The Paris Climate Accord Goals called for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2010 levels by 25% by 2025. Unbeknownst to most of us, Saratoga Springs has been moving aggressively toward meeting those goals by reducingthe city’s use of fossil fuels.
In the fall of 2012, Larry Toole, who at the time was on the board of Sustainable Saratoga, with the help of his son Cameron, wrote a proposal to create a solar grid on the land that had been used for the city’s landfill. Mr. Toole did a presentation to the City Council and Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan volunteered to work with Sustainable to make the project a reality.
Commissioner Madigan created a committee to assist her in crafting a Request for Proposals (RFP) and in moving the project forward. The committee was made up of Larry Toole (Sustainable), Lynn Bachner (Finance Department Deputy), Christine Gillmett-Brown (Director of Finance), Mark Torpey (New York State Energy Redevelopment Authority), Shauna Sutton (Deputy Mayor), Tim Wales (City Engineer), and Matt McCabe (past Commissioner of Finance).
The project was a huge success. Today 40% of the city government’s electricity needs are provided for by solar power from the grid at the landfill.
Currently, at Commissioner Madigan’s initiative and with full Council support one of the key elements in the city’s reconstruction of city hall will be retrofitting the structure to reduce its carbon footprint through structural enhancements and through the establishment of a heating and cooling system that uses state of the art technology. The city will also be moving ahead with changing the city’s street lights to LEDs.
It is important to note that the city’s automobile/truck fleet still generates a significant amount of carbon emissions, but with Mayor Kelly’s recent announcement of the settlement of the legal disputes involving the Geyser Road Trail, the city is taking another significant step forward in encouraging people living in and visiting the city to walk and bike rather than drive where possible.
At last Tuesday’s City Council on April 16th Commissioner Madigan and Tina Carton, Administrator of Parks, Open Lands, Historic Preservation, and Sustainability announced the establishment of a “Sustainability Hub” soon to be up on the city’s website. This site is meant to both highlight the city’s achievements in combating carbon emissions but also to make the public aware of programs available to the city’s citizens to assist in this critical goal.
While there is always more to be done, Saratogians should be encouraged by the steps city officials, particularly Commissioner Madigan and Mayor Kelly, are taking to move our corner of the world toward a more sustainable future.
This is a link to Commissioner Madigan and Administrator Carton’s presentation on the new “Sustainability Hub”.
Here is a press release on the presentation.
City of Saratoga Springs to Unveil Sustainability Hub during April 16th City Council Meeting
Saratoga Springs, NY — At the regularly scheduled City Council meeting on Tuesday April 16th, Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan and Administrator of Parks, Open Lands, Historic Preservation, and Sustainability Tina Carton will deliver a presentation highlighting all of the sustainability progress made by the City to date, and unveil a new “Sustainability Hub” on the City website.
The initiatives that will be highlighted include the Spa Solar Park, the City-owned electric vehicle (“EV”) charging stations, alternative transportation options, and legislation that fosters green, energy-efficient programs within the City. Commissioner Madigan will also discuss sustainability-focused future efforts aimed to benefit both the City budget and Saratoga Springs residents, as well as the City’s collaboration with Sustainable Saratoga, a local not-for-profit that has played a key role in the City’s sustainability efforts.
Madigan stated, “The City Council has taken a variety of steps in recent years to make Saratoga Springs a model community in terms of sustainability and resiliency, and projects like the Spa Solar Park have shown that these types of projects are not only good for the environment but also can positively impact the City’s bottom line. The new Sustainability Hub will highlight all the good work done by the City, and provide a one-stop shop for residents interested in learning about everything from where EV charging stations are located to how they might qualify for an energy-efficient property improvement loan through the Energize NY PACE Finance program.”
The City Council meeting held on April 16, 2019 will begin at 7:00 PM at the Recreation Center (15 Vanderbilt Ave.) and will also be streamed live on the City website.
A copy of this release can be found on this City website: https://www.saratoga-springs.org/2444/Sustainability-Press-Release
Commissioner of Finance
City of Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866