Posts tagged Finger Lakes Climate Fund

A Platform for our Regional Movement: Sustainable Finger Lakes

While Ithaca certainly has a reputation for being progressive and eco-conscious, there are exciting things happening on the sustainability front all over the Finger Lakes Region!  Progressive-minded people continue to move into the region, working to overhaul our food system, promote democracy and justice, protect the air, land, and water, and build conscious communities. This wave of influential people inspired us to build Sustainable Finger Lakes, a platform to weave together the regional movement.

On the Sustainable Finger Lake website, you can find updated regional news on the latest strides in the movement, calls to action to support, and a calendar of sustainability-related events. Learn about the Finger Lakes Climate Fund, which helps low to moderate income families afford energy-saving home upgrades. Browse our regional Map to discover the sustainable entities in your community, or see our ‘Signs of Sustainability’ – stories of local businesses, organizations, growers, nonprofits, and other pioneers.

Recently, we highlighted the CNY Solidarity Coalition, a grassroots group dedicated to tearing down the walls that divide and impoverish people. We also featured the Coalition for Healthy School Food, a nonprofit that introduces plant-based foods and nutrition education in schools through interactive classroom visits and after-school cooking classes. Coming soon: Regional Green Tips! Learn how you can use local resources to make small but effective lifestyle changes that protect the environment, and could even save you money. Stay tuned!

We’re Doing SO Good! Let’s Not Lose Momentum!

Just as we were entering the covid-19 shutdown, our Finger Lakes Climate Fund had reached a wonderful goal: our 50th local carbon offset grant – this time to a family in Trumansburg. With this award – thanks to all of our offsetters! – we have collectively kept 4,300 tons of CO2 from our atmosphere by helping local families with more than $80,000 in Climate Fund grants to help make their homes more energy efficient and ready to run on renewable energy.
 
Recently we signed 3 more checks for almost $12,000 that will help single mothers in Newfield, Hector, and Groton convert from polluting fuel oil, firewood, and propane to clean and efficient heat pumps – lowering their energy bills and improving the health of asthmatic family members.
 
Of course, we are all on PAUSE right now. Our friends at Snug Planet and Halco won’t be able to do these projects and others in our pipeline until they are allowed to work again in people’s homes. But we wanted to reach out and share some of the stories of the people you’ve helped by taking responsibility for your carbon emissions and offsetting with our Climate Fund. (Thanks again offsetters!)
 
Through our partnership with HeatSmart Tompkins and NYSERDA, we’ve been able to combine additional incentives for heat pumps for lower-income households with our Climate Fund grants. Since we started last fall, we’ve given away $38,633 from our Climate Fund plus $43,000 from our special heat pump fund to 24 households in 5 counties. 
 

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New Video Tells Story of the Climate Fund

Climate Protection on the Home Front tells the story of how our Finger Lakes Climate Fund works from the point of view of some of our carbon offsetters, grant awardees, and our partners at Snug Planet. Many thanks to Eric Banford for the music, and Fred Bertram, Lucienne Cruvallier, and David Way for the photos. Thanks to Bill Hecht for the drone video, and to David Way for making the video and editing all the pieces together. Check out our other Climate Fund videos on our YouTube channel!

Heat Pumps for All!

New Incentives Bring Clean Energy to Local Families

For a long time, there’s been a presumption that getting off fossil fuels was something only the wealthy could accomplish. But that is changing and there are growing opportunities for lower-income residents to lead the way by making their homes zero carbon via air-source heat pump heating systems and signing up for solar electricity.

The mission of the Finger Lakes Climate Fund (FLCF) run by Sustainable Tompkins is to make sure that nobody is left behind in the transition to a clean energy economy. And one of the best ways to do that is to lower the cost barriers for access to high efficiency equipment that can be run on renewable energy. The Climate Fund has been doing that since 2010 by giving grants to those who need help making energy improvements.

Wailin Phyo of Snug Planet installs a heat pump

Together, donors to the Climate Fund have funded 32 awards worth more than $53,000 that will prevent almost 2500 tons of CO2 from entering our atmosphere. Of course, the benefits to the grant recipients are multiple – safer, healthier, more comfortable homes with lower energy bills.  Not to mention the green jobs that are supported locally by making the projects possible.

During 2019-2021, Sustainable Tompkins will be partnering with HeatSmart Tompkins and NYSERDA to bring the positive benefits of heat pump technology to low-to-moderate income (LMI) families throughout our community. Over the past 3 years, the ultra-high efficiency of heat pump technology has been funded in over 70% of the Climate Fund grants awarded. But the upfront price of this technology still remains out of reach for many. A two-year grant from NYSERDA will provide funds to combine additional incentives for heat pumps with carbon offset grants to bring down the price and help dozens more families make their home energy clean, green, and affordable.

