Written by John Bradley
The Claverack Climate Smart Committee meeting on Sept 12 included important discussions on climate actions that move the town toward Bronze Certification, which can help secure funding for additional actions to reduce energy use and town operating costs. The Committee also welcomed two guests, Supervisor Kippy Weigelt and Haley Belancoff, a Sustainability Planner with the Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC).
Haley gave a slide presentation (see link below) to explain the process of certification, report on progress to date, and help frame discussion of ongoing actions. She noted that Claverack has earned almost half the required 120 points for Bronze Certification. Among the successful actions completed is a Greenhouse Gas Inventory that identifies steps the town can take to significantly reduce carbon emissions (and the associated taxpayer costs). For example, town facilities could convert from heating oil to solar panels, both for the town garage and the new town hall. Such projects would have a significant cost reduction on town operating costs. She illustrated the savings a neighboring town realized by implementing a similar project. Committee members Tom Helling and Julie Shevach have organized the information so that any resident can understand the certification process, participate in documenting climate actions that earn points, or start to initiate a climate action.
Most interestingly, Haley outlined some of the many grant opportunities available to Climate Smart Communities. In Columbia County, at least 6 other towns have achieved Bronze certification and are reaping grant rewards. Recently Claverack received a $5K grant for participating in the County’s Solarize program. This grant was the result of Climate Smart committee members learning about and implementing a County Climate Smart project.
The Climate Smart Committee was also pleased to welcome Kippy Weigelt, our Town Supervisor, as a guest. His involvement was a chance for him and the committee members to get to know each other and for him to see the contributions that our members are making toward certification.
Sarah Katan, a member of the Media Team, reported on the Climate Smart Website (see here) and the now monthly newsletter, which reaches over 100 residents.
Our meeting was attended by 11 current members, in person or via Zoom.