Tompkins Weekly 8-29-21


to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

309 North Aurora Street | Ithaca, NY 14850 |

TCCPI 2020 Annual Report Released, Part 2

by Peter Bardaglio

As noted in Part I, the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI) has been compiling reports from coalition members on their annual efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, facilitate the transition to a clean energy economy and strengthen climate resiliency since 2009.

The Park Foundation has provided generous support for the work of TCCPI, including these reports, for 13 years. The full report for 2020 contains submissions from 37 organizations, institutions and businesses in Tompkins County and can be found at Like Part 1, the following provides highlights from these submissions.

Ithaca 2030 District

  • District expanded to 25 property owners, 29 buildings and 375,371 square feet of committed space. New members included Sciencenter, Kitchen Theatre, GreenStar Co-Op, William Henry Miller Inn and Ithaca Town Hall.
  • Met District-level 2020 targets, 20% reduction from baseline for energy, water and transportation emissions. Reduced energy consumption by 21.5% and realized savings of 42.7% in water use and 21.9% in transportation emissions.

Ithaca Carbon Neutrality Project

  • Continued student project that began in fall 2019 by Cornell Systems Engineering Program under guidance of Professor Al George and other faculty to understand how to achieve heating and cooling carbon neutrality in the city by 2030.
  • Reviewed possibilities for reducing GHG emissions related to heating and cooling existing buildings and worked on a comprehensive guide to applicable policies, retrofits, effectiveness and equity considerations, with the final report to be released in January 2022.

Ithaca College

  • Achieved 60% carbon neutral goal and announced expedited carbon neutrality date of 2030.
  • Subscribed College Circle Apartments to the new Lansing community solar farm, completed the final phase of Center for Natural Sciences lighting upgrades and installed additional electricity sub-meters to identify usage patterns.
  • Initiated student, faculty and staff research project to identify and quantify Dining System carbon footprint and continued joint faculty-student research on IC Natural Lands carbon sequestration.

Local First Ithaca

  • Produced 10th Annual Guide to Being Local in 2020.
  • Campaigned to encourage community members to support local businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

New Roots Charter School

  • NYSED nominated New Roots as NYS Green Ribbon School, one of three state nominees for U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools program.
  • Four-year grant from NYSDEC supported the Summer Youth Ecological Restoration Corps, part of the school’s Cayuga Wetlands Restoration Project.

Park Foundation

  • The Environment Program disbursed 31 grants with climate and energy focus totaling $1,615,000.
  • The Sustainable Ithaca Program disbursed $190,000 in climate-related grants in 2019.
  • Filed five shareholder resolutions seeking reports on carbon asset risk, net-zero GHG emissions and climate-related water risk.

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

  • Opened a new, permanent exhibit on climate change and energy at the museum and launched an online version.
  • Helped develop a climate change training course for New York Power Authority and New York Canal Corporation employees.
  • Continued to develop and run climate change education programs for students and public, many online due to pandemic.


  • Conducted free virtual field trips for 220 students from Tompkins County and 165 from Cayuga County.
  • Students worked on engineering challenges to develop waterwheels and wind-powered vehicles while exploring renewable energy and climate change.

Sustainable Tompkins

  • Awarded $40,058 in 24 Finger Lakes Climate Fund grants in 2020, keeping 2,800 tons CO2 out of the atmosphere.
  • Combined these grants with $44,700 in incentives for low-income residents and awarded another $21,200 for 12 additional heat pumps from a NYSERDA grant.
  • Neighborhoods Mini-Grant Program awarded seven grants totaling $4,300 to local organizations for urban farming education supplies, native trees and planting materials for community tree planting, solar pump for pond at Groundswell’s incubator farm, and bike rack for Village at Ithaca.

Taitem Engineering

  • Provided Regional Stretch Code training for municipal officials.
  • Conducted energy studies for small businesses and not-for-profits through the Green Jobs/Green NY program.
  • Completed analysis for HeatSmart Tompkins evaluating effectiveness of installing heat pumps and envelope improvements.
  • Energy consulting for new buildings through NYSERDA’s New Construction Programs, including several multifamily city projects.

Tompkins Community Action

  • Partnered 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 following projects in 2020-21: 23 jobs through Weatherization Assistance Program; 13 heating and shell jobs and five electric reductions jobs through the EmPower NY Program; 10 households received heating equipment repairs or replacements through HEAP/HERR; 19 households received clean and tune services through HEAP; and Six Assisted Home Performance energy audits.

Tompkins County

  • Climate and Sustainable Energy Advisory Board began meeting in March, providing input and feedback on NYSEG rate case, Office of Renewable Energy Siting regulations, County GHG inventory, proposal for new chief sustainability officer, new green jobs report, and CLCPA and CAC advisory panels.
  • Completed County GHG Emissions and Energy Use inventories for community and county government operations.
  • Selected a consultant to develop a plan to reduce risk associated with changing climate and prepare the community to take necessary actions.
  • Drafted update of county hazard mitigation plan and developed plan to green county vehicle fleet.

Tompkins County Council of Governments Energy Committee

  • Offered educational webinars and discussions throughout the year on community choice aggregation.
  • Feedback from municipalities indicated interest in CCA with focus on renewable energy and cost savings.
  • Explored ways to aggregate benefits and alleviate pressure on each municipality to work out details on their own.

Tompkins County Environmental Management Council

  • The Outreach and Communications Committee hosted a virtual panel in October focusing on environmental justice and the disproportionate impact of pollution on low-income households and communities of color.
  • The Climate Adaptation Committee developed a brochure on flood preparation and provided input on the County Hazard Mitigation Plan.
  • The Zero Waste Committee worked on distribution of reusable bags and fliers and on building support for county resolution banning single-use food service items in county facilities.

Town of Caroline

  • The Town Planning Board completed the Comprehensive Plan update, emphasizing development guidance tools to promote sustainable, livable communities.
  • Town enacted a 180-day Land Use Moratorium in anticipation of stronger zoning regulations.
  • Completed purchase of streetlight facilities from NYSEG as part of transition to LED fixtures.

Town of Dryden

  • Worked to replace all incandescent streetlight fixtures with LED lights.
  • Awarded $500,000 state grant to construct a pedestrian bridge over Route 13, creating a critical link for 10.5-mile Dryden Rail Trail.
  • Negotiated unprecedented agreement with Dominion Energy to reduce fugitive methane and criteria pollutants at Borger Station.

Town of Enfield

  • Contracted with Renovus for installation of solar array on Town Highway Garage with NYSERDA grant and installed heat pumps on community building and town hall.
  • Finalized Comprehensive Plan with many environmentally sustainable initiatives.
  • Established laws to allow appropriate development of wind and solar installations.

Town of Ithaca

  • Worked with the city to continue codifying Energy Code Supplement mandating reduced GHG emissions in new construction.
  • Developed and adopted Green New Deal goals and roadmap and initiated implementation.
  • Drafted GHG inventory for government operations and worked on LED streetlight upgrades.

Town of Ulysses

  • Completed installation of air source heating and cooling system, which, together with solar panels on town hall and renewable energy ESCO for electricity, make Town Hall operations fossil free.
  • Converted all lights in Town Hall to LEDs and signed an agreement with NYSEG to convert streetlights to LEDs.
  • Conservation and Sustainability Advisory Council implemented a grant to purchase new trees and shrubs as part of seeking Tree City designation.​​