Energy and Climate Action Plan Implementation Project

Year Complete: 2014
Grant Amount: $50,000
Local Government: City of Binghamton, NY
Local Foundation: Hoyt Foundation

Project Purpose

To promote energy efficiency retrofits and to develop a Task Force to coordinate community engagement in the implementation of Binghamton’s Energy and Climate Action Plan.

Key Lessons Learned

Lessons learned about tools and tactics through the project that other sustainability directors could use to advance their work.

Measuring success was extremely important. News releases, fact sheets, success stories, etc., always work better with actual numbers. However, this can be really hard to do and can often be an afterthought. Community support was important, but support from the local administration was also needed. Ensuring that elected officials support the project was key to getting publicity for successes and long term commitment. This was a major take away for this project.

Steering committee members should be chosen carefully. When looking for a committee that can help advance a project, always choose community leaders who can give a firm commitment to the project. Roles and expectations should be clearly stated in the beginning and followed through.

Lessons for developing a collaborative process between a local government sustainability director and local place-based foundation(s).

Communication was integral to developing local government – foundation relationships. Community Foundations still seem to be the best kept secret in this community and region. Before this project, the City had never approached a foundation for project support.  Research available partners in a community and be sure to be sensitive to foundation bylaws and policies.

Additional Information and Resources

Combating climate change will address rising energy costs, as well as several other pressing community needs, including job creation, affordable housing, environmental health and the general quality of life. The Energy and Climate Action Plan recommends steps to tackle each of these needs.

The City’s Energy and Climate Action Plan was created by City staff and a citizen Climate Action Plan Advisory Committee during 2010 and 2011.  On December 7, 2011, City Council adopted a resolution in support the Energy and Climate Action Plan, which sets a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by the year 2025.