Climate Smart Communities Certification Report

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silver Certified

This is the Climate Smart Communities Certification Report of Erie County. Erie County is a silver certified Climate Smart Community.

Erie County was certified on September 25, 2021 with 318 points earned from 44 completed actions. Listed below is information regarding Erie County’s Climate Smart Communities efforts and materials associated with its certified actions.

The certification for Erie County will expire on September 30, 2026.

Contact Information

The designated Climate Smart Communities contact for Erie County is:

Name:Bonnie Lawrence
Title:Coordinator Pollution Prevention Program
Address:Edward A. Rath County Office Building 95 Franklin Street, 16th Floor
Buffalo, NY 14202

Actions Implemented

Each approved action and supporting documentation for which Erie County was approved for in 2021 appears below. Note: Standards for the actions below may have changed and the documentation listed may no longer satisfy requirements for that action.

  • 1. Build a climate-smart community.

    1.1 Pass a Resolution Adopting the CSC Pledge

    4 Points

    Program Summary:

    PE1 Action: CSC Task Force

    20 Points
    Bronze Mandatory Silver Mandatory

    Program Summary: Attached is the Executive Order #20 Creation of a Community Climate Change Task Force, the current list of task force members and the organizations they represent, and meeting notes from two meetings held in 2020. Within the meeting notes is the roll call, which identifies attendees. Due to COVID, our meetings have been virtual and there has not been a physical sign-in sheet for attendance.

    PE1 Action: CSC Coordinator

    10 Points
    Bronze Mandatory Silver Mandatory

    Program Summary: A memorandum from County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, signed by Deputy County Executive Maria Whyte is attached, designating Tracy Skalski, Sustainability Coordinator, as the official Erie County's Climate Smart Communities coordinator.

    PE1 Action: National/Regional Climate Program

    3 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County has been a member of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) since 2018. The introduction slides are attached. We utilize the forum for many reasons, including to connect with municipalities around the country who are striving for similar climate goals. We ask climate and sustainability-related questions and leverage the lessons learded from those governments to improve our own programs. USDN has a variety of tools that can be utilized by members, such as their Equity Leaders Program, which teaches how integrate an equity lens throughout government programs. Being a member of USDN also opens some funding sources to further implement our sustainability programs. Attached is a screen shot of the USDN website showcasing that Erie County is a current member (this can also be found on their website Also attached is a screen shot showing the Erie County Membership Activity page, which shows the most recent dialog from Erie County.

  • 2. Inventory emissions, set goals, and plan for climate action.

    PE2 Action: Government Operations GHG Inventory

    16 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: Attached is the Erie County Commits to Paris report, which was released in January 2018. Within the report is the completed government operations greenhouse gas inventory, starting on page six (6). The internal operations GHG inventory methods can be found in Appendix C, starting on page thirty-two (32). This report is available online at this website:

    PE2 Action: Community GHG Inventory

    16 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: The community GHG inventory was completed as part of the Erie County Commits to Paris report (attached), starting on page 17. Appendix C details methods and adjustments. This report is available online at this website:

    PE2 Action: Government Operations Climate Action Plan

    16 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: Erie County Climate Action & Sustainability Plan (CASP) for internal operations attached as well as the public outreach associated with the adoption of the document. The CASP can also be found on the Erie County Government website: www.erie/gov/sustainability

  • 3. Decrease energy use.

    PE3 Action: Government Building Energy Audits

    12 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: Twenty six of Erie County’s buildings were surveyed to provide the them with possible energy conservation opportunities. The buildings’ heating / ventilating / air conditioning systems, and lighting contribute to these County building’s most extensive energy use. Within these areas, measures were identified that, if implemented, will lower energy consumption and operating cost(s). Measures were identified to reduce energy use and improve the EUI at Erie County. Calculations were performed to quantify the energy savings that would be achieved by implementing the various Facility Improvement Measures (FIMs) identified during the site visits. If all the recommended FIMSs were implemented, the estimated EUI would be 96.4 kBtu/sq ft. Attached is the Flexible Technical Assistance Program, FlexTech report for the ASHRAE level 2- audited (26) buildings. Also attached is the Buildings Upgrades Tracking list, which indicates that Erie County has completed ASHRAE level 2 audits on 71.4% of the square footage of its building stock.