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Help us Seal the Cracks this Winter!

(This article appeared in the 11/27/19 issue of Tompkins Weekly.)

Inequality and the climate crisis are our community’s biggest long-term threats. It may seem utterly overwhelming to try to address them at the same time, but together we can take action and make a powerful difference.

Sustainable Tompkins is running a Seal the Cracks winter campaign that provides everyone the opportunity to tackle both problems at the same time.  They run a local carbon offset program (Finger Lakes Climate Fund) that is aimed at making sure everyone is included in a clean energy, equitable future by using offset donations to help lower-income neighbors make energy improvements.  Now, more than ever, we need to come together as a community to build resilience in the face of the climate crisis and make sure no one is left behind. By offsetting your own carbon emissions, you can help others in our community.

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New Videos Promote Local Carbon Offsetting

Shira Evergreen, local videographer

Over the summer and fall, we worked with videographer Shira Evergreen to craft a series of ten videos that describe how carbon offsetting works in our Finger Lakes Climate Fund along with all the details for our new program to provide extra incentives for heat pumps to lower-income families along with our carbon offset grants.

Check them out on our ST YouTube channel! Thanks to Shira for her excellent work on site and in the editing booth.

We’re partnering with HeatSmart Tompkins and HeatSmart CNY to bring a fantastic package of incentives to lower-income folks to get their homes tightened up and running on uber efficient heat pumps — and hopefully also signed up for solar and wind electricity to make their homes Zero Carbon.

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Welcome Marisa Lansing!

Sustainable Tompkins is delighted to introduce Marisa Lansing, our new part-time program assistant for our Finger Lakes Climate Fund. Marisa worked for ST over the summer as one of our Clean Energy interns partially supported by NYSERDA, and devoted her time to promoting the Climate Fund and assisting videographers documenting our carbon offset program. 

In her new role as Climate Fund Coordinator, Marisa will be encouraging everyone to offset their carbon emissions, conducting outreach to inform LMI (lower to moderate-income) residents about the benefits of switching to heat pumps, and maintaining our social media accounts. She will be working with Gay in our partnership with HeatSmart Tompkins using funding from a 2-year NYSERDA grant to combine our carbon offset grants with new additional incentives for lower-income families to switch to heat pumps for heating, cooling, and hot water. These incentives will be offered in Tompkins and Chemung counties, as well as the adjacent towns of the surrounding counties. We’re also partnering with CNY HeatSmart on a similar program in Cayuga, Cortland, Onondaga and Madison Counties.

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Cornell Climate Change Seminar Well Received

Opening slide of presentation on Local Carbon Offsets for Energy Democracy

Gay Nicholson shared the story of our Finger Lakes Climate Fund to a large audience of students and faculty at Cornell on February 18. The seminar series “Perspectives on the Climate Change Challenge” mostly focuses on the issue from a global and national level, so our presentation on “Local Carbon Offsets for Energy Democracy” was very different for this audience.

Judging from the questions and follow-up surveys, students were glad to feel connected to ways to make a difference locally.

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Our First Zero Carbon Offset Grant!

Adrienne Cook and her cat Nina.

Adrienne Cook is well on her way to a zero carbon home. She owns a rare 1950 Sears Roebuck “kit house” in the Town of Ithaca. Despite the small size of the 2-bedroom house, the fuel oil boiler was costing close to $3000/yr to heat the home. 

Snug Planet set her up with highly efficient air source heat pumps to both heat and cool the home, and provide hot water. ETM Solar will come in the spring to put 7.2 kw of solar panels on her roof to power the home. We gave our 28th Climate Fund grant of $2,213 for her offset of 89 tons of CO2 from these projects.

Let’s make sure everyone gets a chance to participate in the clean energy transition!  Visit FingerLakesClimateFund.org to day and offset your carbon emissions and help more folks like Adrienne shrink their carbon footprint.

Watch Adrienne tell her story here.

Come Help us “Seal the Cracks!”

Seal the Cracks full logo

Wondering what you can do to address climate change and social inequities? Are you looking to make a difference here and now?

Sustainable Tompkins is looking for several volunteers to help us over the next two months with a number of events and media outreach related to our Seal the Cracks campaign to promote the Finger Lakes Climate Fund – our local carbon offset fund.

We need your help to make a big splash! We will be hosting a variety of fun events, and doing lots of outreach to local folks. We would like to see carbon offsetting be as much a part of the Ithaca lifestyle as recycling! Read the rest of this entry »