Ancram has achieved Bronze Level certification as a Climate Smart Community!
Savings for Clean Heating and Cooling
Columbia County, in partnership with Heat Smart Capital Region, has launched a Clean Heating, Cooling, and Energy Efficiency Campaign to promote the purchase of heat pumps and the installation of energy efficient insulation, windows and doors. Learn more here.
In February of 2016, the Ancram Town Board resolved to be a Climate Smart Community, becoming part of a state-wide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate. The Climate Smart Community Task Force (CSCTF) was created by the Town to help it meet its commitments as a participant in this program, and, in general, to explore ways for the entire community to reduce its carbon footprint and improve its climate resiliency. After completing four high-impact actions, the town became a Clean Energy Community in January of 2018.
Climate Smart Communities and Clean Energy Communities are two separate state programs that work together and sometimes overlap.
Here’s who we are and some of the projects that we’ve undertaken:
Ancram Climate Smart Community Task Force Members
- Susan Arterian
- Doug Brenner
- Suzan Flamm
- Bonnie Hundt
- Madeleine Israel
- Jeff Mousseau
- Derek Porter
- Cathy Redlich
- Elspeth Strang
- Joe Brown & Colleen Lutz, co-chairs
CLEAN ENERGY COMMUNITY
Ancram is 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 10 High Impact Actions that save energy and money, and contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, to achieve the Clean Energy Community designation.
Communities that complete high impact actions become eligible for grant funding. The Town of Ancram was designated as a Clean Energy Community (CEC) in 2018. The Town exceeded the minimum CEC requirement by completing seven high impact actions to date, including:
Adoption of Uniform Solar Permitting Process – Designed to streamline and expedite the approval process for installing solar in a community, the standardized permit is expected to cut costs as well as save time and resources by decreasing the overall installation time.
Energy Code Enforcement Training for building inspectors – The Energy Code—a minimum building standard for energy efficiency—is applicable to new construction and renovation of commercial and residential buildings. Completing the training module gives communities opportunities for significant energy savings through improved energy code compliance.
Benchmarking of energy use at town hall – adopted a policy that requires annual reporting of energy used in buildings.
Clean energy upgrades
- Replacement of propane fueled HVAC system with air source heat pumps in town hall
- Conversion of lights in town hall and garage to LED bulbs
- Conversion of all town streetlights to high-efficiency LED bulbs
- Installed an electric vehicle (EV) charging station at Town Hall
Provided opportunities and education to Ancram residents:
LED Lightbulb Giveaway
As one of its first initiatives, Climate Smart Task Force was awarded a $80,000 grant from NYSERDA to help the town move closer to its goals. A portion of that funding was used in 2019 to distribute free LED bulbs to all interested residents. Quality LED lightbulbs use 75 percent less energy, and last longer – up to 25 times as long as standard bulbs.
Residents of Ancram can join a local solar farm, support renewable energy in our community, and enjoy 10% savings on electric costs with no installation or upfront payment required. The Solarize Ancram campaign, in partnership with Solstice, is available to all Central Hudson customers in Ancram. Contact Solstice for more details. (866) 826-1997 or Solstice.
Composting Educational Campaign
Offered in conjunction with the Columbia County composting program.
CLIMATE SMART COMMUNITY
Ancram is 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 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, and can access technical support and funding opportunities to reach their certification goals. The Town of Ancram took the CSC pledge in 2016 and has achieved Bronze level certification, by pursuing actions that reduce emissions and increase resilience. Many of Ancram’s high impact actions from the Clean Energy Community program also earned points in the CSC program. Additional Ancram achievements related to CSC certification include:
Municipal Greenhouse Gas Inventory
A greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory is one of the first and most important steps in the local climate action process. Ancram’s GHG inventory is an accounting, analysis, and report of the GHG emissions resulting from the day-to-day operations of the town. It summarizes the GHG emissions from the consumption of energy and materials in government buildings, from municipal vehicle fleets, from government-owned outdoor lighting, and from other sources. GHG inventories provide the data needed to set realistic goals and track progress toward reducing operating costs, energy use, and emissions. Ancram completed its GHG inventory in 2022 with the help of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission.
Climate Smart Resiliency Planning
A tool developed as part of the NYS Climate Smart Communities program evaluates a community’s policies and planning documents to help identify opportunities to address vulnerabilities to flooding and other climate change related hazards. The Town completed this tool in 2021 with assistance from Cornell Cooperative Extension.
County Hazard Mitigation Plan
A Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) is intended to anticipate and plan for natural hazards that put people and property at risk. Completed at the county level, the HMP is a multi-jurisdictional plan that includes all of the towns, villages and cities in a county. The HMP is updated every five years as required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is a requirement to achieve eligibility for federal disaster assistance.
Road-Stream Crossing Management Plan
The bridges and culverts that bring our roads over streams may not have the capacity to handle increasing storm water from more intense rainfall. Undersized culverts can also pose problems for the movement of fish and other aquatic animals. The Town of Ancram partnered with the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program and Trout Unlimited to assess road-stream crossings and create a management plan to address problem areas. The management plan was completed in 2019.
A municipality’s comprehensive plan provides a vision for the future of the community and recommends land use policies to achieve that vision. The CSC program requires that comprehensive plans include consideration of sustainability. The Town of Ancram adopted the current comprehensive plan in 2019.
This web content was created through a partnership between Resilience Communications & Consulting, LLC and Cornell University Water Resources Institute, with funding from the Environmental Protection Fund through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program. Visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Information Resources page for more information.