Albany to Take Part in 2012 Earth Hour
On Saturday March 31 at 8:30 PM, the City of Albany will join millions of people across the globe in switching off the lights for one hour – Earth Hour, the world’s largest public action for the environment. "By taking part in this global 'lights out' event the City of Albany is acknowledging our continued commitment to operational actions that benefit the planet in the year ahead," Mayor Jennings said. All city residents and businesses are invited and encouraged to join the City in turning out the lights and taking a stand against climate change.
From 8:30-9:30 pm on March 31st the City of Albany will turn off all non-essential lighting at municipal buildings and properties. Earth Hour began as a single-city initiative – in Sydney, Australia – in 2007 and has since grown into a global movement with hundreds of millions of people and thousands of cities. For more information on how you can participate or on Earth Hour in general, visit their website at www.earthhour.org.
NYSERDA Introduces Buy Green, Save Green NYS High Efficiency Appliance Rebates
Beginning March 19, 2012, New York State residents can receive a cash rebate of $350 by purchasing eligible high efficiency refrigerators or $250 by purchasing a high efficiency clothes washer. $3.5 million has been made available through the program, which runs until April 30th, 2012 or until funding is exhausted, whichever comes first. Only CEE Tier 2 or 3 appliances purchased on or after March 19th 2012 can receive funding. Funding is being reserved quickly, so be sure to act fast to ensure you receive your rebates. Eligibility requirements and application forms can be found on the Buy Green, Save Green website.
Governor Cuomo Launches On-Bill Recovery Program to Help Homeowners Finance Energy Efficient Upgrades
Governor Cuomo announced during his 2012 State of the State Address that the On-Bill Recovery Program has been accelerated to start immediately, rather than a projected start-date of June 2012. The program allows consumers to pay for energy efficiency upgrades through energy savings as a line-item on their monthly utility bills.
"This program is a great way for New Yorkers to make their homes more energy-efficient and more environmentally friendly in a way that doesn’t cause financial hardship," Governor Cuomo said. "The program will also create immediate jobs, and I hope homeowners across the state take advantage of this opportunity."
The On-Bill Recovery Program allows qualifying homeowners to perform energy efficiency upgrades with no money up front. The costs are paid back over 5, 10, or 15 years, depending on the loan terms, all of which is paid for through the resulting energy savings. For the full story and how you can sign up, visit NYSERDA’s website.
City of Albany Mayor’s Office of Energy & Sustainability to be honored at 2nd annual GOBY Awards!
The Stakeholders, Inc. has announced the 2012 GOBY Awards Honorees, and the Office of Energy & Sustainability has been selected to win the “Building Sustainable Communities” award! The awards will be given out at the 2012 GOBY Awards ceremony, to be held on March 7th at the Crowne Plaza in Albany.
The Stakeholders, Inc. is a non-profit organization committed to making the Capital Region a brighter and more attractive place to live and work. The Get on Board Volunteer Awards, a.k.a. the GOBYs, recognizes individuals and organizations that help promote safe and livable communities. A full list of the 2012 Honorees can be found on the Stakeholders website, where tickets can also be purchased for the banquet and awards ceremony. Hope to see you there!
Sustainability Ambassador Program Launched
In November 2011, the Office of Energy & Sustainability kicked off the Sustainability Ambassador Program. In order to more effectively implement the City of Albany Energy Conservation Policy (Adobe PDF), each City department has assigned a Sustainability Ambassador (SA) to act as a liaison to the Office of Energy & Sustainability. The Ambassadors will be the first point of contact for fellow employees regarding the Conservation Policy and responsible for promoting the policy using posters, labels, and other means. The SAs will also provide progress reports to monitor how effective the Policy is and whether any changes need to be made.
The SAs are currently competing in a Sustainability Scavenger Hunt to find and photograph a list of actions found in the Energy Conservation Policy. Each photo is uploaded to our facebook page, so check back often to see who is in the lead!
UAlbany Receives Recognition for Sustainability Efforts
The University at Albany was recognized as one of five statewide organizations at this year’s eighth annual Environmental Excellence Awards. Through the University’s Green Scene and other environmental initiatives, electric bills have been reduced by $700,000 per year, the equivalent power usage of 500 homes.
Mary Ellen Mallia, the Director of Environmental Sustainability at the University, received the award from DEC Commissioner Joe Martens at the award ceremony held at the Empire State Plaza. Mary Ellen has guided the University’s recent sustainability programs, which have included electricity reduction competitions between dorms, recycling drives, and purchasing high-efficiency hybrid buses. The full article can be read via the Times Union.
Emerald Ash Borer Found in Albany County
An emerald ash borer beetle was found inside a trap in late October in Bethlehem, just south of the City of Albany. The invasive beetle is responsible for killing tens of millions of ash trees across the country and has slowly been moving eastward through New York. The solitary beetle represents the first to be discovered in Albany County.
The emerald ash borer, an invasive species originating from China, first appeared in Detroit in 2002. The beetle made landfall in New York in June 2009 and has now been found in 20 counties across the state. With no natural predators in the United States, the beetle poses a grave threat to the state’s 900 million ash trees and related timber industries.
Residents are reminded that there is a statewide ban on transporting untreated firewood more than 50 miles to help stymie the beetle’s spread. A quarantine on the movement of ash trees in Albany County is not yet in effect, but may be implemented after the winter season. More information can be found by reading the Times Union article or visiting the DEC’s Emerald Ash Borer webpage.