    PE3 Action: Water-efficient Fixtures

    3 Points

    Program Summary: In November of 2020 Erie County began the process of updating the water fixtures to water-efficient fixtures. Included below are the specifications for the flush valves and faucet fixtures, which includes the efficiency data. The square footage of the replaced fixtures: 1,523,573 The square footage of the entire County: 3,318,015 The percentage replaced: 45.9% Erie County is seeking 3 points for this action pdf based on over 45% completion by square footage.

    PE3 Action: Building Energy Management System

    3 Points

    Program Summary: BEMS bid spec and contract and square footage/percentage covered from BEMS Attached is a picture of the dashboard used by our Department of Public Works to view the status of each system. The Alarm window shows the current date and time stamp.

    PE3 Action: Benchmarking - Municipal Buildings

    2 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County received approval from NYSERDA for completing this action on June 12, 2017. I have uploaded the approval email from NYSERDA as required to receive 2 points for this action.

    PE3 Action: Green Building Standard for Government Buildings

    5 Points

    Program Summary: Green Buildings Act which adopts LEED standards for the construction or renovation of buildings owned by Erie County.

    PE3 Action: Green Building Certification

    15 Points

    Program Summary: LEED certification for the Nano Technology wing of the SUNY Erie Community College (ECC) building and STEM Building The 10-member Board of Trustees of SUNY Erie is comprised of four members appointed by the governor, five members appointed by the Erie County Executive and approved by the Erie County Legislature, and a voting student trustee elected by the student body of the three campuses.

    PE3 Action: Fleet Inventory

    4 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County completed a Feet Inventory of all four-wheeled vehicles owned and operated by the County. The inventory documents the 11 required elements per CSC and is categorized by department. The Fleet Inventory Update Procedures is attached at the front of the Inventory. It details who, when and how the Inventory will be monitored and updated.

    PE3 Action: Advanced Vehicles

    2 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County currently has 5 Chevy Volts in the fleet which qualifies for 2 points. The Erie County fleet inventory was uploaded with the feet inventory action item for reference.

    PE3 Action: LED Street Lights

    10 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County has converted all forty-two high-pressure sodium streetlights to LEDs per NYSERDA's Clean Energy Communities program, but unfortunately it was decided that this is not eligible for those CSC points. The rational from NYSERDA stems from language on page 15 of the NYSERDA Program Opportunity Notice (PON), linked below, stating that action item is "Applicable to communities that pay for the electricity for most of the street lights within the jurisdiction." We are submitting the documentation that this upgrade was made and are requesting the points.

    PE3 Action: Financing Mechanism for Government Energy Projects

    5 Points

    Program Summary: We have attached documentation for Erie County's Paris Fund. The Paris Fund, which was established in the County’s 2020 budget, reinvests half of the previous year’s cost savings achieved through energy conservation and waste reduction projects in sustainability initiatives.

    PE3 Action: Incentives for Employee Carpooling & Transit

    3 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County has recently become members of 511NY Rideshare and is promoting alternative wasys to commute rather than in a single occupied vehicle. We held two workshops for employees to attend to learn about the program and the newly made parking garage for those that bike to work, Earth Day poster is attached. The Green Team also speaks to all newly hired employees at their orientation day and the green commute program is described there. Slide from powerpoint attached. Link to 511NY rideshare is below:

  • 4. Shift to clean, renewable energy.

    PE4 Action: Renewable Energy Feasibility Studies

    3 Points

    Program Summary: Feasibility study to install a geothermal system in a County facility

    PE4 Action: Heat Pumps

    22 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County has completed installation of 4 heat pumps at 4 of our municipal facilities; Wendt Beach, Emery Fieldhouse, Como Lake Lancaster House and Grover Cleveland Pro Shop. These units were installed between November 2020 – January 2021. Erie County received the approval from NYSERDA that indicates completion of the Clean Energy Communities Clean Heating and Cooling Demo high-impact action.

