Newsletter, March 2015
Sustainable Westchester is off and running, with achievements, meetings, events, collaborations and awards happening on a daily basis. One of the major strengths of your organization is the base of concerned and informed volunteers from around the county. Please help us to extend that reach by sharing this newsletter with your neighbors and friends, and signing up here for messages that will pertain to your particular area of interest.
COMMUNITY CHOICE AGGREGATION – FREE WEBINAR TODAY EXPLAINS IT ALL!
In late February the Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the very first community choice aggregation (CCA) pilot program in New York State and designated Sustainable Westchester as the group that will implement it. Member municipalities can opt into the program through which Sustainable Westchester is empowered to negotiate for lower rates with Con Edison and NYSEG on behalf of local residents and small businesses. Sound interesting? We think so! Find out more at a free webinar being held Tuesday, March 10, 4-5 pm. To register, go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2288568946933832450
INAUGURAL BOARD HITS THE GROUND RUNNING
At the first meeting of the members of Sustainable Westchester on December 2, the main order of business was to elect a full Board of Directors. They are a powerhouse group of knowledgeable individuals who share a passion for working together on sustainability issues. Please welcome our Inaugural Board:
Noam Bramson, Mayor, City of New Rochelle
Chris Burdick, Supervisor. Town of Bedford
Dan Chorost, Partner, Sive, Paget & Riesel
Sara Goddard, Chair, Rye Sustainability Committee
Michael Gordon, CEO, Joulet Assets, Inc.
Peter McCartt, Chair, Eastchester Environmental Committee
Herb Oringel, Chair, Northern Westchester Energy Action Coalition
Camilo Patrignani, CEO, Greenwood Energy
Tom Roach, Mayor, City of White Plains
Laura Rossi, Senior Program Officer, Westchester Community Foundation
Nancy Seligson, Supervisor, Town of Mamaroneck
Mike Spano, Mayor, City of Yonkers
In return, the Board welcomes your involvement and ideas about the future of this very new organization! Send your thoughts to GoGreen@SustainableWestchester.org
Green Award to be Presented to Sustainable Westchester All those who care about the formation of Sustainable Westchester can take pride in having our County-wide collaboration recognized with the Green Award, given by the Morris Media Group. The award will be presented on Thursday evening, March 12, at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT., and we hope to see you there! To reserve tickets, go to www.townvibe.com/greenevent.
MUNICIPAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
Members, please save the date of Tuesday, March 31st at 2pm for a meeting of all the municipalities that belong to Sustainable Westchester -- location to be announced. Members include every community in Westchester County except three that are still considering joining. Does anyone know of another organization in recent history that could claim over 90% of all Westchester’s cities, towns and villages as members? Take a look at this map and be glad that creative collaboration is alive and well in our county!
PROJECTS & COMMITTEES
The Sustainable Westchester Committees are the strength and backbone of this innovative organization. With the Committees, there is reach into all of the member municipalities creating a dialogue where we can share ideas and best practices with all 900K residents. Please help us help you by getting in touch with the chairs of the committee or committees that interest you.
In the last 5 years SW, and its predecessors NWEAC and SWEAC, have promoted energy efficiency steps to save money and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. More recently, with the advent of solar renewable energy it has been easier to reduce greenhouse gases and energy costs. We have implemented solar energy solutions for residents (Solarize), businesses (Commercial Energize) and soon municipally-owned buildings and property (Municipal Solar Buyers Group). The cumulative effect of these programs will help us lower our carbon footprint while creating jobs and reducing air pollution. To find out more about all of the exciting things going on with the Energy Committee click here. Please join by clicking here.
Co-chair - Jean Hamerman, Jean.Hamerman@gmail.com
Co-chair & Board Liaison – Mike Gordon, MGordon@JouleAssets.com
Solarize Westchester has launched! The following four inaugural Solarize campaigns are underway: Bedford-Mt. Kisco, Cortlandt-Croton, Larchmont-Mamaroneck and Ossining-Briarcliff. These community-based campaigns are designed to dramatically increase the amount of residential and small commercial PV installed in participating municipalities by making it easier and more affordable to install solar. Interested in learning how your community can participate in the second round of Solarize campaigns? Sign up here for updates about this opportunity.
