Climate Smart Communities (https://climatesmart.ny.gov/) is a New York State program that helps local governments take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate. By participating in Climate Smart Communities, New Lisbon is increasing our resilience to severe weather events, conserving energy use, and planning for future generations of residents. New Lisbon is a member of the Otsego County Climate Smart Institute https://occainfo.org/?s=Climate+Smart+Institute and the Clean Energy Community program https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/clean-energy-communities.
Our goal is for New Lisbon to become a Bronze Certified Community.
The Town Resolution
On February 13, 2019 the Town of New Lisbon adopted the New York State Climate Smart Communities pledge. The town is working towards a Bronze Certification. This pledge contained the following ten elements that the town is working toward implementing in the day to day town activities as well as getting the information out to the residents on the town’s Facebook page, website and at community gatherings.
- Build a climate-smart community.
- Inventory emissions, set goals and plan for climate action.
- Decrease energy use.
- Shift to clean, renewable energy.
- Use climate-smart materials management.
- implement climate-smart land use.
- enhance community resilience to climate change.
- Support a green innovation economy.
- Inform and inspire the public.
- Engage in an evolving process of climate change.
The town resolution is linked here.
Actions the committee has completed
To qualify to be a Bronze certified Climate Smart Community member a series of actions must be completed. Here is a list of of the actions the town has completed to date.
Government Operations Greenhouse Gas Inventory:
A greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory is one of the first and most important steps in the local climate action process. A local government operations GHG inventory is an accounting, analysis, and report of the GHG emissions resulting from the day-to-day operations of a village, town, city, or county. 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. The report is linked below.
Government Operations Climate Action Plan:
A climate action plan (CAP) is a strategy document that sets goals and outlines a set of initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Using a GHG emissions inventory as the foundation, a CAP defines GHG reduction targets and provides a framework for achieving those targets. The CAP identifies priority actions and facilitates coordination across government departments. In addition, the CAP supports effective action over time by establishing methods for assessing progress and adjusting the local strategy if GHG targets are surpassed or not fulfilled. By developing such a plan for their own operations, local governments take leadership roles and provide their communities with examples that help to inspire community-wide action. The town report for 2021 is linked below.
Natural Resource Inventory:
A natural resources inventory (NRI) is a document that inventories the natural resources of an area, both physical (e.g., geology) and biological (e.g., forests), and provides a foundation for municipal land-use and conservation planning. Communities can use their NRIs to identify priorities and determine appropriate strategies for protecting important natural features and the vital services they provide. A complete and up‐to‐date inventory can be helpful for communities updating municipal plans, developing ordinances or overlay zones, and reviewing development projects, as well as a tool for county or regional planning and project assessment. Maintaining the integrity and ecological health of natural areas is a key part of preventing the release of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that is associated with development. In addition, certain natural, undeveloped areas serve as a buffer against some types of extreme weather that are increasing with climate change; for example, wetlands often have the capacity to absorb floodwaters and, as a result, they help prevent flood damage to infrastructure in developed areas. The report is linked below.
Infrastructure for Biking and Walking
Biking and walking are low-cost and low-carbon transportation options that help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, increase equity, improve public health, and enhance the sustainability of communities. Biking and walking are often referred to as “active transportation”, meaning that people are using mostly self-propelled, human-powered modes of transportation, rather than cars or other types of motorized vehicles. Local governments can take a leadership role in increasing active transportation in their communities through planning initiatives and through installing infrastructure like sidewalks, paths, bike lanes, and way-finding signage. To learn more about the bike trail in New Lisbon see link below.
Watershed Plan for Water Quality
This Climate Smart Communities (CSC) action can be implemented by creating (or updating) a watershed characterization and/or a watershed plan focused on the quality of water resources within the community. The Butternut Creek Watershed plan is listed below.
Annual Progress Report
Local climate action is an evolving process, which begins with an initial commitment, as part of Pledge Element 1, and continues with planning, implementation, and reporting. A regular reporting process helps to highlight progress and provides the opportunity to inform and engage the public and key stakeholders, while also identifying problems and opportunities to adapt existing approaches. During the implementation process, local governments must review progress to date and adjust implementation plans as necessary. New Lisbon’s Climate Action report for 2021 is linked below.
LED Street Lights:
Advanced street light technology such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can reduce street light energy use by as much as 70 percent. Efficient street lights will save money and energy, also reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with electricity consumption. Installation of efficient street lights is also a demonstration of the local government’s commitment to resource conservation that can be seen by the community it serves. New Lisbon switched to LED streetlights in June 2020 and the energy usage by the town lighting district (Garrattsville) was reduced by 34% in the first half year alone.
Reduce GHGs From Government Vehicles:
Government-owned vehicles are often a large source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in most government operations GHG inventories. Having a low-emission, fuel-efficient fleet reduces GHG emissions, saves taxpayer money, and improve air quality in the community. In addition, when local governments make measurable reductions in GHG emissions that are directly under their control, they demonstrate leadership and take responsibility for the emissions that cause climate change. New Lisbon has reduced the total number of vehicles in the Highway Department from 10 in 2018 to 7 in 2022 and has replaced two of the older plow trucks with newer more efficient vehicles. A report showing the GHG reduction can be found below.
