Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative
The TCCPI Newsletter


July-August 2016

In This Issue
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Featured Article: 
 City and Town of Ithaca to Study Green Building Policies


Welcome to the July-August 2016 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, an electronic update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).

Photo by Wrexie Bardaglio.

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 the Sustainable Markets Foundation.
 
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. 
Ithaca Establishes First 2030 District in New York
By Peter Bardaglio,Tompkins Weekly

At the end of June, 17 local building owners, community partners, and professional stakeholders came together to launch the first 2030 District in New York. In doing so, Ithaca joined the ranks of 12 other cities in the U.S. and Canada that are working toward the goal of cleaner and greener commercial buildings.
 
2030 Districts, initiated by the non-profit research organization Architecture 2030, are unique private and public partnerships bringing together property owners and managers to meet the energy and resource reduction targets of the 2030 Challenge for Planning. Through collaboration, leveraged financing, and shared resources, they benchmark, develop and implement creative strategies, and establish best practices and verification methods for measuring progress towards a common goal.
 
Thanks to the outstanding work of Sustainable Tompkins, EcoVillage at Ithaca, Local First Ithaca, our local governments, and many other organizations, Ithaca and Tompkins County have long been leaders in sustainability and climate action. The establishment of the Ithaca 2030 District, building on these efforts, places our community in the vanguard of a movement of private sector pioneers coming together to reduce energy use, water use, and transportation emissions. Ithaca joins Albuquerque, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Grand Rapids, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, Stamford, and Toronto as part of the 2030 Districts Network.
 
What are the goals of 2030?
 
The newly established Ithaca 2030 District will further strengthen our commitment to combat the effects of climate change and, at the same time, spur innovation in our downtown. The recently-implemented Energize NY Finance program, which offers financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in commercially-owned buildings, will help facilitate the building upgrades necessary to meet the goals of the 2030 District movement. These include the following:
 
Existing Buildings and Infrastructure Operations
  • 50% reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by 2030.
  • Energy Use: A minimum 10% reduction below the national average by 2015, with incremental targets reaching a 50% reduction by 2030.
  • Water Use: A minimum 10% reduction below the District average by 2015, with incremental targets reaching a 50% reduction by 2030.
  • Transportation CO2 Emissions: A minimum 10% reduction below the District average by 2015, with incremental targets reaching a 50% reduction by 2030.
New Buildings, Major Renovations and New Infrastructure
  • Immediate 50% reductions in water consumption and transportation emissions, with energy use in the design year reaching carbon neutrality by 2030.
  • Energy Use: An immediate 70% reduction below the national average, with incremental targets reaching carbon neutral by 2030.
  • Water Use: An immediate 50% reduction below the District average.
  • Transportation CO2 Emissions: An immediate 50% reduction below the District average.
Property owners and managers are voluntarily committing their properties to Ithaca 2030 District goals; they are not required to achieve the District goals through legislative mandates or as individuals. The Ithaca 2030 District network includes the following property owners and managers:
 
Alternatives Federal Credit Union
Cascadilla Oasis, LLC
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County
City of Ithaca
GreenStar
HOLT Architects
Ithaca Bakery
Purity Ice Cream
Taitem Engineering
Tompkins County
Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce
Travis Hyde Properties
Urban Core, LLC


The Ithaca 2030 District, with the support of these founding members, will be able to implement the national standards of the 2030 Districts Network and work with our utilities to meet measurable reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
 
For more information, including the community and professional stakeholders participating, visit www.2030districts.org/ithaca.

Next TCCPI Meeting:
Friday, September 30, 2016
9 to 11 am
Tompkins County Public Library
Borg Warner Room
101 E. Green St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
Back-to-School Shopping? Try Secondhand Stores for a Change
by Karim Beers, GYGB Coordinator

With back-to-school shopping in full swing, are you looking for a way to shrink your carbon footprint and save money at the same time? Check out the Second Hand Shopping Directory, the definitive online resource for buying used furniture, clothing, books and music, computers and electronics, sports and outdoor equipment, art and sewing materials, and antiques in Ithaca and Tompkins County.
  
This directory, featuring 40 local stores where you can buy, sell, trade, consign, or donate, was created to showcase the wealth of reuse, resale and thrift stores in Ithaca and Tompkins County. We found that most people had heard of some of the stores, but everybody was surprised by the number and variety of secondhand stores that we have available.
  
Buying used or secondhand is a healthy choice for your wallet as well as our local economy and community. Furthermore, purchasing secondhand items uses no additional natural resources and keeps material out of landfills. Because manufacturing new goods is very energy and pollution intensive. we can make a significant dent in our carbon footprint by shopping secondhand.

Each reuse store has unique inventory and finding what you're looking for is never a guarantee. The online directory, however, provides a tool for doing some research before you head out the door, helping you find the places that will have the most of what you're looking for.

A key to making sure that you have a successful secondhand outing is to shop off season. Don't wait for Christmas to look for Christmas decorations. Don't wait for summer to find neat patio decorations. At the same time, of course, make sure you are buying something you'll actually use in the future so you don't waste your money.
 
According to the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops, $200 billion dollars of revenue is being generated from reuse stores in the US. This money creates jobs, and contributes to maintaining a healthy local economy. Virtually all the dollars you spend stay local. In contrast, when you purchase something new, a lot of the money goes to manufacturing, shipping, advertising, much of which is located far from home. With reuse, that money you spend stays local, ending up in the pockets of the small business owners, their employees, and of course the people who sold or consigned the goods in the first place.


