A Climate Smart Community –
A Climate Smart Community – The New York State Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Program is a network of New York communities engaged in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resilience. Municipalities become involved with the CSC Program by adopting the CSC Pledge, which includes 10 elements that lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and provide guidance on climate change adaptation. Municipalities can opt to participate in the Climate Smart Certification Program, which has four certification levels: certified, bronze, silver and gold. Communities can access technical support and funding opportunities to reach their certification goals.
The City of Kingston achieved Bronze Climate Smart Community certification in 2014, and now Silver certification in 2018, both the highest levels achieved by any municipality in New York State. Kingston has completed a variety of adaptation and mitigation strategies to achieve this level, including appointing a commission, conducting a 2010 Greenhouse Gas Inventory and creating a Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Plan outlines strategies and actions for the city to take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set a goal for energy use reduction of 20% by 2020. To take the City’s commitment even further, in 2017, the City adopted Resolution #179 of 2017: Resolution of the Common Council of the City of Kingston, NY Committing to 100% Clean Energy by 2050 and Continuing Support of the Principles of the Paris Agreement.
In 2020, the City updated our Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory. Further, the City will be crafting an updated Climate Action Plan in 2020 as well, which is due to be released around Earth Day 2021. This will establish new goals and initiatives to further our sustainability efforts.
2019 GHG Emissions Inventory Report
A Clean Energy Community – An initiative of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Clean Energy Communities Program provides funding and technical support to communities that are implementing energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects. A community must complete four out of the 10 High Impact Actions that save energy and money, and contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, to achieve the Clean Energy Community designation.
In 2017 the City of Kingston became the first city in New York to be designated a Clean Energy Community.
To earn the designation, the city by completed the following high-impact actions:
- Establishing a Clean Fleet by adding electric vehicles (EV) to the city fleet.
- Implementing a Benchmarking initiative that establishes a policy of data collection on energy use in
municipal buildings to identify opportunities to cut energy waste. The Environmental Protection
Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager Program is a tool that the City of Kingston uses to benchmark
the performance of municipal buildings.
- Establishing the Energize NY Finance program, a loan to help commercial and non-profit property
owners to tackle energy upgrades and renewable energy projects. The loan is repaid through a special
charge on the property tax bill.
- Earning Climate Smart Community certification. As an added incentive for receiving Clean Energy
Community certification, the City was awarded $100,000 by NYSERDA to complete an energy or
sustainability project (see CEC Grant in Table 1).
- In addition to these actions, Kingston is also a solar-friendly community. In 2015, the City of Kingston
participated in the Solarize Hudson Valley campaign, which was designed to make it easier for
households and small businesses to go solar. The Solarize Kingston campaign has ended, but residents
can access a Solar Guidebook and Kingston’s Solar Permit here.
On April 10, 2018, the City of Kingston, New York joined the 100% Committed campaign in partnership with The Climate Reality Project: Hudson Valley and Catskills NY Chapter. Through this commitment, the City pledged to help our community shift to 100 percent renewable electricity.
Greening Our Street Lights-
Kingston’s street lights consume 1.9 million kWh of energy annually. Kingston is retrofitting all of our existing street lights to energy efficient LED street lights, which will result in a retrofit of over 2,200 municipal street lights to LED.
Street Light FAQ
Greening Our Municipal Building Lights-
In 2019 the City of Kingston took a big step to walk the walk by retrofitting our municipal building lights with energy efficient LED lighting. This work, done under the Central Hudson Small Business Direct Install Lighting Program working with Lime Energy Services Company, included retrofitting lighting in the following municipal buildings:
- Andy Murphy Neighborhood Center
- City Court
- DPW Administration Building
- DPW Garage
- DPW Wilbur Avenue Campus
- Everette Hodge Community Center
- Kingston Heritage Area Visitor Center
- Police Station
- Rondout Fire Station (Building Safety)
- Transfer Station
- Wiltwyck Fire Station (Frog Alley)
- City Hall
These retrofits, which were completed in the first half of 2019, will result in an estimated annual savings of more than $46,500 and more than 387,800 kWh savings. This is equal to the equivalent of the electricity use of 50 homes in one year.
EIC Open C-PACE Program
EIC Open C-PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) is operated by Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC) and provides a low cost, long-term alternative to traditional loans to fund clean energy projects in commercially owned buildings. Open C-PACE is not a bank loan and differs from traditional financing options because:
-financing is available for up to 100% of the project cost, or can be combined with other financing
-competitive private financing from EIC-approved capital providers
-customizable loan terms up to the expected life of the improvement
-repayment is secured through a benefit assessment lien that is subordinate to municipal taxes
-financing automatically transfers to a new owner if the property is sold
-projects must comply with NY State Article 5-L (NY’s PACE law) and NYSERDA's Commercial PACE Guidance Document
KINGSTON'S ROLE IN OFFERING ENERGIZE NY Open C-PACE
To enable Open C-PACE, the City of Kingston passed Local Law #2 of 2019 and signed an EIC municipal agreement. EIC bills the property owner and directs them to remit the funds to the capital provider, removing any collection obligation from the municipality. As the program administrator, EIC will review and approve each financing, ensuring it conforms with the enabling legislation and NYSERDA C-PACE guidelines.
For more information about C-PACE opportunities, see https://www.eicpace.org/eicopencpace. To complete a C-PACE Application, see https://www.eicpace.org/financeapplication.