Updated: May 8, 2022
In 2020, Climate Smart Claverack conducted a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory of Claverack’s town operations from 2019 in order to identify opportunities to reduce both emissions and energy costs. A reduction in emissions decreases our impact on climate change while lowering energy costs means resources can be utilized elsewhere for the improvement of the town. The inventory counted all energy GHG emissions as well as the associated costs of five areas:
The Town Court Building
The inventory revealed that in 2019, the town’s operations generated 364 tons of GHG emissions for a total cost of $103,127. The largest sources of both emissions and costs are, in order, the vehicle fleet, heating fuel oil for the garage and the streetlights.
Based on the inventory and discussions with the Town Board, not only can we reduce emissions, but we can save substantial operating costs. The Inventory suggests opportunities to save by improving the efficiency of the town’s buildings and using more renewable energy. With the new Town Hall/Court building in its early stage of planning, these data are exciting and timely.
Detailed ideas for each of the five areas inventoried can be found below.
The New Town Hall
Net Zero is a realistic option since a new building is in the planning stages. Claverack intends to consolidate the operations of the old town hall and the town court into one new building, which can be built affordably to high energy efficiency standards. With proper planning, this new building could rely entirely on renewable energy – either hydro power from the Agawamuck creek where the falls once powered a 19th century paper mill or from a solar array on site.
If you are interested in helping develop ideas for the New Town Hall or would like to offer your expertise in planning, architecture, green materials, sustainable heating/cooling, etc. please reach out (LINK to FOOTER) to Climate Smart Claverack.
Reducing emissions for an older large structure like the town garage is a more complicated process than for a new building. However, the same elements of the energy system need to be addressed:
Insulation to prevent heat loss
Efficient heating and lighting technology
Conversion to renewables
That said, the realities of a small town‘s budget may require a more limited approach and trade-offs to consider. For example, what is the cost-benefit of replacing the fuel oil based heating system with heat pumps and installing a solar array for renewable electricity?
The town is actively working with National Grid and NYSEG to convert the streetlights to LED. Claverack currently spends over $19k annually for street lighting. Converting to LED will reduce annual costs by 45% to just over $9,000. The cost of conversion will be less than one year's expense with a payback in about a year. After installation, this conversion will represent a major savings for the town.
The vehicle fleet will eventually need to convert to electric vehicles as the transportation system moves away from fossil fuels. As vehicles age and need to be replaced, the town should seek to replace them with EVs if the market allows. This transition will likely take decades and will depend on the development of the EV market.
We are looking for volunteers who are well versed in the EV market to help recommend a pathway that the Town Board can follow to put less impactful town vehicles on the road. Contact Climate Smart Claverack (LINK to FOOTER) today.
For a more information and detailed reports:
A New Town Hall for Claverack and Climate Smart Opportunity - IMBY.com, July, 2021
Climate Smart - Claverack Looks to Reduce Its GHG Emissions - IMBY.com, Aug, 2021
Executive Summary of the Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report for Claverack - townofclaverack.com, Aug, 2021
Town Garage Tour Feedback Summary - townofclaverack.com, Oct, 2021