Getting Started

The Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Certification program supports your local government in building a sustainable, balanced climate action program, one step at a time.


Step 1: Pass a Resolution: Pass the CSC pledge as a municipal resolution to join the program and become a Registered Climate Smart Community. Use the model CSC resolution as a template for drafting your local resolution. Municipalities may amend the “whereas” statements in the preamble, but all ten points of the CSC Pledge must be adopted verbatim.

Step 2: Register: After the resolution is adopted, designate a primary contact person to sign up for a portal account, complete the online registration form, and upload the adopted municipal resolution. After your registration is reviewed, your primary contact will receive an email with information on how to access your account on the CSC certification portal. At this point, your community will be designated a Registered CSC by New York State and your community will be added to the map on this website.

Step 3: Review and Select Actions: Log in to your account to review and select actions. Each action has a description that includes guidance about who should be involved, costs, resources, tools, and documentation requirements. After becoming a Registered CSC, communities can implement certification actions at their own pace. There is no time limit between adoption of the pledge and commencement of the certification process. The mandatory and priority actions are a good place to start because they are fundamental to a successful municipal climate change program. If you have questions, you can email a NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities Coordinator at cec@nyserda.ny.gov for assistance navigating the program.

Step 4: Collect Documentation: Once you identify your selected actions, review the requirements for each action and begin organizing and uploading your documentation. The calculator on the right-hand side of the actions page will help you keep track of your progress toward becoming a Certified CSC. As you assess your progress, start to develop a timeline for when you expect to meet the requirements of your chosen certification level and select an application deadline that you plan to meet.

Step 5: Submit Application: Using the web portal, upload the required documents associated with each CSC certification action. Upon submittal of your application for certification, you will be locked out of editing those actions while staff review your application. After review, staff will contact you with further information. If your local government did not earn full points for an action, staff will provide details on what was missing and coach you on next steps.