Marlborough looks to make its buildings greener

By Rob Sample
Posted 8/16/23

Marlborough will develop a community climate action plan and greenhouse-gas inventory for its buildings following a resolution unanimously approved by the Town Board at its Monday, August 14 meeting.

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Marlborough looks to make its buildings greener

Marlborough will develop a community climate action plan and greenhouse-gas inventory for its buildings following a resolution unanimously approved by the Town Board at its Monday, August 14 meeting.
A related resolution, also approved by the Town Board, calls for the establishment of an energy benchmarking requirement for town-owned buildings of 1,000 square feet in size or larger.
The two resolutions build on Marlborough’s status as a Climate Smart Community, a designation the town received from New York State in 2022. In particular, the action plan resolution calls for the town to join a team of 30 other communities throughout the Hudson Valley in working on conservation, clean energy and the reduction of municipalities’ carbon footprints.
“The Climate Smart Communities program is a statewide initiative to encourage towns to take action to counter the threat of climate change,” noted Mici Simonofsky, who chairs Marlborough’s Conservation Advisory Committee (CAC). “Marlborough has really done a lot to reduce energy consumption by town buildings.” 
Simonofsky pointed to the town-owned solar farm, to be built by Nexamp at the town Transfer Station on Bailey’s Gap Road, as one significant measure the town has taken to reduce its carbon footprint. The nine-acre solar farm, the second of its kind in the town, will produce two million kilowatt hours per year once it goes into operation.
Simonofsky also noted that joining the 30-community climate team will enable the town to tap the resources and know-how of the Hudson Valley Regional Council and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County. “Both of these organizations have taken a leadership role in helping communities with conservation and clean-energy programs,” she said. 
The Climate Smart Communities program is specifically focused on communities, because public buildings are the single largest energy user statewide. Moreover, energy-inefficient buildings typically use several times the total energy consumed by the highest-performing buildings. Without energy improvements, that can create a huge amount of wasted energy over the years.
“Tonight’s resolution gave the CAC the ability to work with these agencies and the cohort of other Hudson Valley towns,” said Simonofsky. “This will make our job [of gathering data and compiling reports] much easier.”
The related benchmarking resolution calls for tracking the energy use of town buildings over time and comparing that energy performance to buildings of similar size and function. The resolution aims “to promote the public health, safety and welfare by making available good, actionable information on municipal building energy use.” The resolution also aims to help identify opportunities to cut costs and reduce pollution in the town.
Under the terms of the resolution, the town supervisor will order the benchmarking reports at regular intervals. The Conservation Action Committee will be responsible for compiling those reports. The reports will be published at least annually and will be made available to the public via the internet.
The Town Board also approved a variety of other measures.
• The board gave the green light to a $49,522 bid from BoardSafe Docks of Fleetwood, PA, to install an accessible launch for kayaks at Milton Landing Park. BoardSafe’s bid included the training of town Highway Department personnel in the yearly installation and removal of the kayak launch.
• It also approved the waiver of the pier fee for the daylong visit planned on Sunday, September 3 by the historic fireboat John J. Harvey. The boat’s one-day visit will be over Labor Day weekend. It will take people out on the river from noon to 5 p.m. for a nominal fee and will showcase a dramatic spray of water during each of the four trips it is expected to make. 
• The board approved the reappointment of Joel Truncali to the town’s Board of Assessment Review. His term will be from October 1, 2023 – September 30, 2028.
• Finally, the board okayed putting a measure on the ballot for November 7, 2023. Town residents will vote on whether to approve an increase in the operating budget for the Sarah Hull Hallock Free Library in Milton – which would be the library’s first increase since 2018. The measure would allocate $189,200 annually to the library, an increase of $36,700.