Solarize Westchester is also helping municipalities adopt streamlined solar permitting and will help them reduce zoning barriers. At this time, seven local jurisdictions have adopted a solar-specific permit application: Towns of Bedford, Cortlandt, Mamaroneck and Somers, Cities of White Plains and Yonkers, Village of Croton-on-Hudson. With the surge in solar applications, more Westchester jurisdictions are reviewing the potential they have for adopting a streamlined, solar-specific permit. More information about this aspect of the project is available here.
MUNICIPAL SOLAR BUYERS GROUP
The goal of the Municipal Solar Buyers Group (MSBG) is to create electricity cost savings through aggregated deployment of solar energy on municipal sites belonging to Sustainable Westchester members. Through a competitive process, finance and energy experts were selected to advise and represent Sustainable Westchester and its members in forming the MSBG. These Advisors have made significant progress. 17 Westchester municipalities have joined the MSBG. With the assistance of the Advisors, they have identified over 70 promising municipal solar projects, representing 8-10 megawatts of new solar capacity. This new solar capacity offers a critical mass that we expect to be attractive to solar developers and financing sources, which will in turn secure the best possible solar electricity pricing for all MSBG members. Please contact:
Herb Oringel, email@example.com
Vincent Salvatore, Vincent.firstname.lastname@example.org
Trash. We can all make more conscious decisions about what we buy, what we throw away and how we recycle and re-purpose items. If you are interested in trash, come join SW's very active Materials Management Committee. Our two extremely busy subcommittees are focusing on ways to reduce our solid waste and increase recycling rates so we can lower our environmental impact. This committee has had several productive and well attended meetings already , please come to our next public meeting on April 9th at 7 pm at Greenburgh Town Hall to learn how you can get involved.
Co-chair – Jean Hamerman, email@example.com
Co-chair – Braeden Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-chair – Petra Kandus Petra.Kandus@gmail.com
Board Liaison – Sara Goddard, GoddardSW@gmail.com
TRANSPORTATION & LAND USE
The Transportation & Land Use Committee had a solid turnout for their first steering committee meeting on Saturday, February 28 in the White Plains Library. Participants identified a number of short and long-term objectives, the first of which is now set out on the committee page here. Experienced committee members have volunteered to participate in a "Complete Streets Team", making themselves available for local meetings and walk surveys, in order to share their experiences and bring back the news of local challenges and successes. This expanding, shared knowledge-base should help us to make the county-wide adoption of Complete Streets policies a reality. The T&LU committee is in the process of navigating through its collective rolodex to refresh its connections with major players in this space, having sat with the Westchester County Transportation Dept and Pace University Land Use Law Center so far. The former has provided great support to a number of member municipalities through its NYMTC-funded (NY Metropolitan Transportation Council) Complete Streets and Safe Routes to Schools workshops. Pace has been involved in a wide variety of NW/SWEAC programs, and there are several current active and potential collaborations.
Co-chair – Dan Welsh, Dan.Welsh@runbox.com
Co-chair & Board Liaison – Peter McCartt, PMcCartt@GreenEastchester.com
The Water Committee deals with all sorts of water issues, from conservation, to pollution, to storm water mitigation. They will be having their first meeting in the end of March where they will be identifying various issues and concerns around the county.
Co-chair – Nikki Coddington, email@example.com
Co-chair & Board Liaison – Nancy Seligson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Heavy snows, heat waves, and storms. Anticipated changes in our climate demand a coordinated response. SW's Resiliency Committee will work with state lawmakers, planners, and communities on flood mitigation, disaster preparedness and compliance with the 2014 Community Risk and Resiliency Act which requires government planners to consider the impact of storm damage and climate change when making building or rebuilding decisions. The goal of the Committee is to share best practices and ensure our communities are equipped to make informed and responsible choices to protect our environment and citizens. To join this committee in formation, please click here.
LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH
Please feel free to share this newsletter with friends and family, as well as those who are already involved in sustainability issues at the local level. Not on our mailing list yet? Click here to sign up!
And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and check our website www.sustainablewestchester.org frequently for the latest news and updates. We want to hear from you -- the power of the Sustainable Westchester concept is that we are all in this together!