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
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
In 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.
First Electric Vehicle Charging Station in Upstate NY Installed in Downtown Albany
The first electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Upstate NY has been installed at the downtown Holiday Inn Express in Albany. Installed by PlugIn Stations Online, the station utilizes both Level 1 and Level 2 charging modes. Level 1 charges a vehicle in 8-10 hours, while the Level 2 mode can charge a vehicle in 2-4 hours. Two vehicles can use the station at a time. The station is available to the public for a small reservation fee which will be donated to a non-profit organization.
Climate Conversations Reveal Valuable Ideas for Tackling Climate Change
A wide range of Albany residents participated in the recent Climate Conversations held by the Mayor’s Office of Energy & Sustainability, as part of the Albany 2030 comprehensive planning process. After an introduction on how climate change could impact Albany in the future, the diverse range of participants were asked to share their ideas on how Albany can adapt to this changing world and become a more sustainable city.
|Mayor Jennings Welcomes a group of citizens to the Climate Conversations held the last week of June.||Albany residents discuss opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.|
Split into breakout groups, attendees discussed a number of important topics, ranging from how to make Albany more bike and pedestrian friendly to increasing the availability of local food sources for area residents. Various initiatives and programs were identified from increasing backyard composting efforts to engaging the "Veggie-Mobile" to deliver produce across the City. The engaging discussions yielded a wealth of ideas that will be integrated into the upcoming City’s Climate Adaptation Plan.
The City would like to thank everyone who attended, as well as those who sent in their opinions electronically. A detailed summary of the Climate Conversation events can be accessed here.
Draft Albany 2030 Plan Released for Review
The Draft Albany 2030 Plan was officially released on Thursday, July 14th for public review. This document is a direct result of the community's participation over the past year and a half. More than 1,000 of you have actively participated in developing the vision for Albany in 2030 and the guide for how to reach it. The Climate Adaptation portion of the plan has yet to be included, but you can still view and comment on the current Draft using their online form.
To view the Draft Plan, download it from the Albany 2030 website. There will also be limited copies for viewing at the Albany Public Library branches, the Clerk’s office in City Hall, or at the Planning offices at 21 Lodge Street.
Mayor Jennings Announces Members of Community Advisory Committee on Sustainability
Mayor Gerald D. Jennings has announced the selection of the members of the City of Albany’s Community Advisory Committee on Sustainability. "The Committee will help guide Albany on a path towards sustainability by identifying and prioritizing specific strategies that the City and the Community can implement together by engaging the Community more broadly in our effort to reduce energy consumption and costs, improve the environment, spur economic growth, and prepare for projected impacts of climate change," said Mayor Jennings.
View the entire press release (Adobe PDF, 1.0MB).
NYS Assembly & Senate Pass "Complete Streets" Legislation
The State Assembly and Senate have recently passed legislation requiring new transportation projects consider alternative modes of travel during transportation planning processes. Passage of the bill would ensure bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, and other safe or sustainable infrastructure would not be left out at a time when New Yorkers are trying to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
"With this legislation, future state and local transportation projects will be planned in a way that is more mindful of all users of our roadways," said Assembly Transportation Committee Chair David Gantt. "Thanks to this new approach to road design, New Yorkers will be able to realize the convenience, energy savings and health benefits that all forms of mobility have to offer."
Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants Available
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has begun accepting applications for the Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant Program. Awards ranging from $2,500 to $50,000 will be given out to community-based organizations for projects that address exposure of communities to multiple environmental harms and risks. Projects can include cleaning up local pollution, starting community gardens, increasing educational outreach, amongst other goals. Not-for-profit organizations can find more information on the DEC’s program webpage. The deadline for applications is September 9, 2011.
Mayor Jennings Announces Electric Vehicle Program
Mayor Jennings announced Albany's new Electric Vehicle Program on April 21, 2011. Albany will partner with NYSERDA, NYS DOT and other entities to identify opportunities to install electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city. The program will result in a minimum of 15 electric vehicle charging stations installed throughout the city. Read about it in the Times Union.
"Albany plugs future of electric cars" Times Union