At the October 13, 2022 meeting, the Claverack Town Board passed resolutions for the Climate Smart Committee to engage in planning activities that can impact the town’s energy use, costs, and carbon footprint, and help the town adapt to a changing climate.
One resolution was to formalize a planning process called Climate Action
Planning (CAP). Specific actions that reduce emissions and save costs will be explored and proposed to the Town Board. For example, in 2021, the Climate Smart Committee completed a Greenhouse Gas Inventory. This study identified all energy consumption in the town’s operations in 2019 and identified opportunities to convert to renewable energy with significant cost savings. The Inventory found that the Town Garage’s energy costs for electricity and heating fuel oil amounted to almost $35,000. It appears that converting to solar energy might realize savings of more than $20,000 annually and, with the CAP resolution now passed, this solution can be evaluated.
Austerlitz recently made the change to renewables for their own town garage. They are now saving over $30,000 annually. Claverack’s Climate Action Planning will explore these types of sustainable, cost saving initiatives as well as other issues.
The second resolution authorizes the Climate Smart Committee to participate in planning with the Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Columbia County Climate Smart Task Force to evaluate local vulnerabilities from climate change and to plan actions to adapt to climate change. The Climate Smart Committee will be working with committees from other towns as well as the County and Co-op Extension staff. We expect this process to launch in late fall.
The Climate Smart committee is composed of Claverack volunteers with a variety of interests in the environment, ecosystems, climate, etc. We have a range of backgrounds. Our common thread is that we are committed to learning as much as we can about these issues and are trying to help our town be Climate Smart. We are committed to the NYS Climate Smart Pledge that was adopted in August of 2020.
We welcome new volunteers, especially those with diverse skill sets and backgrounds. Several initiatives are beginning soon and we welcome all interested residents to reach out and see how they might be involved. It is incredibly gratifying to see progress and to help build a more sustainable Claverack. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and introduce yourself!
Climate Smart is a NYS program that incentivizes towns to take actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The incentives include grants for completing certain actions and preferential treatment for some competitive grants once towns attain a certification level. For example, Claverack has recently received $5,000 grants for converting to LED streetlights and also participation in the Solarize program where residents signed up to get their electricity from a solar farm and receive a 10% savings.