This month, the Village of Trumansburg was designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYRSDA), an honor representing an effort several years in the making.
According to a recent press release, the Village of Trumansburg’s designation was as a result of completing four high-impact clean energy actions, including adopting a benchmarking policy to track and report the energy usage within village municipal buildings; performing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to municipal buildings to achieve a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings; streamlining the local approval processes for solar projects through adoption of the New York State United Solar Permit; and completing energy code enforcement training on best practices in energy code enforcement for the Village’s Code Officer.
Ben Darfler, trustee for the Village of Trumansburg since spring of 2018, said Trumansburg worked hard to achieve this designation because it is an important cause in today’s modern times.
“We see it as pretty important that we support energy efficiency … to help those in our community and the broader, surrounding communities,” Darfler said. “It also ties into fiscal responsibility at the village level that doing these changes … definitely has a payoff that makes a lot of sense for the village. And I would encourage folks to look at those and see if it pays off for them as well.”
Darlfer is proud to have helped Trumansburg achieve such a designation, he said. It was a mission that began before he became a trustee and an effort he was eager to see through.
“It makes sense for us to put our efforts where our mouths are,” he said.
Converting the Village Hall gas boiler to air-sourced heat pumps and converting the village offices to LED bulbs helped Trumansburg significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions, according to the release, something the mayor of Trumansburg is quite proud of.
“The term ‘sustainability’ means different things in different situations,” Rordan Hart said in the release. “But when it comes to energy, it means, at the very least, being the best stewards we can possibly be of our community’s use and sourcing of our energy needs. I am very pleased that the Village of Trumansburg continues to move towards increasingly sustainable energy usage.”
Darfler said the designation makes an environmental statement that he hopes the rest of the state and country will take up as well.
“It’s important for us to be seen as leaders in that space, both as a municipality, as inspiration to other municipalities in the area, and then also as an inspiration to members of our community,” Darfler said.
As part of the recognition, the state awarded Trumansburg a $5,000 grant to go toward future energy efficient efforts. Darfler said most of that grant money will go toward reimbursing the village’s cost for completing the necessary actions for the designation and toward improving the weatherization and insulation on Village Hall to further increase its energy efficiency. As energy demands change, the village plans to adapt to those changes while still meeting green standards, he said.
Though word is still getting out regarding the designation, Darfler said the feedback the Board of Trustees has received so far is overwhelmingly positive, and he was pleasantly surprised to see such support.
“We have a great community that, I think, is a large part very focused on climate change and energy efficiency,” Darfler said. “When they think where does their tax money go, there’s a lot of people who are supportive of these efforts and see this as a worthwhile cause that we can take on as a board and as a community.”
Trumansburg’s efforts are in conjunction with efforts across the community and the state to see New York set the “green energy pace” for the country, the release said.
“The Village of Trumansburg’s designation is the latest example of how communities all across the state are stepping up to help build a cleaner, more sustainable New York,” said Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA, in the release. “I commend the village for joining Gov. Cuomo’s commitment to reducing harmful emissions, lowering energy costs and ensuring the state meets our nation-leading clean energy goals.”
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