Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative
The TCCPI Newsletter

June/July 2011

In This Issue
Featured Article
NY State Passes On-Bill Financing: What It Means
TCCPI Presents at Clean Energy Summit in DC
Quick Links

Our Supporters
Featured Article
Bluebird in Summer




Welcome to the June/July 2011 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, a monthly update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).

Cayuga Lake


TCCPI is a multisector collaboration seeking to leverage the climate action commitments made by Cornell University, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins County, the City of Ithaca, and the Town of Ithaca to mobilize a countywide energy efficiency effort and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. Launched in June 2008 and generously supported by the Park Foundation, TCCPI is a project of Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).


We are committed to helping Tompkins County achieve a dynamic economy, healthy environment, and resilient community through a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. 

NY State Passes On-Bill Financing: What It Means
Attic Retrofit
Adding insulation to the attic is a key to improved energy efficiency in the home.

New York took a huge step forward in its effort to create green jobs and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions last month when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law on-bill financing, which provides crucial underpinning for the celebrated Green Jobs-Green NY (GJ-GNY) legislation of 2009. GJ-GNY provides significant incentives for energy upgrades for buildings, creates green jobs, and reduces the state's greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, it seeks to make 1 million buildings and homes more energy efficient and generate 60,000 green job years.


The original GJ-GNY program used funding from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Inventory (RGGI) to establish a loan fund to aid homeowners and businesses in retrofitting and weatherizing their homes or workplaces at no cost to the state. The financing mechanism of the original GJ-GNY fell short, however, because financing for retrofits and weatherization was still largely unavailable for many New Yorkers whose income was not low enough to qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program but not high enough for home and small business owners to afford financing the projects on their own.


The new on-bill financing law will go into effect next May, dramatically expanding the impact of GJ-GNY. On-bill financing aims to make building retrofits more feasible for middle-income home and small business owners by providing access to loan funds up front; payments will be made automatically through their utility bills using the savings generated by reduced energy use. The new law will also allow the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to raise a projected $5 billion worth of private investment in the state's energy economy. The increased demand for retrofits set in motion by on-bill financing is projected to create 14,000 full-time green jobs, providing much needed stimulus to the local economies of communities hard hit by the recession.


With the adoption of the on-bill financing law, the yearly rate of BPI-certified retrofits in Tompkins County will probably climb from about 350 to 550 retrofits per year, with an additional 200 added on every year thereafter. Every 10 retrofits is expected to result in one full-time green job, meaning that every year 20 new full-time green jobs should be added in Tompkins County. In these times of environmental and economic challenges, this new law is truly a win-win for all of us.


Hannah Foster

TCCPI Summer Intern

Next TCCPI Meeting:

Friday, July 29, 2011

9 to 11 am

Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce

904 East Shore Drive

Ithaca, NY 14850

TCCPI Presents at Clean Energy Leadership Summit in DC
Climate Communities, a national coalition of over 1,000 local government leaders committed to climate protection, invited TCCPI to present at its 2011 Local Clean Energy Leadership Summit on June 15-17 in Washington, D.C.

Ed Marx, Tompkins County commissioner of planning and community sustainability, Ken Schlather, executive director of Tompkins County Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Peter Bardaglio, coordinator of TCCPI, discussed "The Power of Partnerships," outlining how local government, business, education, and nonprofit leaders have come together in Tompkins County to collaborate on climate and clean energy issues.
Gina McCarthy
Gina McCarthy, EPA assistant administrator, delivered a rousing keynote address at the summit.

Among the highlights of the summit was the keynote address delivered by Gina McCarthy, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assistant administrator. McCarthy oversees the enforcement of the Clean Air Act and in that capacity leads the effort to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Making clear her commitment to an approach based on the best scientific evidence, she provided an inspiring example of the difference the right kind of leadership can make.

The day before, U.S. Senate staff briefed summit participants on Capitol Hill, discussing the challenges and opportunities regarding environment and energy legislation currently under debate. Participants then broke into regional teams and visited the offices of their respective senators and representatives, underscoring the need for additional federal resources at the local level to fight climate change and implement clean energy measures. The Tompkins County delegation met with Congressman Maurice Hinchey and his deputy chief of staff, Mike Iger, as well as staff in the offices of Congressman Richard Hanna, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.
One last thing: 

Without the support of the Park Foundation, TCCPI would not exist. We are grateful, then, that on July 1 the foundation renewed the second year of a two-year grant. From the very beginning of TCCPI in 2008, the Park Foundation not only has provided critical financial resources but also much appreciated encouragement and guidance. It's all too easy to take for granted the presence of the foundation because it's in our own backyard. Whenever I'm talking with people at conferences and other out-of-town meetings, however, and see the expression on their faces as I tell them about Park Foundation's unstinting support of TCCPI and other local sustainability efforts, I'm reminded of how fortunate we are to have such a progressive, mission-driven foundation in our community. I want to take this opportunity to express my personal gratitude for the Park Foundation and its leadership.

Welcome to the newest members of TCCPI: Taitem Engineering, Enfield Energy, LLC, and Franziska Racker Centers, a nonprofit that offers a range of services for people with disabilities. If you are interested in becoming a member of TCCPI, please contact us and we'll be happy to talk with you in more detail about our mission, goals, and activities.




Peter Bardaglio

Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative