The Climate Committee has been instrumental in these important environmental actions:
- They secured funding from a private donor and renovated the new Town Hall building to be more energy efficient. The Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) encourages the adaptive reuse of existing historical buildings (EPA: Smart Growth). This reduces the high-energy costs of new construction. Our new Town Hall uses air source heat pumps, high levels of insulation, water-efficient fixtures, LED lighting, and a building energy management system.
- They installed a 22.12 kWh solar array on the Town Garage with the help of a NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research & Development Authority) grant. The remote meter for the array was turned on by Consolidated Communications to relay usage information to NYSEG on February 11, 2021. The reductions in GHG emissions and energy cost were immediate. March and April 2021 NYSEG bills compared to March and April 2019 NYSEG bills showed a 54% reduction in energy usage with the cost reduced by 74%.
- They installed an electric car charging station (Level 2 with two ports) in the Town Hall parking lot with a ZEV Rebate (Zero-Emissions Vehicle from the NYSDEC (Department of Environmental Conservation). This charging station is free and available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- They established the Austerlitz Climate Smart Task Force in April 2020. Climate Smart Communities (CSC) is a NYS program that helps local governments take actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate. CSC is sponsored by seven NYS agencies and administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
- They secured funding from a private donor, hiring a Climate Smart Task Force Coordinator (DeeAnn Veeder) in March 2021 to achieve Bronze Certification in the NYS CSC Program. Each Board Member is fully involved in implementing ongoing CSC actions that address climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthen our local ecosystems.