ALBANY — County Executive Daniel McCoy celebrated the County’s achievement of being officially certified as a “Climate Smart Community,” as part of New York State’s Climate Smart Communities Program on Sunday, Sept. 26.
These municipalities are those that take meaningful action to prevent and prepare for climate change. For the latest round of designations announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul, Albany County was one of only eleven local governments throughout the state to have met the requirements for the bronze certification for the first time, and one of only three from the Capital District.
“We continue to see the detrimental effects of climate change here and around the globe,” McCoy said. “Between record rainfall in the Capital Region this summer, more intense and frequent hurricanes, extreme droughts and wildfires in the West, and rising sea levels, it’s clear that we need to do more to cut emissions and protect our future.
“I’m proud that Albany County continues to do our part in making that happen.”
Albany County received its designation as a Climate Smart Community for 30 actions already taken over the years from nine different categories to address climate change. Those actions include transitioning its fleet to electric vehicles, building electric vehicle charge station infrastructure throughout the county, pursuing renewable energy, encouraging recycling, and land conservation.
The Climate Smart Communities certification program was established in 2014 by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. To date, 81 municipalities have officially been designated as Climate Smart Communities.
“And while this is a great day for Albany County, we have even more planned to build on this success and earn the silver certification in the next two years,” McCoy said. The county executive shared plans of purchasing and converting area streetlights to LEDs to generate long-term cost savings and to reduce emissions by as much as 29.3 metric tons each year. The county is to also enter into community solar contracts for three facilities that use the most electricity. “We will also be conducting energy efficiency audits at four of our largest buildings to determine how we can further reduce emissions, and we’re launching a countywide climate resiliency plan to understand the risks climate change poses to the county and what projects and policies we need to pursue to be better prepared,” he continued.