Last week, the village of Champlain board of trustees signed off on two items to help make the village a Clean Energy Community.
Photo by Teah Dowling
CHAMPLAIN — The village is working with the state to be designated as a Clean Energy Community.
This initiative will give them the state’s stamp as being environmentally friendly and make them eligible for up to $100,000 in grant funding for future clean energy projects.
If the funding becomes an option, the board can address energy efficiency problems in the village, said Mayor Greg Martin, that are “astounding and scary.”
Village Clerk and Treasurer Juanita Munoz said the village paid a little over $60,000 in electricity bills last year — in which over 40 percent of expenses came from the wastewater treatment plant.
Martin said the grant funding, if awarded, would go toward making the wastewater treatment plant, village office and village garage more energy efficient by upgrading the aging infrastructure.
The village must complete four out of 10 of the NYSERDA-listed actions to be eligible for the grant funding.
Two items were checked off that list last week during the board of trustees meeting.
The board agreed for three village officials to be trained on best practices in energy code enforcement.
According to NYSERDA, buildings consume roughly 60 percent of New York’s energy. This training will teach officials about the state’s energy code to ensure all new construction projects are as energy efficient as possible.
Village officials passed a resolution to adopt a state unified solar permit to reduce costs and delays for individual solar projects in the area.
Trustee Janet McFetridge said this policy would make installing solar panels easier for residents who didn’t participate local “solarize” campaigns, such as Solarize the Adirondack Coast Campaign — an initiative put on by the town of Plattsburgh last year to offer all residents and business owners of Clinton County and northern Essex County an opportunity to go solar.
CHECKING OFF THE LIST
The village needs to check off two more items on NYSERDA’s list to be eligible for future funding.
Martin said the village is leaning toward installing a vehicle charging station in the shopping plaza on Route 11 to give residents and visitors with electric cars an extra charging space.
The closest one is located at the Rouses Point village office on Lake Street.
The second option the village is looking into, Martin said, is adopting a policy to report the energy use of municipal buildings on an annual basis.
Both of these tasks won’t be completed until sometime this summer or fall, said Martin. Potential costs of the charging station will be identified in that time frame.
Martin said the village is focusing on these two items because they are “the easiest and quickest to accomplish.”
Upon successful completion, the village will be eligible to apply for NYSERDA grants for clean energy projects.
The first goal is to address energy efficiency problems in the village, said Martin.
Switching the street lights over to LED light fixtures is another goal, said Martin.
“We’re all trying to be environmentally conscious now,” he said. “This program is a great way to start.”
JOIN THE MOVEMENT
“It’s a smart way to save money for the village and promote clean energy at the same time,” McFetridge said.
The Clean Energy Communities Program is a NYSERDA-sponsored initiative that launched last August to get New York communities to implement clean energy actions and help improve the environment.
Funding from this state program is set aside to provide grants to 18 communities in the North Country Region, said NYSERDA Communications Manager Tricia King via email. Four of those grants are for larger communities with a population over 40,000 and 14 grants are for smaller communities.
All these grants are still available, said King.
“Communities that invest in clean energy are saving money, creating good local jobs and improving the environment,” she said via email. “This incentive is an opportunity for North Country towns, villages, cities or counties to take advantage of free technical assistance and grants with no local cost share.”
To become a Clean Energy Community, contact the Adirondack North Country Association Communities Outreach Coordinator Jamie Rogers at email@example.com. To learn more about this program, contact NYSERDA at firstname.lastname@example.org.