It is important for local governments to have complete, accurate information about the vehicles they own and operate. Such information provides a basis for making informed choices about municipal fleet management. By creating a fleet inventory and updating it on a regular basis, local governments can identify, for example, which vehicles are the least fuel-efficient and develop a plan to replace them with vehicles that serve the same function but are more efficient. The difference between 25 miles per gallon and 20 miles per gallon can amount to the prevention of 10 tons of carbon dioxide over a vehicle’s lifetime, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The town completes an inventory each year providing accurate information on the town’s fleet and energy usage.
Other actions the committee has completed:
Fleet Efficiency Policy
Climate-resilient Hazard Mitigation Plan
Recycling in Government Buildings
Renewable Energy Feasibility Study
Local Forestry Program/Stewardship Program with Texas Schoolhouse State Forest.
Task Force and Sub-committee Members
- Nancy Martin-Mathewson (town resident), Chairperson, Climate Smart Communities Task Force, Town of New Lisbon; Town Councilperson, Town of New Lisbon; Proprietor, Morningstar Metalworks
- Alyx Braunius (town resident), Proprietor and Instructor, Healthy Living Holistic Coaching & Yoga; Administrative Assistant, SUNY Oneonta
- John Braunius (town resident), Director, Butternut Valley Alliance, Inc.; Carpenter, Redpoint Builders
- Edward T. Lentz (town resident), New Lisbon Town Supervisor; Chair, Butternut Valley Alliance, Inc.; Director/Treasurer, Otsego County Soil & Water District; Committee member, Otsego County Democratic Committee
- Vicky M. Lentz, Ph.D. (town resident), Associate Professor, Biology and Department Chair, SUNY Oneonta; Director, Otsego County Conservation Association
- Florence Loomis (town resident), Town Councilperson, Town of New Lisbon; Director, Butternut Valley Alliance, Inc.; Executive Board, Community Arts Network Oneonta; President, Susquehanna Valley Quilters, Inc.; Committee member, Otsego County Democratic Committee
- Julia Nadeau (town resident), Buyer, Towerstream, Corp.; Otsego County Foster Parent
- Thomas Riso (town resident), Land Use Enforcement Officer, Town of New Lisbon; Senior Vice President, Construction and Engineering, Helmsley Spear (retired).
Natural Resources Inventory Sub-committee
- Vicky M. Lentz (Chair), Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biology and Department Chair, SUNY Oneonta; Director, Otsego County Conservation Association
- Shannon Cesarski, B.S. Candidate, Biology and Geography, SUNY College at Oneonta
- Trevor Fuller, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Department Chair, Geography and Environmental Sustainability Department, SUNY College at Oneonta
- Danny Lapin, AICP, Revitalization Specialist 1, Office of Planning, Development & Community Infrastructure, New York State Department of State
Our task force meets four to six times a year. Meetings are open to the public.
Here are the minutes from recent CSC committee and sub committee meetings.
Interested in joining our Task Force?
Please contact the CSC Coordinator about the next meeting date and time.
Nancy Martin-Mathewson at 607-263-5784 or email@example.com
Or for more information about the committee and the work it is doing.
Join Climate Smart New Lisbon on Facebook and read current articles about GHG reduction, the climate and other important topics related to climate change. https://www.facebook.com/NewLisbonCSC
Resources for Residents
The links below will provide information on reducing your greenhouse gas emissions, the changing climate, the best practices for recycling and reusing, fuel economy in cars and how to live a greener lifestyle.
US Environmental Protection Agency Carbon Footprint Calculator
Ideas for reducing your greenhouse gas emissions:
When possible, walk or bike instead of driving
Bundle errands to reduce the amount of time spent driving
Choose the most fuel-efficient option when buying a vehicle
Practice driving habits that improve fuel economy
Drive a hybrid or electric vehicle when possible
Reduce or eliminate air travel and purchase carbon offsets to minimize impact of air travel emissions
US Department of Energy Fuel Economy Calculator
For information on recycling in Otsego County: Be sure to click on the tab “How do I get rid of” on that page.
Consumer Purchases & Waste Reduction
Buy locally-made products
Purchase products with low or no packaging and/or buy in bulk
Avoid single use plastics
Buy used items instead of new ones
Reduce or eliminate meat consumption
Compost food waste
Reuse and recycle
Composting information from Cornell Cooperative Extension
Living the Green Life, Be a Friend of the Environment, NY State DEC
Visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Information Resources page for more information on our changing climate.
Home Energy Efficiency
Heating and cooling
Caulk windows and doors, install gaskets and foam insulation on wall outlets & light plates
Use weather strip or rope caulk and install plastic sheeting on drafty windows
Use sweeps or weather-stripping on drafty doors
Install insulating window shades and lower them on hot summer days and cold winter nights
Install and use a programmable thermostat, turn down heat while sleeping or away, and keep air conditioning at 78 degrees or warmer
Use a fan instead of air conditioning to provide cooling at a lower cost
Regularly service your heating system (yearly for oil, about every 2 years for natural gas). Replace filters on warm air systems
Appliances & Lighting
Turn off appliances and lights when not in use
When purchasing new appliances, consider buying ENERGY STAR rated appliances (they are certified to be more energy efficient)
Install ENERGY STAR CFL or LED light bulbs
Use motion sensor lighting outdoors
Hang your clothes to dry instead of using the electric dryer
Use “smart power strips” that shut off power to electronic devices when not in use
Conserve hot water
Wash only full loads of laundry and in cold water whenever possible
Insulate hot water pipes and electric water heaters
Use high-efficiency showerheads and shower and faucet aerators
Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees (make sure to turn off the electricity before adjusting your water heater’s temperature)
Fix any water leaks