City of Albany Announces Sustainable Spring

Mayor Jennings announced today the launch of Albany’s Sustainable Spring. Sustainable Spring is a series of sustainability initiatives and events to encourage more environmentally responsible and sustainable behaviors among Albany residents and business owners. "The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness among residents and businesses within Albany and to continue to demonstrate the City’s leadership in the region on environmental and sustainability initiatives" Jennings said.

Sustainable Spring will launch with an Earth Day press event on April 19th for the Albany Neighborhood Energy Challenge Kick-off and will include the launching of the Capital Region Sustainability Plan and Albany Green Business Program. Additional events throughout Sustainable Spring will consist of helping clean up Albany's neighborhoods, ensuring the proper disposal of household hazardous waste and educating the public on the environmental and health benefits of biking.

Mayor Announces Launch of Neighborhood Energy Challenge

Mayor Jennings announced today the launch of Albany’s Neighborhood Energy Challenge, the first official event of Albany’s Sustainable Spring campaign.

Mayor Jennings, along with other Albany residents are challenging each other to make their homes and neighborhoods more energy efficient. “The Energy Challenge is a great way to educate and engage Albany residents in opportunities to save on rising energy costs. I encourage all residents to take the first step with a comprehensive home energy assessment,” said Mayor Jennings.

Sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Energy and Sustainability, Albany 2030, the Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations and the Affordable Housing Partnership in partnership with New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Energy Challenge is a competition amongst Albany neighborhoods to complete comprehensive home energy assessments. The neighborhood with the highest percentage of participating homes will receive a neighborhood specific green enhancement provided by the City of Albany. The comprehensive home energy assessments are part of the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program, offered by NYSERDA.

“We applaud the City of Albany for its leadership in the areas of energy and sustainability. The Neighborhood Energy Challenge is a great way to engage residents in the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program” said Susan Cotner, Executive Director of the Affordable Housing Partnership.

“The City is proud to sponsor such an important event. It is important for Earth Day that we all look at ways we can change our behavior and live a more sustainable lifestyle. This challenge will show homeowners real ways they can make a difference for the environment and save money at the same time” Jennings said.

A comprehensive home energy assessment is:

  • A top-to-bottom look at the way your home uses energy
  • Performed by an expert Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® contractor certified by the Building Performance Institute
  • FREE for most New Yorkers
  • The gateway to qualifying for cash back incentives, low-interest financing and grants to help you afford improvements to your home’s energy efficiency

What homeowners will learn:

  • If important appliances such as your furnace and hot water heater are safe
  • Where air might leaking from your home
  • If your home is properly insulated
  • What repairs or replacements should be done to make your home more comfortable and help you save hundreds—or even more—on energy costs

For more information on Albany’s Neighborhood Energy Challenge visit www.GreenCapitalRegion.org.

Albany to Take Part in 2012 Earth Hour

Click to visit earthhour.com On Saturday March 31 at 8:30 PM, the City of Albany will join millions of people across the globe in switching off the lights for one hour – Earth Hour, the world’s largest public action for the environment. "By taking part in this global 'lights out' event the City of Albany is acknowledging our continued commitment to operational actions that benefit the planet in the year ahead," Mayor Jennings said. All city residents and businesses are invited and encouraged to join the City in turning out the lights and taking a stand against climate change.

From 8:30-9:30 pm on March 31st the City of Albany will turn off all non-essential lighting at municipal buildings and properties. Earth Hour began as a single-city initiative – in Sydney, Australia – in 2007 and has since grown into a global movement with hundreds of millions of people and thousands of cities. For more information on how you can participate or on Earth Hour in general, visit their website at www.earthhour.org.

NYSERDA Introduces Buy Green, Save Green NYS High Efficiency Appliance Rebates

Beginning March 19, 2012, New York State residents can receive a cash rebate of $350 by purchasing eligible high efficiency refrigerators or $250 by purchasing a high efficiency clothes washer. $3.5 million has been made available through the program, which runs until April 30th, 2012 or until funding is exhausted, whichever comes first. Only CEE Tier 2 or 3 appliances purchased on or after March 19th 2012 can receive funding. Funding is being reserved quickly, so be sure to act fast to ensure you receive your rebates. Eligibility requirements and application forms can be found on the Buy Green, Save Green website.

Governor Cuomo Launches On-Bill Recovery Program to Help Homeowners Finance Energy Efficient Upgrades

Governor Cuomo announced during his 2012 State of the State Address that the On-Bill Recovery Program has been accelerated to start immediately, rather than a projected start-date of June 2012. The program allows consumers to pay for energy efficiency upgrades through energy savings as a line-item on their monthly utility bills.

