Board of Directors in launching HeatSmart Tompkins, a county-wide energy efficiency and heat pumps program and acted as the fiscal sponsor for the Park Foundation grant that supported that effort. The program succeeded in attracting 285 families to enroll in the program and explore air sealing, insulating and switching to heat pumps in their homes.
  • Residential Energy Score Project. Studied building envelope rating methods and considered how best to create value for energy efficiency in the local housing market as part of a team including five municipalities to implement a NYSERDA Cleaner Greener Communities grant that aims to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes by increasing homebuyer awareness of the amount of insulation and air-tightness they can expect in their house.
  • Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan. Worked with partners to develop a scope of work for a NYSERDA Cleaner Greener Communities grant to study electric vehicle charging station needs and opportunities.
  • Energy and Economic Development Task Force.  Partnered with Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) to facilitate the work of the Task Force to address short-term energy needs and emissions in ways that contribute to a vital local economy.
  • Energy Focus Area Strategy. In partnership with TCAD, hired a consultant to develop an Energy Focus Areas Strategy to provide for the energy needs of growing businesses while prioritizing renewable energy solutions and addressing energy concerns in key geographical areas of the county.
  • IDA Energy Incentives.  Hired a consultant to work with the Industrial Development Agency and TCAD to structure an incentive program to provide enhanced incentives for businesses that invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems to reduce their carbon footprint as part of a job-creating expansion.
  • Community Microgrid for Critical Facilities, NY Prize.  Using grant funds from NYSERDA, worked with a consultant to develop a feasibility assessment of the technical design and system configuration for a proposed community microgrid in the vicinity of the airport.
  • Integrate Energy Efficiency into the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.  Began initial work to develop strategies to fund and implement studies to improve the energy efficiency and use of renewables in projects funded under the URI.
  • Ithaca 2030 District.  Assisted the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative with initial background work on the project and continued to serve on the steering committee to help in the District’s launch.
  • Stream Corridor Protection Program. Worked to implement the County’s updated stream corridor restoration and flood hazard mitigation program, incorporating watershed-based approaches to reduce the risk of flood damages and improve water quality. Evaluated the future funding of the program.
  • Pipeline Inventory.  Hired a consultant to conduct an inventory of pipeline stream crossings in the County and identify those of highest priority in order to advance measures to reduce erosion risk in order to protect human health and the environment.


Tompkins County Area Development


  • In a joint effort with Tompkins County, the Energy and Economic Development Task Force was created to consider creative solutions to meet the energy needs of Tompkins County's growing economy, while simultaneously supporting the County's goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. The task force is comprised of 16 community leaders. A report of recommendations will be issued in 2016.
  • In a joint effort with Tompkins County Planning, hired a consultant to assess potential incentives the Industrial Development Agency could implement to incentivize light industrial and high tech companies to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy in their facilities.
  • Participated with the City of Ithaca on a committee to revise the Community Investment Incentive Tax Abatement Program to include sustainability measures.


Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce


  • Along with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, Get Your GreenBack Tompkins, and Taitem Engineering, the Chamber launched the Tompkins County Commercial Energy Efficiency Collaborative, a hands-on workshop series in which participants receive a comprehensive energy audit of their building and support reaching their energy savings goals.
  • The 6-session series began in early 2015. The second round of the workshop is starting in April 2016.
  • The Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce Foundation played a key fundraising role in the completion of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail (CWT) in 2015. The CWT is a six-mile, multi-use trail connecting our community’s most popular waterfront destinations.
  • The Chamber Foundation and a trail advisory committee will be working on next steps for the CWT.
  • The Chamber, along with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, introduced a new quarterly newsletter, Commercial Energy Now, sharing success stories and resources to support commercial energy efficiency upgrades.
  • Jennifer Tavares, the Chamber president, served on the TCAD Energy and Economic Development Task Force, along with other community leaders.


Tompkins County Environmental Management Council, Energy Committee


  • Adopted EMC Resolution 2015-01 Requesting the Tompkins County Legislature to review NYS Assembly bill A.2177-A amending the NYS Tax Law to establish a tax credit for the purchase and installation of geothermal energy systems and to urge the adoption of such law if deemed appropriate. The Tompkins County Legislature unanimously supported this request. Subsequently both the NYS Senate and Assembly adopted this provision but Governor Cuomo vetoed it in November.
  • Adopted EMC Resolution 2015-03 Requesting that the Tompkins County Legislature Undertake Specific Measures to Address Environmental Contamination Associated with Cayuga Operating Company’s Coal Ash Landfill in the Town of Lansing. EMC presented on this issue on several occasions at the Planning, Energy, and Environmental Quality (PEEQ) meetings.
  • NYS Association of Environmental Management Councils
  • 2015 Conference on the Environment hosted by the Tompkins County EMC in Ithaca in October.
  • Six energy related presentations were held at the Conference pursuant to the theme Expanding Access to Renewable Energy Technologies: Implementation Strategies; Energy and Equity, Solar for All: New York’s Community Shared Renewables Program, Developing a Solar Energy Cooperative Project in Tompkins County, Seal the Cracks Campaign: Finger Lakes Climate Fund, Tompkins County Energy Roadmap: A Vision for Achieving an 80% Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction by 2050, Building and Heating with the Climate in Mind: Alternatives to Expanding Fossil Fuel Infrastructure, and the HeatSmart Tompkins Program.
  • EMC provided testimony at public hearings conducted by the NYS Public Service Commission on the Reforming the Energy Vision Proceeding (14-M-0101). Track One explored the role of distribution utilities in enabling system-wide efficiencies and market-based deployment of DER and load management. The first track also considered the role of the incumbent electric utilities and whether they should serve as the Distributed System Platform (DSP) provider, the entity that would manage and coordinate DER, as well as wholesale market issues and opportunities for customer engagement. Track Two addressed the regulatory changes and ratemaking issues that would be necessary to implement the REV vision and related utility business models. Both hearings were held in Binghamton, the first in February and the second in November.
  • The EMC provided comments on several proposed new construction projects in the City of Ithaca urging the incorporation of demand management measures to ensure that such buildings would achieve high standards for energy performance. We encouraged the City to adopt planning tools to support its Energy Action Plan adopted in January 2013 such as stricter local energy conservation codes which are permitted by state law.
  • The EMC wrote the Mayor of the City of Ithaca urging him to include funding in the FY 2016 Budget to employ a full-time Sustainability Planner with expertise in high energy performing buildings.
  • The EMC also urged developers to strive to adopt such energy efficiency measures in their buildings. We met with the architects and engineers engaged in the design of the buildings for the Tompkins Financial Headquarters, Campus Advantage State Street Project, and the Dewitt House.
  • The Building and Heating with the Climate in Mind presentation was provided to a wide range of local audiences and venues such as the Common Council Chambers, Cornell University, and the Hotel Ithaca.
  • The EMC sponsored a program on the Energy Roadmap.
  • The EMC with many other local organizations provided comments to the Tompkins County Legislature following the COP 21 meetings in Paris urging them to recommit themselves to aggressive efforts to achieve the County’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
  • The EMC met with Iberdrola staff to provide programmatic suggestions for the development of its Community Energy Coordination program.
  • The EMC collaborated on public programs, document preparation, and local and statewide strategy meetings with many other organizations with whom we had shared purposes; Energy Roadmap Steering Committee, Solar Tompkins HeatSmart, Ratepayer and Community Intervenors, Coalition for Sustainable Economic Development, NY Renews, Energy Democracy Alliance, Fossil Free Tompkins, Green Education Legal Fund, and Campaign for Renewable Energy.


Town of Caroline


  • Key players from the Town Energy Committee have been steering the Solar Tompkins HeatSmart Tompkins Program, promoting home energy efficiency and heat pumps for home heating and cooling. This work continues. 
  • The Caroline Planning Board has been working on updating Caroline's Comprehensive Plan. Three public meetings were held to take public comment and promote discussion, and a survey was developed that will be sent in 2016. The existing plan has a strong sustainability focus, and we expect that will be strengthened.
  • The Town Board passed a Resolution opposing the repowering of the Cayuga Power Plant and recommending the transmission-line-upgrade solution. The PSC recently decided in favor of the transmission-upgrade. This was a significant local step in bringing reason to bear on energy policy that will affect us all.
  • The Town Energy Committee developed a Resolution on Climate Change, with public input, which was adopted by the Town Board.
  • The Town Board adopted a Resolution opposing development of underground gas storage facilities at Seneca Lake. 
  • The Town has been gathering and compiling municipal energy use data to develop its GHG Inventory. This is a key Climate Smart Community goal, and will enable quantification of the financial and GHG-reduction benefits of the Town's previous (solar PV and geothermal) and future energy decisions.
  • The Town replaced fluorescents with LED lighting in the two Town Hall buildings. 

