Housing is a central part of all of our lives. As Ithaca goes green, it needs to make some large shifts to improve the efficiency of its buildings. Historically, however, much of the work to improve buildings comes at a rising cost to renters which discriminates against lower income people in the community. We want to ensure that the burdens and benefits of the Ithaca Green New Deal are equitably borne by Ithacans of all walks of life, and doing so requires careful planning and consideration of all voices.
Housing is a crucial component of the Ithaca Green New Deal. As you can see from the graph on the right based on data from the 2014 Tompkins County Community Greenhouse Gas Emission and Energy Use Inventory, buildings make up a majority of all CO2e emissions in Tompkins County. Clearly, if we are going to reach carbon neutrality by 2030, our buildings will need massive improvements. This means increasing the requirements for new buildings as well as retrofitting old buildings.
The City of Ithaca is currently considering legislation to require builders to increase efficiency, and you can understand the general framework by reading the Ithaca Energy Code Supplement found on the Ithaca Green Building Policy website. This is a good start, and a wonderful framework to build on, but requiring developers to meet the “6 point” threshold outlined in the Supplement is not enough. To meet the goals set forth in the 2019 Ithaca Green New Deal Resolution, we need to take bold action, and require 12 points for the first year with an increased point requirement in subsequent years.
In the mean time, here are some resources to help start improving your home or business right away:
If you are a business owner or research, click here to find out what sort of grants and funding opportunities NYSERDA is offering to help you increase the efficiency of your work space.
If you are a home owner or renter, click here to find out what financing options NYSERDA is offering to help green your living space, including free home energy assessments.
NYSERDA has loads of programs besides those listed, you can see a full menu of choices here.
Smart Energy Choices also offers an array of subsidies, resources, and free assessments to help you map out and follow a course to energy efficiency in your home.