New York State has named Southampton Town a Certified Climate Smart Community, making Southampton the 16th town in the state and the second on Long Island to be given this designation.
East Hampton was the first town on Long Island to receive that designation, in April of 2016.
These achievements support Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by the year 2030.
“New York continues to make significant strides to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and as communities across the state step up to help achieve our nation-leading climate goals, we are laying the foundation for a more resilient, stronger state for generations to come,” said Governor Cuomo in the announcement of the certification. “I commend the Town of Southampton for its ongoing efforts to support clean energy initiatives and I encourage all of New York’s municipalities to follow its example.”
At a news conference at Southampton Town Hall Thursday, New York State Department of Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos congratulated Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and the town board and presented them with two street signs highlighting the town’s achievement of Climate Smart Communities certification.
Southampton was given the distinction after taking the Climate Smart Communities Pledge and adopting a Sustainability Plan (“Southampton 400+”) as an element of its Comprehensive Plan.
The town’s Sustainability Plan, adopted in 2013, aligns with the state’s Climate Smart Communities Program. Following the guidance laid out in the plan, the town has implemented solid waste improvement strategies, water quality improvements, energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as transportation and clean fleet strategies.
Southampton also completed building energy audits for municipal facilities and supports programs like Long Island Green Homes, where residents can get a Free Home Energy Audit, rebates, incentives, low interest financing and other assistance to reduce energy use by 30 percent or more.
The town has partnered with a local nonprofit to launch a “Solarize Southampton” campaign aimed at getting more homes and businesses in one community to go solar. In 2017, more than 1,800 applications for solar power have been made through the Solarize Campaign.
In April of this year, the town was designated a NYSERDA Clean Energy Community — again the second municipality on Long Island to achieve this designation, and the town board recently set a goal to meet 100 percent of the community-wide electricity consumption needs through renewable energy sources by the year 2025.
The town is currently working with the New York Power Authority for converting 2,700 existing town street lights to more efficient LED lighting, which is expected to also significantly reduce operating costs.
“I applaud the Town of Southampton for its commitment to preserving natural areas and for reducing greenhouse emissions by improving energy efficiency and shifting to clean energy sources,” said DEC Commissioner Seggos at the Nov. 9 press conference. “I congratulate Supervisor Schneiderman, the town board, and town staff on achieving Climate Smart Communities Certification, and I hope other municipalities are inspired by their example.”
“This designation fits into the plan I have for the town to achieve 100 percent renewable-sourced electric power by 2025,” said Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “We believe the town will continue to make great strides to reduce costs and save the environment.”