"This program is a great way for New Yorkers to make their homes more energy-efficient and more environmentally friendly in a way that doesn’t cause financial hardship," Governor Cuomo said. "The program will also create immediate jobs, and I hope homeowners across the state take advantage of this opportunity."

The On-Bill Recovery Program allows qualifying homeowners to perform energy efficiency upgrades with no money up front. The costs are paid back over 5, 10, or 15 years, depending on the loan terms, all of which is paid for through the resulting energy savings. For the full story and how you can sign up, visit NYSERDA’s website.

City of Albany Mayor’s Office of Energy & Sustainability to be honored at 2nd annual GOBY Awards!

The Stakeholders, Inc. has announced the 2012 GOBY Awards Honorees, and the Office of Energy & Sustainability has been selected to win the “Building Sustainable Communities” award! The awards will be given out at the 2012 GOBY Awards ceremony, to be held on March 7th at the Crowne Plaza in Albany.

The Stakeholders, Inc. is a non-profit organization committed to making the Capital Region a brighter and more attractive place to live and work. The Get on Board Volunteer Awards, a.k.a. the GOBYs, recognizes individuals and organizations that help promote safe and livable communities. A full list of the 2012 Honorees can be found on the Stakeholders website, where tickets can also be purchased for the banquet and awards ceremony. Hope to see you there!

Sustainability Ambassador Program Launched

In November 2011, the Office of Energy & Sustainability kicked off the Sustainability Ambassador Program. In order to more effectively implement the City of Albany Energy Conservation Policy (Adobe PDF), each City department has assigned a Sustainability Ambassador (SA) to act as a liaison to the Office of Energy & Sustainability. The Ambassadors will be the first point of contact for fellow employees regarding the Conservation Policy and responsible for promoting the policy using posters, labels, and other means. The SAs will also provide progress reports to monitor how effective the Policy is and whether any changes need to be made.

The SAs are currently competing in a Sustainability Scavenger Hunt to find and photograph a list of actions found in the Energy Conservation Policy. Each photo is uploaded to our facebook page, so check back often to see who is in the lead!

UAlbany Receives Recognition for Sustainability Efforts

The University at Albany was recognized as one of five statewide organizations at this year’s eighth annual Environmental Excellence Awards. Through the University’s Green Scene and other environmental initiatives, electric bills have been reduced by $700,000 per year, the equivalent power usage of 500 homes.

Mary Ellen Mallia, the Director of Environmental Sustainability at the University, received the award from DEC Commissioner Joe Martens at the award ceremony held at the Empire State Plaza. Mary Ellen has guided the University’s recent sustainability programs, which have included electricity reduction competitions between dorms, recycling drives, and purchasing high-efficiency hybrid buses. The full article can be read via the Times Union.

Emerald Ash Borer Found in Albany County

Click for more emerald ash borer information An emerald ash borer beetle was found inside a trap in late October in Bethlehem, just south of the City of Albany. The invasive beetle is responsible for killing tens of millions of ash trees across the country and has slowly been moving eastward through New York. The solitary beetle represents the first to be discovered in Albany County.

The emerald ash borer, an invasive species originating from China, first appeared in Detroit in 2002. The beetle made landfall in New York in June 2009 and has now been found in 20 counties across the state. With no natural predators in the United States, the beetle poses a grave threat to the state’s 900 million ash trees and related timber industries.

Residents are reminded that there is a statewide ban on transporting untreated firewood more than 50 miles to help stymie the beetle’s spread. A quarantine on the movement of ash trees in Albany County is not yet in effect, but may be implemented after the winter season. More information can be found by reading the Times Union article or visiting the DEC’s Emerald Ash Borer webpage.

Albany Moves to Single Stream Recycling

Click for more Albany Single Stream Recycling informationIn order to alleviate confusion and boost recycling rates, Albany recently switched to a single stream recycling system. Rather than separating each type of recycling into color coded bins, Albany residents can now put all their recyclables into one bin for curbside pickup through the Department of General Services (DGS). It no longer matters what color the bin is, just as long as there are only recyclables inside.

“This initiative is a positive investment in our City’s future and will have a strong impact on both the economy and the environment,” said Mayor Jennings. DGS hopes to increase recycling levels substantially while reducing waste being hauled to the Rapp Road landfill, which is approaching its maximum capacity. A flyer with a complete list of recyclable items can be downloaded here (Adobe .pdf).

If you do not yet have an Albany Recycles bin, they can be picked up free of charge from DGS at 1 Conners Boulevard. For a limited time, bins can also be picked up from 200 Henry Johnson Blvd., the Dept. of Recreation at 7 Hoffman Ave, and Bleecker Stadium on Clinton Avenue. Proof of residency is required.