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Take a step to save money and energy!

 

 

 

 

Visit getyourgreenbacktompkins.org

  

 

 Climate Change, Mass Incarceration, and Race in the U.S. 
by Jane Whiting and Reed Steberger

It is a well-known fact that people of color are disproportionately jailed by the U.S. judiciary system. What is not as well known is the link between mass incarceration and climate change. In many states, prisoners are essentially forced to work for sub-minimum wages to manage environmental disasters such as forest fires, excess snow, and oil spills. 

With the growing number of extreme weather events, more and more states are turning to cheap 
prison labor as a way to save money. Perhaps the most dramatic example of the interplay between 
The Multicultural Resource Center will be sponsoring a Community Book Read in September featuring The New Jim Crow.
between mass incarceration and climate change is the use of prison labor to fight wildfires, which are becoming increasingly common in the West due to the historic drought in that region.

In recent years as many as half of all California firefighters have been drawn from the state's prison system. By using underpaid prison labor the state avoided more than $1 billion in costs in 2014. More often than not, these prisoners were put on the front lines, where the risk of injury or death was highest.

Because there is no labor union for prisoners, there is little that these people can do to improve their working conditions. The threat of longer prison sentences for lack of compliance is always lingering over their heads. 

Even though prison labor is used in many types of emergency situations, American prisons are held to low or non-existent standards when it comes to the safety of their prisoners during natural disasters such as high-risk heat waves and flooding. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, hundreds of prisoners endured four days in chest-high water before they were rescued. In 2012, four Texas prisoners died from heat-related causes in ten days. These kinds of environmental and human disasters will only become more frequent in the face of climate change.* 

This September, as part of a larger ongoing conversation about the current racial crisis in our country, the Multicultural Resource Center is putting on a Community Book Read featuring Michelle Alexander's critically acclaimed
The New Jim Crow. This eye-opening book explores the parallels between the Jim Crow era of legal segregation and today's mass incarceration system. 

Along with this Community Book Read, Kathy Russell and Jane Whiting will be facilitating a TCCPI/CSED/Fossil Free Tompkins book group to discuss the way our prison systems interact with climate change. The New Jim Crow Book Read Kickoff Event will be held on Monday, September 19th at the [email protected] from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. Every month from September to April, there will be a community event based around a theme from a chapter of Alexander's searing account. Additional information about book group meetup dates will be coming in September.

*For more details about exploited prison labor and climate change, see this compelling Prisons and Climate Infographic.
One Last Thing: Why a 2030 District in Ithaca?

The drought in the Finger Lakes this summer has been a stark reminder that climate change is already under way not just in some distant land but in our own backyard, That doesn't mean we should throw the towel in and concede defeat, however. On the contrary, we need to redouble our efforts to reduce our community's greenhouse gas emissions and stave off the worst that could happen.

One of the most effective ways to do fight climate change is to improve the energy and water performance of our buildings. The built environment -- commercial and municipal office buildings as well as multi-family housing -- is a large consumer of natural resources and generator of emissions. In fact, 75 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States is used just to operate buildings, and the building sector is responsible for 45 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions.
HOLT Architect's new offices -- the site of a former auto parts store -- are net zero energy.

The Ithaca 2030 District got its initial impetus from a 2013 visit by Ed Mazria, the founder and CEO of Architecture 2030, which issued the 2030 Challenge. Mr. Mazria was the keynote speaker at HOLT Architects' 50th anniversary celebration and he met with the members of the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI) while he was in town. TCCPI and HOLT began soon after to explore the potential of a 2030 District in Ithaca. With the support of its coalition members, establishing a 2030 District in Ithaca became an official project of TCCPI in 2014.
 
The Park Foundation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), through the Cleaner, Greener Communities program, have provided support to plan and begin building the Ithaca 2030 District. In addition, Cornell Cooperative Extension-Tompkins County, HOLT Architects, and Taitem Engineering have contributed significant in-kind gifts in the form of pro bono services.
 
Besides promoting crucial climate protection measures, the Ithaca 2030 District seeks to demonstrate that healthy and high performing buildings make good financial sense. District members will do this by bringing together diverse stakeholders, leveraging existing and developing new incentives and financing mechanisms, and creating and sharing joint resources. They will develop realistic, measurable, and innovative strategies to assist district property owners, managers, and tenants in meeting aggressive goals that keep properties and businesses competitive while operating buildings more efficiently, reducing costs, and reducing the environmental impacts of facility construction, operation, and maintenance.
 
The District builds on the TCCPI model to provide a non-competitive environment where building owners, community organizations, and professionals come together to share best practices and accelerate market transformation in Ithaca's built environment. These collaborative efforts will establish the Ithaca 2030 District as an example of a financially viable, sustainability focused, multi-sector driven effort that maximizes profitability and prosperity for all involved. 

Peter Bardaglio
TCCPI Coordinator
Upgrade Upstate

Visit upgradeupstate.org to get a no-cost or reduced-cost energy assessment. Learn which rebates, tax credits, and loans you qualify for to help pay for work. Check out how-to videos for low-cost/no-cost improvements and testimonial videos of Tompkins County residents who have made upgrades. Upgrade Upstate is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County.