The White Plains Examiner

White Plains Earns Clean Energy Community Designation

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White Plains has been designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy locally.

Announced by Gov. Cuomo in August, the $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative supports local government leaders across the State to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities. Clean Energy Communities advances the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy by demonstrating the importance of communities in helping New York reach its Clean Energy Standard of 50 percent of the state’s electricity coming from renewable energy resources by 2030.

The City of White Plains received the designation for completing 4 of 10 high-impact clean energy actions identified by NYSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative. In addition, the designation gives the City of White Plains an opportunity to apply for up to $250,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.

There were only two awards given out in the Mid-Hudson Region for large municipalities at the $250,000 level: Ulster County and the City of White Plains.

Mayor Tom Roach said, “This designation is an affirmation of our commitment to Going Green by expanding our clean energy portfolio and becoming more energy efficient.”

To earn the Clean Energy Community designation, the City of White Plains completed the following high-impact clean energy actions:

  • Energy Code Enforcement Training. The Energy Code is a minimum building standard for energy efficiency, applicable to new construction and renovation of commercial and residential buildings in New York State. Since buildings represent roughly 60% of New York’s total energy consumption, there is a significant opportunity for energy savings through improved Energy Code compliance. This training focuses on what energy code enforcement officials need to know about the Energy Code in the context of its practical application on active construction projects.

Over the past six months all of our Code Enforcement Officers that perform building plan review as well as Code Enforcement Officers that perform field inspections had in-office and on-site peer review sessions with a NYSERDA energy consultant. These sessions focused on identifying atypical design and installation practices that require special attention when performing energy code compliance plan review and field inspections.

  • Unified Solar Permit. The Unified Solar Permit is a standardized permit application designed to streamline the approval process for installing solar power systems in the community. The standardized permit is cost effective and efficient for both municipalities and customers. White Plains implemented the Unified Solar Permit in January 2014.

The City of White Plains has issued 180 solar power system installation permits since the implementation of the Unified Solar Permit. We have 237 systems in place as of this year.

  • Clean Fleets. Clean fleets describes a local government’s investment in alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure while increasing opportunities for constituents to access electric vehicle charging stations. Clean vehicles reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants that cause smog and acid rain.

The City of White Plains currently offers twenty publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, the most in Westchester County. The EV charging stations are located in parking structures and lots throughout the City. White Plains has also begun to transition its fleet to electric and alternate fuel vehicles. 20% of the City’s fleet, approximately 65 vehicles, currently utilizes alternate fuels. This includes Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Hybrids, and E-85 Ethanol. The City has 5 electric cars now and one more on order. Going forward, as cars reach the end of their useful life, they will be replaced with electric cars.

  • Energize NY Finance. Energize NY Finance, also known as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing, is a program adopted by an eligible local government that enables commercially-owned buildings in NYS to secure funds to tackle significant energy upgrades and renewable energy projects.

The City of White Plains is a municipal member of the Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC), through which this financing is available.

In addition, White Plains is in the process of completing three additional high-impact clean energy actions:

LED Street Lights. The City is now in the process of replacing all of its streetlights with energy efficient LED fixtures.

Community Choice Aggregation. The City of White Plains is a member of the Community Choice Aggregation program, also known as Westchester Power. This is a community-based energy purchasing program whose mission is to give Westchester County consumers viable energy choices with stable future prices, more access to clean power and opportunities to have sustainable energy systems and programs. Clean Energy Upgrades. The City has already implemented a number of energy efficiency projects in its municipal buildings and facilities by replacing outdated equipment with new smart and efficient technology. Recent projects include new energy efficient boilers in the Library and a new energy efficient compressor at Ebersole Ice Rink.

The City of White Plains will submit an application to NYSERDA for the $250,000 in funding within the next few months. It is anticipated that the City will use the funds in the following projects:

  • White Plains Microgrid. The City of White Plains and Hitachi Microgrids completed Stage 1 of the NY Prize Feasibility Assessment for the White Plains Community Microgrid, funded by NYSERDA. The NY Prize feasibility assessment indicates that the White Plains Community Microgrid is both technically and economically viable. In addition to protecting the city’s ability to respond to emergencies, the microgrid will provide direct benefit to a number of particularly vulnerable populations within White Plains, all while lowering costs and the carbon footprint of microgrid customers. Clean Energy Communities funds will be used to support the City in completing the next steps of the project, which include a detailed design phase.
  • LED Lighting for all City of White Plains Parks. Replacement of 400 lights in all city parks.
  • LED Lighting in select City of White Plains Parking Garage(s). Replacement of lighting in each of the city garages is desired. Resources from this award will be used to offset some of the costs and help move the project forward.

As a grant recipient the City will be required to include public education about each of the initiatives as it moves forward.

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