Roadmap to an eco-friendly future

County’s Climate Action Plan in motion, greenhouse gas study completed

— Efforts to create a more energy efficient and sustainable community are moving forward as Schenectady County builds a Climate Action Plan.

County officials held a public workshop on Tuesday, March 6, at the Schenectady County Library Central Branch to share data from a greenhouse gas emissions inventory conducted by Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. Turnout wasn’t booming, with fewer than a dozen people in attendance. There is another meeting planned for a later date to reveal the proposed plan to residents and gather additional feedback.

“What we are really trying to do here is take local knowledge and integrate that into some expertise that we might have,” said Neil Veilleux, project consultant of Meister Consultants Group, “and really come up with a plan that is customized to meet the needs of Schenectady County going forward and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Schenectady County Environmental Advisory Committee has led efforts on the study, which is being done to help the Schenectady County Legislature with its Climate Smart Communities Pledge adopted in 2009. The Climate Action Plan is targeted for a May completion so NYSERDA funding for the study can be secured.

“A key component of this effort has been environmental conservation and making county government more environmentally efficient and friendly by reducing the county’s energy consumption and emissions,” said County Legislator Michael Petta, D-Schenectady. “County government is doing an excellent job at reducing our emissions, but there is still much to be done in our communities.”

Data collected on greenhouse gas emissions was from 2010 due to availability and to coincide with census information.

Schenectady County’s government operations created 9,681 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2010. Buildings and facilities accounted for the largest portion of emissions at 62 percent, with its vehicle fleet and employee commute nearly tied for second highest, at 17 percent and 16 percent, respectively. The remaining five percent came from solid waste, streetlights and outdoor lighting, and airport facilities.

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