The City of Beacon is striving to become a more sustainable community. Below is an explanation of some of the projects we are undertaking to accomplish our goals. To learn more about any of these initiatives, or to find out how you can get involved, please contact Eleanor Peck, Beacon’s Climate Smart Coordinator at email@example.com.
You can sign up to receive updates on Beacon’s sustainability efforts here.
Sustainability and Climate Resilience Vision
Climate change continues to be a big threat to the Hudson Valley, and the City of Beacon, with an expected increase in temperature, more extreme precipitation, and rising sea level over the next few decades. In preparation for these climate hazards, the City of Beacon has taken the initiative to reach out to residents and stakeholders to create a Sustainability and Climate Resilience Vision. A Sustainability and Climate Resilience Vision gathers community input on what a sustainable and climate resilient city would look like in the future. Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, the City of Beacon, and Green Beacon Coalition engaged 52 residents and stakeholders of the City of Beacon through various outreach methods over a period of three months to gather input on these topics (Appendix A). From this input, the following vision and guiding principles were created to ensure that sustainability and climate resilience progress is consistent with the community’s desired outcomes.
Community Choice Aggregation
The City of Beacon partnered with Hudson Valley Community Power to pool local electricity demand in order to leverage the collective buying power of our residents and small businesses. We have made the default energy of Beacon’s customers 100% renewably generated and it is projected to be cheaper than what we were paying before. Hudson Valley Community Power has also created a Community Solar program for Beacon’s residents to invest in a nearby solar farm and receive credits on their electricity bill to save approximately 10% of total charges. To learn more about the programs, contact them at 845-859-9099 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Climate Smart Community
Beacon has taken the pledge to become a NY Certified Climate Smart Community and we are actively pursuing certification in the program. Stay tuned for updates in Spring 2020.
Community and Municipal Operations Greenhouse Gas Inventories
The City, in partnership with Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) developed greenhouse gas emissions inventories for both community and municipal operations. The inventories are part of ongoing sustainability efforts by the City, and an important step toward fulfilling the City’s pledge to become an NY Certified Climate Smart Community. The emissions inventory will inform planning for energy savings and emissions reductions, and sets the baseline from which the city can measure progress towards sustainability goals and targets. To view the full report, please click the link below.
Conservation Advisory Committee
Appointed by the Mayor, the committee advises Beacon on conservation issues. They recently completed a Natural Resources Inventory and are serving as the Climate Smart Taskforce. Their meetings are open to the public. For more information, please visit the Conservation Advisory Committee web page.
The City of Beacon Sustainability Department began publishing a Sustainability Newsletter in the summer of 2020.
Summer / Fall 2021 City of Beacon Sustainability Newsletter 🌍 Summer/Fall 2021
Promoting Pollinators in Beacon
Councilmembers Air Rhodes and Dan Aymar-Blair are leading a citywide campaign to promote pollinators in the City of Beacon by converting land to meadows. The campaign kicked off on June 17, 2021 with a presentation to help Beacon residents get started. (Click here for a link to the recording.) Chet Kerr from Pollinator Pathways Northeast explained the importance of creating habitats and migration paths for pollinators in order to support human food supply. Landscape architect Erin Muir (Figure Ground Studio) provided invaluable tips on creating and maintaining a beautiful pollinator-friendly garden.
Contact Dan Aymar-Blair (email@example.com) to learn more or to get started on a pollinator garden of your own.
City of Beacon Composting Pilot
Subsidized backyard compost bins for residents ($10 rather than $55)
The City of Beacon is testing out ways to enable all community members to compost their food and yard waste in order to reduce the solid waste created by our community. The first phase of this pilot program is to provide compost bins to interested residents at a steep discount.
What kind of bin? The Earth Machine® is a durable outdoor bin designed to compost food and yard waste. This is a stationary bin so you can add to it continuously while older layers continue to compost.
● 80 gallon, 300 liter capacity (sufficient for 2-4 people to compost year-round)
● Easy snap-together assembly
● Twist-locking lid
● Harvest door for easy removal of finished compost
● Vertical and horizontal ventilation
● BPA free material made from recycled content
● UV stabilizer to resist deterioration from sunlight
● Weight and dimensions: This bin weighs 16 lbs and is 33”H x 33”L
● Sealed to keep out wildlife
Why compost? Food scraps and yard waste make up more than 30% of what we throw away. By composting these organic materials instead, we reduce the amount of trash that is burned, helping to improve local air quality. Teaching your children to compost can help them think about where their garbage goes and how they can make simple changes to protect our environment.
Another benefit is the compost! You’ll have a nutrient-rich material that can enrich the soil in your garden, while absorbing carbon.
We’ll teach you how: When you pick up your bin, you will receive easy-to-follow guidance on composting. We will also host in-depth resources, hold tutorial events, provide trouble-shooting support for six months, and post how-to videos produced by local filmmakers!
Cost to residents:
– $10 pre-sale rate (order by Feb 1, 2022)
– $25 after Feb. 1, 2022.
– Regular cost: $100 retail; $55 through Dutchess County
– LIMIT ONE PER RESIDENTAL ADDRESS
How to get your bin: Order here. The City will distribute pre-ordered bins in late March. Pick-up details to follow!
Save Money, Save Energy
The City has installed electric car charging stations at 13 South Ave (near the visitor center) and behind City Hall (near the entrance to the Building Department). The public is welcome to use these stations.
The City is pursuing funding through NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities program by showing that at least 10 Beacon residents have purchased electric vehicles since May 2021. To make EVs more affordable we partnered with the Healey dealership in Beacon. For details, please contact Sara Hulse, at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (845) 220-9562. Press release about the campaign and partnership.
As of 2015, all street lights, traffic signals, and the interior lights in Beacon’s municipal building have been converted to LED, at a significant cost savings to the City. We will recoup our investment in these lighting upgrades within the next couple years.
In 2018, Beacon partnered with BQ energy on a power purchase agreement to lease land to build a solar farm on the old Denning’s Point landfill. The City buys the electricity from these solar panels at a significant cost savings.
The City of Beacon has made great strides in sustainability. Our community is eager to further our impact and, in the face of a looming climate crisis and inaction at multiple levels of government, we recognize the need to establish an initiative moving Beacon towards leadership in our area as the “greenest” community in the Hudson Valley.
This initiative will establish working groups and partnerships among our boards, city employees and community. The program will consist of a series of specific goals/projects, to be determined by participants and prioritized for development.
This initiative is supported by City Council, the Conservation Advisory Committee, and Green Beacon Coalition. You can help by taking this short survey and telling us what is important to you.