Town of Ithaca

  • Continued sustainability partnership with the City of Ithaca through shared Sustainability Coordinator position
  • Administered and participated in the Residential Energy Score Project
    • Secured NYSERDA funding and hired consultant
    • Creating a voluntary residential energy score program for homes within the five participating municipalities
    • Participants will be able to receive an energy efficiency rating and score that will allow for better understanding and comparison of the energy use and efficiency of homes across the county
    • Program creation to be completed mid-2016; Program to be implemented as soon as funding allows (2017?)
  • Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Plant awarded NY Prize Phase 1 funding for feasibility study of microgrid centered around the wastewater plant
  • Maintained status as EPA Green Power Partner, Leadership Club by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits for 100% of Town government electricity usage
  • Purchased hybrid vehicle for Planning Department
  • Made progress on the Community Energy Action Plan, which details how the Town government can support the reduction of energy use and GHG emissions community-wide
  • Continued publishing Ithaca Sustainability newsletter (now over 500 subscribers) and Facebook page (now over 350 likes)
  • Participated in Form Ithaca, an initiative to support the ongoing efforts of the City and the Town of Ithaca to update their land use regulations to meet the goals and objectives of their comprehensive plans
  • Supported local initiatives through participating on steering committees and providing staff support, meeting space, and promotion:
    • Heatsmart Tompkins, a program to transition home-heating away from fossil fuels
    • Tompkins County Energy Roadmap, a detailed assessment of the local potential for renewable energy and energy efficiency
    • Energy Smart Community, a local testbed for Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) demonstration projects
    • The Sustainability Center, a gallery and meeting place featuring Tompkins County’s nationally recognized sustainability initiatives
  • Presented on various sustainability issues to: Town of Lansing Comprehensive Plan Committee; Town of Caroline Planning Board; Urban Sustainability Directors Network; New York Institute of Technology; Cornell University
  • Received Sustainable Tompkins Signs of Sustainability awards for sustainability leadership for an organization and for an individual
  • Initiated composting program at Town Hall, which diverted an estimated 60 gallons of waste from the landfill each week
  • Joined the Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest cooperative effort among city leaders to reduce GHG emissions, track progress, and prepare for the impacts of climate change


Travis Hyde Properties


  • The County Legislature selected Travis Hyde Properties and HOLT Architects for the redevelopment of the Old Library site in downtown Ithaca. Travis Hyde’s proposal envisions 60 rental apartments for seniors, with professional office space and space for the senior services organization Lifelong.
  • Work continues on the five-story “overbuild” of the 1923 vintage Carey Building, part of Travis Hyde’s commitment to density in downtown Ithaca. This approximately $7 million project is host to Rev: the Ithaca Startup Works, a groundbreaking collaboration among Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College to create a business incubator in Ithaca. The new building will utilize highly energy efficient HVAC equipment and lighting, and will be eligible for LEED certification.
  • Travis Hyde also continued its work with ASI Energy on the installation of a cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP) facility in the basement of Center Ithaca. This innovative project will generate on-site electricity along with heat for in-building use. In the cooling season, excess heat will be converted to cooling with the use of an absorption chiller.
  • As part of its commitment to the goals of the Ithaca 2030 District, Travis Hyde continues to explore the viability of ground and air source heat pumps for select properties in its 850,000 SF portfolio.


Weaver Wind


  • All employees of Weaver Wind Energy now drive electric vehicles—probably a first in Tompkins County. We installed Level 2 charging stations at our Freeville office, so we can charge while we work.  We are now planning to expand the facility to offer Level 2 charging to all EV drivers via PlugShare.
  • In early summer we were an exhibitor at the MREA Energy Fair in Custer WI, and Art Weaver was a lead presenter at the annual Small Wind Conference in Stevens Point WI the week before the fair, introducing the Weaver 5 turbine to the industry.
  • We were also an exhibitor at the Grassroots Festival, educating festival-goers on renewable energy systems and lithium-ion energy storage systems.
  • In keeping with our zero-waste manufacturing initiative, in late summer we became an official ReBusiness Partner with Tompkins County Solid Waste.
  • The Weaver 5 turbine was featured in the 2015 Home Power magazine’s Wind Turbine Buyer’s Guide as one of only 18 recommended small wind machines for the U.S. market.
  • During the summer we hosted two classes of middle school students sponsored by the Cornell synchrotron XRaise project. The kids created their own highly inventive wind turbines from materials such as plastic bottles and pipe cleaners. They then tested them out and discussed what worked and what didn’t.
  • Weaver Wind partnered with Diane’s Downtown Automotive on State St. in Ithaca to install the first Level 3 electric vehicle (EV) Fast Charger in our region. The 50 kW Signet charger can charge EV’s having either the CHAdeMO plug or SAE Combo plug. Installation of the charger was made possible with help from the Nissan EV Advantage program. The station links Ithaca to a growing network of high-powered charging stations and makes Ithaca an attractive waypoint for interstate and Canadian EV drivers.
  • In early autumn we began a collaboration with Prof. Rebecca Barthelmie, an expert in wind turbine efficiency and wake effects, in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell. We are working with Dr. Barthelmie’s students to test new blade prototypes in Cornell’s wind tunnel.
  • In October, Art Weaver gave a talk at the Dryden Town Hall about the role of distributed wind in reaching a 100% renewable energy portfolio.
  • In late 2015 we officially began work on our 2 kW wind turbine. The Weaver 2 will be a highly affordable small wind turbine leveraging the same advanced technology found in the Weaver 5.
  • Throughout the winter months we continued renovation work and energy efficiency upgrades to our Wind Turbine Assembly area which will soon accommodate a CNC milling machine and lathe.