    PE4 Action: Solar Energy Installation

    20 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County educated the public in many ways on the installation of the solar arrays at Alden. A press release was first made public on the County entering into the PPA with the solar companies and the Alden Correctional Facility was specified as a place where an array would be constructed: Additionally, the solar array was highlighted in the Erie County Commits to Paris Report as well as the Climate Action & Sustainabilty Plan for Internal Operations.

    PE4 Action: Power Purchase Agreement for Renewables

    9 Points

    Program Summary: Attached is the executed PPA agreement Erie County is in utilizing solar energy at the Alden Correctional Facility. A screen capture of the production is also included which shows daily, monthly, annual and lifetime production, a five-day production graph from November 21-25, 2020 and equivalent impact metrics are also indicated to the right of the capture. The system has been operating since 5/1/2018 and the size of the array is 2.01 MW

  • 5. Use climate-smart materials management.

    PE5 Action: Waste Reduction Education Campaign

    2 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County has begun utilizing Recycle Coach, an app that gives a way to engage, teach and explore the issues that are impacting municipalities waste and recycling programs. It is a digital transformation of information to improve service and lower costs. Recycle Coach's approach to recycling education is to focus on the wants and needs of residents. This tool is available over multiple platforms, and is customize-able to each municipality's unique recycling and waste systems. Information on the program can be found at: An informational write up on Erie County's full waste reduction campaign, participation and metrics around RecycleCoach, public engagement plan, and outreach strategies are attached. Also attached is the flyer that will be included in all outreach activities.

  • 6. Implement climate-smart land use.

    PE6 Action: Comprehensive Plan with Sustainability Elements

    15 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: The One Region Forward plan contains many sustainability elements. The attached memo describes the elements that are within the plan, the page number(s) to find the elements, and the robust outreach and education from the community to develop the plan. The pdf was too large to upload to the portal, please follow the link to view: Also attached is the documentation for Erie County's resolution seeking authorization for the County Executive to execute the Implementation Council Charter and direct County departments to adhere to One Region Forward principles when taking actions affecting physical development within the region. This approved memo can also be found on the Erie County Legislature webpage, Session 7/16/15, meeting #14

    PE6 Action: Infrastructure for Biking and Walking

    10 Points

    Program Summary: **Added language in last two paragraphs, as well as submitted documents, addressing the additional 7 points requested in 2020** The Buffalo Niagara Regional Bicycle Master Plan was a collaboration between the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC), the consultant team led by Alta Planning + Design, the GBNRTC’s Bicycle Subcommittee and interested residents and stakeholders. Erie County had active members on the bicycle subcommittee as the Plan was being developed: Bicycle Subcommittee Members To help guide the Regional Bicycle Master Plan, a Bicycle Subcommittee was organized by GBNRTC. It includes representatives from public agencies (local, regional and statewide) and bicycle, trail, and environmental advocates. The Subcommittee included GBNRTC staff along with the following individuals:  Justin Booth, GObike Buffalo  Nadine Chalmers, NFTA  Jim Cuozzo, NYSDOT Region 5  Julie Fetzer, City of Buffalo DPW  John Gerlach, City of Niagara Falls  Garret Meal, Niagara County  Mark Mistretta, NYS Parks  Alan Nusbaum, City of Niagara Falls Planning  Mark Rountree, Erie County Planning  Gregory Stevens, Niagara River Greenway  Darlene Svilokos, Erie County  Gina Wilkolaski, Erie County Bike Buffalo Niagara, the Regional Bicycle Master Plan for Erie and Niagara Counties will serve as a guide for GBNRTC, state agencies, counties, municipalities, advocacy groups and private businesses and foundations to work together to provide a transportation system that safely integrates bicyclists in a coordinated and holistic manner. Attached is the Executive Summary for the Bicycle Master Plan. The full version was too large to download, but can be found here: The additional 7 points requested by Erie County is for the creation of a secure bicycle garage for employees to utilize if they ride their bike to work, and accessibility to our ride and bike share program. The garage is located in front of our main building downtown and can be accessed by over 2000 employees. This parking garage is unique because it typically is a significant cost to EC employees to park downtown, but a bicyclist could park here for free. Attached is the waiver, rules and registration form for employees looking to utilize the bicycling parking garage. Additionally, Erie County is part of the NY511 rideshare program, which offers employees the ability to match up with fellow employees who would like to carpool or bicycle to work together. This ride/bike share program aims to reduce the County's commuter emissions, which are some of the highest emissions out of our operations. As of 9/2020, thre were 117 County employees utilizing the rideshare program.

