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Town of Hurley Climate Smart Task Force Updates

Updated: Mar 7

Last year we made a list of tasks to complete for our Bronze Certification submission, and as we reported here, that application was submitted in January. We are waiting on the results of a state review and feel confident that certification is near.

At the January meeting, these priorities emerged from our discussion.

  1. Working on a Climate Change Education and Engagement Plan (PE9)

  2. Supporting and documenting composting actions by the town government for Climate Smart Community certification (PE5)

  3. Set up energy usage benchmarking for for municipal facilities

  4. Energy code training for building code staff (or proof that the training that happened last year if it applies)

  5. Finalize municipal recycling policy

  6. Making sure that the Comprehensive Plan contains sustainability elements

  7. Starting Hurley's Climate Action Plan

Completion of some of these actions accures points in the NYS Clean Energy and Climate Smart Community programs which can result in funding grants.

During the course of the year, we look forward to collaborating with town residents and officials to develop these plans and policies. Hope you'll be joining us!

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During 2022 the Hurley Climate Smart Task Force was very busy meeting our goal to complete actions and qualify for Bronze Certification. Last week after Coordinator Kristen Schara finished our narratives and re-checked our documenation, she submitted the work to NYSERDA for state review to do just that.

Our journey started in April of 2019 when the Hurley Town Board approved a pledge to become a become a NYS Climate Smart community. In November of 2020 the board approved the creation of the Climate Smart Task Force (CSTF) and appointed it's first members: Kristen Schara as Coordinator, Lynne Bailey and Andy Shapiro. Kristen and Lynne are still on the CSTF, and while Andy left, Erin Nylen joined us early last year and Planning Board member Peter McKnight followed. Melinda McKnight was our first TB liaison and helped with the initial resolution.

The major tasks we finished in 2022 included

  • Community and Town Operations Greenhouse Gas Inventories

  • Special energy audits of town municipal buidings - the Town Hall and old library - arranged by Kristen Schara

  • With help from Highway Superintendent Mike Shultis the Fleet Inventory is now complete

  • Green Building Standards for Government Buildings and

  • Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy adopted

We also exanded our membership in regional climate groups when Lynne Bailey became a Cornell Climate Steward. We created and placed educational signage for the town's heat pump and solar array installations. To complete our actions, we assembled all the documentation for those energy savers, the town's Chevy Bolt and EV charging station. We also added more information about heat pumps and climate change, made more Facebook posts and website entries.

120 points are needed to achieve Bronze Certificaiton. Here's a table with the actions that were submitted and the possible point totals. There's a larger version posted here.

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It took a bit longer than expected, but our Climate Smart Task Foce completed Hurley's Local Government Operations Inventory in December for the year 2019. The delay was caused by the decision to include estimated data from the landfill.*

We hope you'll take a few minutes to read the report posted here. For the year 2019, GHG emission from municipal operations is estimated at 5,523 Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (MTCO2e).

As you can see in these charts, emissions form the former landfill dwarf other operational sectors. In fact, 88% is ascribed to the landfill alone in 2019. Omitting landfill emissions, buildings and facilities make up remaining bulk of town emissions.

Since then, a mini-split heat pump system was installed at the Town Hall (2021) which is expected to reduce energy use and lower costs. The process of monitoring that is called Benchmarking, and the CSTF hopes to make that comparison in the next year. Landfill emissions likely peaked around 1996, and will drastically lessen by 2050. Emissions from the fleet of town vehicles also add a significant amount of emissions, and the town has one electric vehicle at this time.

* Estimates for the landfill are based on a general model, that multiplies the number of town residents for any given year, by a national average amount of waste, for every year the landfill was used. We may be able to obtain more accurate numbers in the future, if methane emissions can be monitored and measured directly at the site.

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