Albany Moves to Single Stream Recycling
In order to alleviate confusion and boost recycling rates, Albany recently switched to a single stream recycling system. Rather than separating each type of recycling into color coded bins, Albany residents can now put all their recyclables into one bin for curbside pickup through the Department of General Services (DGS). It no longer matters what color the bin is, just as long as there are only recyclables inside.
“This initiative is a positive investment in our City’s future and will have a strong impact on both the economy and the environment,” said Mayor Jennings. DGS hopes to increase recycling levels substantially while reducing waste being hauled to the Rapp Road landfill, which is approaching its maximum capacity. A flyer with a complete list of recyclable items can be downloaded here (Adobe .pdf).
If you do not yet have an Albany Recycles bin, they can be picked up free of charge from DGS at 1 Conners Boulevard. For a limited time, bins can also be picked up from 200 Henry Johnson Blvd., the Dept. of Recreation at 7 Hoffman Ave, and Bleecker Stadium on Clinton Avenue. Proof of residency is required.
First Electric Vehicle Charging Station in Upstate NY Installed in Downtown Albany
The first electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Upstate NY has been installed at the downtown Holiday Inn Express in Albany. Installed by PlugIn Stations Online, the station utilizes both Level 1 and Level 2 charging modes. Level 1 charges a vehicle in 8-10 hours, while the Level 2 mode can charge a vehicle in 2-4 hours. Two vehicles can use the station at a time. The station is available to the public for a small reservation fee which will be donated to a non-profit organization.
Climate Conversations Reveal Valuable Ideas
for Tackling Climate Change
A wide range of Albany residents participated in the recent Climate Conversations held by the Mayor’s Office of Energy & Sustainability, as part of the Albany 2030 comprehensive planning process. After an introduction on how climate change could impact Albany in the future, the diverse range of participants were asked to share their ideas on how Albany can adapt to this changing world and become a more sustainable city.
Split into breakout groups, attendees discussed a number of important topics, ranging from how to make Albany more bike and pedestrian friendly to increasing the availability of local food sources for area residents. Various initiatives and programs were identified from increasing backyard composting efforts to engaging the "Veggie-Mobile" to deliver produce across the City. The engaging discussions yielded a wealth of ideas that will be integrated into the upcoming City’s Climate Adaptation Plan.
Mayor Jennings Welcomes a group of citizens to the Climate Conversations held the last week of June.
Albany residents discuss opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
The City would like to thank everyone who attended, as well as those who sent in their opinions electronically. A detailed summary of the Climate Conversation events can be accessed here.
Draft Albany 2030 Plan Released for Review
The Draft Albany 2030 Plan was officially released on Thursday, July 14th for public review. This document is a direct result of the community's participation over the past year and a half. More than 1,000 of you have actively participated in developing the vision for Albany in 2030 and the guide for how to reach it. The Climate Adaptation portion of the plan has yet to be included, but you can still view and comment on the current Draft using their online form.
To view the Draft Plan, download it from the Albany 2030 website. There will also be limited copies for viewing at the Albany Public Library branches, the Clerk’s office in City Hall, or at the Planning offices at 21 Lodge Street.
Mayor Jennings Announces Members of Community Advisory Committee on Sustainability
Mayor Gerald D. Jennings has announced the selection of the members of the City of Albany’s Community Advisory Committee on Sustainability. "The Committee will help guide Albany on a path towards sustainability by identifying and prioritizing specific strategies that the City and the Community can implement together by engaging the Community more broadly in our effort to reduce energy consumption and costs, improve the environment, spur economic growth, and prepare for projected impacts of climate change," said Mayor Jennings.
View the entire press release (Adobe PDF, 1.0MB).
NYS Assembly & Senate Pass "Complete Streets" Legislation
The State Assembly and Senate have recently passed legislation requiring new transportation projects consider alternative modes of travel during transportation planning processes. Passage of the bill would ensure bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, and other safe or sustainable infrastructure would not be left out at a time when New Yorkers are trying to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
"With this legislation, future state and local transportation projects will be planned in a way that is more mindful of all users of our roadways," said Assembly Transportation Committee Chair David Gantt. "Thanks to this new approach to road design, New Yorkers will be able to realize the convenience, energy savings and health benefits that all forms of mobility have to offer."
View the entire press release.
Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants Available
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has begun accepting applications for the Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant Program. Awards ranging from $2,500 to $50,000 will be given out to community-based organizations for projects that address exposure of communities to multiple environmental harms and risks. Projects can include cleaning up local pollution, starting community gardens, increasing educational outreach, amongst other goals. Not-for-profit organizations can find more information on the DEC’s program webpage. The deadline for applications is September 9, 2011.
NYS to Lift Hydrofracking Moratorium
Governor Cuomo has announced that hydraulic fracturing would be permitted in New York under a strict set of rules aiming to protect water supplies across the state. Hydrofracking would be allowed on privately held lands, but banned within the NYC and Syracuse watersheds and other major aquifers. Other regulations would also create buffer zones around private wells, limit air pollution from drilling sites, and require wastewater disposal plans be DEC-approved.
DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens said, "This report strikes the right balance between protecting our environment, watersheds, and drinking water and promoting economic development." The entire story can be found on the DEC’s website.
Mayor Jennings Announces Electric Vehicle Program
Mayor Jennings announced Albany's new Electric Vehicle Program on April 21, 2011. Albany will partner with NYSERDA, NYS DOT and other entities to identify opportunities to install electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city. The program will result in a minimum of 15 electric vehicle charging stations installed throughout the city. Read about it in the Times Union and WRGB.
"Albany plugs future of electric cars" Times Union
"Albany to unveil electric car pilot program" WRGB
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