    PE6 Action: Alternative-fuel Infrastructure

    18 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: Thirteen EV charging stations have been installed on Erie County properties and are accessible for public use. Attached is the EV station activation log which shows the date of installation at each location as well as a screen capture of the 'real-time' dashboard program used by our Department of Public Works to monitor the station and their usage. Also attached is a screen shot of a map created for the public to use to find electric charging stations in Erie County. This map is available on the Erie County website:

    PE6 Action: Natural Resources Inventory

    8 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: The Erie County Natural Resource Inventory is a web-based story map and can be found here: The datasets were compiled through Erie County managed maps as well as federal and NYS agencies. Data source information and download links are available within the applicable data layer. These maps were compiled together in a Arc-GIS program and turned into an interactive storybook set of maps which are tabbed by topic. The following tabs above contain map viewers and NRI data by topic: · Geology and Soils · Water Resources · Parks, Protected Lands, & Natural Habitat · Land Use & Land Cover · Public Health Within in each tab, you can read about the natural resource data, view an interactive map, and use the pan/zoom and magnifier buttons to search for a location on the map. A User can view datasets, change the basemap to options like aerial photography, and make any data layer more transparent to better view overlapping datasets. The Interactive Map – All Data tab lists every dataset used in the NRI along with Erie County parcel data in one map viewer. The Additional Resources tab provides links to data and mapping websites than can assist Erie County communities with NRI projects.

  • 7. Enhance community resilience to climate change.

    PE7 Action: Cooling Centers

    6 Points

    Program Summary: The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) offers cooling centers to the public. The attached document has information on these cooling centers as well as information that was shared by their Social Media accounts. COVID-19 restrictions has made it more difficult but ECDOH was still able to provide the service through the use of the County's Public libraries. The Libraries offered extended hours during peak heat advisory warnings.

    PE7 Action: Green Infrastructure

    4 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County is submitting for 7 points for this action item. This is how the points break down: Complete at least two hours of green infrastructure training 1pt Erie County’s code enforcement officers attended the NYSDEC Green Infrastructure Standards Trainings sponsored by the Western New York Stormwater Coalition (WNYSC). This training was a six-hour training course. A description of the training and the list of attendees is attached. Complete a feasibility study for green infrastructure 2pts Erie County completed the Seneca Bluffs Feasibility Study (file attached) on February 12, 2021. Implement a green infrastructure project. Points are based on the project’s estimated amount of water treated or captured: 5,000 cubic feet or more 4 pts Projects: Various Cistern projects are underway in Erie County. We will upload the documentation for those projects which will capture greater than 5,000 cubic feet to qualify for the 4 points for this action.

    PE7 Action: Culverts & Dams

    4 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County has completed several of these action items, details of which are attached. The PE7 Culverts & Dams doc has a breakdown of the 18 points we are requesting. Supporting documentation has also been uploaded.

    PE7 Action: Riparian Buffers

    2 Points

    Program Summary: The Watershed Coordinator in the Erie County Department of Environment & Planning oversaw the development of the Riparian Assessment.

    PE7 Action: Nature-based Shorelines

    2 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County’s Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park once had severely undercut eroded shorelines that were devoid of vegetation. In cooperation with the County, a 3,000 linear foot shoreline restoration project was completed by the US Army Corps of Engineers who developed a Nature-Based Shoreline along the Buffalo River. This project softened the shoreline, providing water access for both humans and wildlife Erie County is implementing the monitoring and maintenance plan created by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to support the success of the project long-term. This includes regular park inspections of the project features, seeding and plantings, and invasive species management. We are uploading the 2015 Conceptual Plan and the 2020 Operations and Maintenance Plan for this project. Additional years can be supplied if necessary. This should qualify Erie County for 4 points in the action.

