In August of 2016, New York State launched the Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program, a $16-million initiative to help local governments across the state reduce energy consumption and drive clean energy use in their communities. The CEC program is a set of High Impact Actions, developed by NYSERDA that encourages local municipalities to implement specific clean energy actions that save energy costs, create jobs, and improve the environment.
The Town of Seneca Falls is proud to be a participating CEC community and on its way to being distinguished as a ‘Designated’ CEC community. Below is a description of the 3 CEC high impact actions the Town has completed to date:
- Benchmarking (1 action): Benchmarking is a policy that a local government adopts that requires the annual reporting of energy used in municipal buildings. It is important because buildings account for over 60% of the energy used in New York State. Setting up a system for measuring and sharing data on building energy use over time allows owners and occupants to compare energy usage between buildings, and better identify opportunities to cut energy waste. The Town is currently engaging the required steps to attain Advanced Benchmarking status.
- LED Street Lights (1 action): By replacing conventional streetlights with energy efficient LED technology, communities can reduce street light energy use by as much as 65 percent, generating cost savings and emission reductions. In addition, streetlight projects can contribute to creating a well-lit, safer, and more attractive community. LED street lights last up to 100,000 hours and require much less maintenance than conventional ones. Over several months in 2021, the Town replaced 1,100 of our cobra head streetlights with LEDs across 146 streets within the Town limits.
- Unified Solar Permit (1 action): The Unified Solar Permit is a standardized permit application designed to streamline the approval process for installing solar in the community. The standardized permit cuts costs by creating a uniform permitting process in municipalities across the State. In July 2020, Seneca Falls passed a Unified Solar Permit Resolution.
To learn more about the CEC Program, see the NYSERDA CEC Website, which includes a scorecard listing all the New York Clean Energy Communities and their current certification status. Most of the High Impact Actions included in the Clean Energy Communities program also satisfy the requirements of one or more certification action under the Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program.