Modified: November 26, 2021 11:13am
In its Climate Action Update report the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning has announced that the county continues to make substantial progress in reducing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. Among the report’s key findings: Erie County’s 2020 GHG inventory for government operations shows a decrease of 36.4% compared to the 2005 baseline, surpassing the goal for 2020 set by the Climate Action & Sustainability Plan (CASP) - Internal Operations by almost 4.5%. The CASP, developed by the Erie County Green Team and approved by the Legislature in early 2019, also contains a commitment to procure all electricity for county operations from renewable sources by 2030.
“Erie County remains committed to decreasing emissions from county operations and leading in the community to create a greener, healthier county for future generations. This report shows that we are headed in the right direction and our efforts are bearing fruit,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “I thank the Erie County Green Team for the work they’ve done and the focus they bring to upcoming projects. Erie County is demonstrating that working to reduce emissions makes sense for the environment, for business, and for the community.”
Below are a few significant projects and achievements accomplished over the past year that are featured in the report:
Energy Performance Contract – Through the use of this specialized contract for energy conservation projects, the County is addressing more than 100 projects at over 40 County-owned buildings. These projects have updated the heating and cooling equipment to modern, energy-efficient technology, upgraded the lighting to power saving LED fixtures, and improved the control over building equipment by adding high-tech digital controls. One building, the Erie County Youth Detention Facility, has been identified as a candidate for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (“NYSERDA”) Very-High Efficiency Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning pilot program that seeks to reduce energy related to heating and cooling by over 50%.
Paris /Climate Action Fund – This fund, established in the 2020 budget, reinvests half of the previous
year’s cost savings achieved through energy conservation and waste reduction projects into additional
sustainability initiatives. The funds are utilized to implement action items identified in the CASP, as well as other projects identified by the Green Team. Whenever possible the fund is used to leverage additional funding through grants and rebates. Although the fund was reduced because of budget constraints in 2020, the remaining funds were used to replace propane heating systems in Parks buildings with high efficiency air source heat pumps, providing both GHG emission reductions and cost savings. Projects for 2021 are still being finalized but will likely include electric vehicles and other electric equipment to replace fossil-fueled vehicles and equipment, energy conservation projects, and support of the development of the Community Climate Action Plan.
Open C-PACE – Clean Energy Financing – Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a financing
mechanism for energy conservation and renewable energy projects in commercially owned buildings. Earlier this year Erie County completed all the necessary items to bring PACE to all towns and villages in the county. Cities need to opt in separately; currently in Erie County only properties in the City of Tonawanda do not have access to PACE financing.
Food Composting - A composting project which includes a compost site and a food waste collection
program is in full operation at the Erie County Correctional Facility, composting 90% of the facility’s food waste. From October 2020 through September 2021 Erie County composted 62 tons of food scraps, reducing more than 50 metric tons of GHG emissions while saving more than $20,000 in disposal costs.
Silver Climate Smart Community Certification - Erie County has achieved Silver Certification, currently the highest level, in New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program by demonstrating the extensive work being done across the county to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the changing climate. Certified communities are the foremost leaders in the state, having gone beyond pledging to take climate action to completing and documenting a suite of actions that mitigate and adapt to climate change at the local level. Prior to this round of certifications there were only three out of sixty-two New York State counties that had achieved the Silver Certification level.
The Erie County 2021 Climate Action Update can be viewed at: www.erie.gov/ClimateAction2021
This project has been funded in part by the Climate Smart Community Grant Program, Title 15 of the Environmental Protection Fund through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
For more information:
On Erie County’s work on climate change visit www.erie.gov/sustainability
On the Department of Environment and Planning, visit https://www2.erie.gov/environment/
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