The city of Watervliet, N.Y., is a small town with big aspirations. Building on its solar power commitment and EPA Green Power Partnership status, the city is working with Greenlight Energy in an effort to become the first EPA Green Power Community in New York State.
Watervliet is partnering with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Capital-Saratoga Energy $mart Communities (E$C) to enhance the city’s energy efficiency and green initiatives. E$C coordinators promote NYSERDA’s programs in local neighborhoods through partnerships, educational programs and awareness-building.
In May, the city announced its 10% Energy Challenge, an initiative for the city to increase energy efficiency and reach the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent. This is an opportunity for Watervliet residents and businesses to save money and reduce their energy bills through energy efficiency programs and green power options. The 10% Energy Challenge evolved out of Watervliet taking the Climate Smart Communities (CSC) pledge. CSC is a partnership between local communities and New York State, with 103 communities currently participating.
“Reaching the 10 percent goal is a community effort. This is a great opportunity for residents and businesses to take part in the city’s green initiatives,” said Watervliet Mayor Mike Manning. “We can provide businesses, home owners, renters and low-income residents energy options and programs to increase their own energy efficiency.”
Part of the city's plan included implementing performance contracting for municipal facilities, pipe-lining a 3MW hydro‐power expansion, and initiating single‐stream recycling.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reducing the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent is equivalent to taking more than 500 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.
The city of Watervliet, a town of about 10,000 people along the Hudson River just north of Albany, N.Y., is also the first community in the state to offer an organic waste removal program. The city received a grant to eliminate organics from its solid waste stream in a pilot program begun in 2011.
Residents place their organic solid waste in specialty containers, supplied by the city, which are picked up weekly by the city's Refuse & Recycling Department. The waste is then processed through anaerobic digestion and converted to bio fuel and fertilizer.
In this project Watervliet plans to digest 4.5 tons of organics per day, targeting a 50 percent diversion rate for organics from both the institutional and residential streams. During the grant period and beyond the city will try to increase net recovery to 75 percent. Later, it's hoped that the digestion business will grow to include processing of 30 to 40 tons of material per day, potentially serving the neighboring municipalities of Cohoes (pop. 15,000) and Menands (pop. 3,500).
Other green initiatives include a new solar pavilion in Hudson Shores Park; two 37.5 KW solar arrays on municipal building roof tops; and a 30 KW system in the River Park Boat House.
In coming years, city officials said they hope to implement a green roof program and install a geothermal heating system at the city's cultural center.