TCCPI Goes to Work
433 N. Aurora Street
For Immediate Release Contact: Peter Bardaglio
July 10, 2009 (607) 229-6183
Climate Protection Initiative Joins in Summer Energy Efficiency Rollout
The Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI), launched in June 2008, has joined with coalition partners Tompkins County Workforce Investment Board, Tompkins Community Action, Performance Systems Development, LLC, Park Foundation, and Cornell Cooperative Extension – Tompkins County to undertake a summer youth energy efficiency campaign focusing on rural communities in the county.
Thanks to federal economic stimulus funding channeled through the Tompkins County Workforce Investment Board, Tompkins Community Action (TCAction) has hired 100 youth ages 14 to 24 for the summer, 50 of whom will be involved in energy work. Ten will be learning about energy audit and energy efficiency repairs by working on crews; the other 40 will be going door-to-door, distributing educational materials on energy savings in the home and available state and federal incentives for energy efficiency upgrades.
In addition, the youth will seek to register each household visited with Green Energy COMPASS, a service developed by Performance Systems Development (PSD) to track and benchmark residential energy performance and carbon emissions. This service will provide residents with an analysis of their utility bills, measure their own progress on reducing usage, and gauge their progress against a cohort made up of their neighbors who have also signed up to participate. PSD, besides providing the usage of COMPASS, is also offering training on how to make the most of the service.
According to Stacey Murphy, TCAction’s director of energy services, the youth will focus on low-income households in about 16 neighborhoods in rural areas of Tompkins County. “We hope to meet people where they are, engage them in some basic steps they can make to save energy and money, and then move them in a more comprehensive direction,” says Murphy.
Funding from TCCPI and the Park Foundation has made it possible for the Cornell Cooperative Extension – Tompkins County (CCE) to hire 12 Cornell University and Ithaca College students to help produce materials for the door-to-door awareness campaign and to provide maps to help TCAction identify the neighborhoods to be canvassed.
As part of the effort to stimulate interest in energy efficiency, CCE is working with the college students to launch a leadership education program aimed at engaging community leaders to carry out energy efficiency improvements in their homes. In some cases, they are offering these leaders a utility bill analysis and abbreviated home energy assessment, including some initial predictions of potential savings. The students will then produce short videos in which these leaders talk about the improvements they have made and their impact on energy bills.
“We believe these videos will be a powerful tool for peer-to-peer marketing this summer and beyond, helping to persuade residents that it makes financial and environmental sense to upgrade their homes,” says Ken Schlather, executive director of CCE.
TCCPI seeks to leverage the climate action commitments made by Cornell University, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins County, and the City of Ithaca to mobilize a countywide energy efficiency effort focused primarily on the retrofitting of buildings. The initiative has brought together a wide range of community partners from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Current partners include:
Alternatives Federal Credit Union
Catholic Charities – Tompkins and Tioga
Cornell Cooperative Extension T
Paleontological Research Institute/Museum of the Earth
Performance Systems Development, LLC
Tompkins Community Action
Tompkins County Council of Governments
Travis & Travis/Ithaca Rentals and Renovations
“We hope to establish a model of cross-sector collaboration for other communities around the country who are interested in energy efficiency and climate protection,” says Peter Bardaglio, coordinator of TCCPI and senior fellow at Second Nature, which oversees the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).
Cornell University, Ithaca College, and
Driving the climate protection effort locally is the target established by the Tompkins County Legislature in December 2008 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2050, cutting two percent of 2008 base year emissions per year for the next 40 years. The action steps necessary to achieve this goal are outlined in the Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Element, which was developed by the Tompkins County Planning Office under the direction of Ed Marx, Commissioner of Planning.
Learn more about the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative at: www.tccpi.org.