    PE7 Action: Watershed Plan for Water Quality

    6 Points

    Program Summary: The Regional Niagara River/ Lake Erie Watershed Management Plan was finalized in 2019 and involved building partnerships, identifying contributing factors, issues and trends affecting our water resources. The Plan sets goals for improvement and outlines strategies to meet those goals and identifies areas of concern and priority projects. Additionally, performance management is essential to this plan. This watershed management plan is an on-going process that continually re-evaluates itself and reacts to the changing conditions of the watershed. It is essential to the planning and implementation process that the watershed’s citizens, municipalities, stakeholders and other organizations are involved at the very beginning. Their role helps guide the planning process and ensures waters are managed in line with local values. The Regional Niagara River/ Lake Erie Watershed Management Plan covers the entire Erie County Watershed and identifies water quality baseline testing, areas of concern, causes & contributors to water quality impairments, local laws and practices affecting watersheds, project inventory, goals & recommendations, and the next phase strategies. The full document can be found on the Erie County website (and is uploaded below):

  • 8. Support a green innovation economy.

    PE8 Action: Green Economic Development Plans

    4 Points

    Program Summary: Attached is a summary containing links to the County's economic development plans

    PE8 Action: Buy Local/Buy Green Campaign

    2 Points

    Program Summary: Link to website: Erie County Executive Mark C Poloncarz created the Office of Agriculture in 2020 to address the loss of farmland, improve the viability of farming, and assist rural municipalities with planning for Agriculture. These roles are even more important now given the devastating impacts of COVID 19 in the Agricultural sector of our economy. “One of the most effective ways to help support the viability of farming is to promote the purchase of local and regional farm products, and to encourage all county residents to ‘buy local’” said County Executive Poloncarz. “Buying local fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, flowers, etc not only supports our farmers and farm workers and helps to strengthen our local economy, it also provides a nourishing and healthy food supply that we all need in times like this”. In order to facilitate this objective, the Office of Agriculture has created this Erie Grown website. Erie Grown is Erie County's initiative to promote locally grown and in-season produce as well as maple syrup, honey, and agritourism activities. We hope to better connect consumers to farmers, farmers markets, and local foods by linking available goods with those who would like to buy them. The website lists the local and green vendors that participate in the Erie Grown Campaign. These participating vendor websites are linked as well.

    PE8 Action: Brownfield Clean-up & Redevelopment

    4 Points

    Program Summary: Clean up brownfield site - 2 pts Document: NYSDEC Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site Delist Notice and Erie County Executive Press Release – December 6, 2012 Response: Erie County working with the NYSDEC, the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and other State, Federal and local agencies and officials completed a brownfield remediation of the 47 acre former manufacturing plant at 310 Wheeler Street in the City of Tonawanda. The Spaulding Fibre plant closed in 1992. Site cleanup required characterization and remediation of site contamination along with demolition of 860,000 square feet of abandoned buildings. Use the brownfield site for green industry or green business siting - 2 pts Document: 5335 RIVER ROAD ASSOCIATES LLC Book-Page/Date 11250-7395 * 8/1/2013 Response: Upon site delisting and remediation, the brownfield property located at 5335 River Road was sold to 5335 River Road Associates LLC per the above referenced property transfer record. 5335 River Road Associates is part of Riverview Solar Technology Park. Riverview Solar Technology Park, New York’s first solar-ready business park, is a place where real estate development and solar project development blend seamlessly in a picturesque setting overlooking the Niagara River. The 200 acre business park offers both existing commercial space and shovel-ready land for new construction. In addition to the various solar applications that are utilized throughout the Solar Park to provide power to their tenants, all buildings within this development are constructed using the latest green construction methods to minimize their environmental impact. The Park also acts as a living solar lab, where the future of solar technology is tested and implemented to improve energy efficiency and energy production for all tenants. Solar technologies that can be currently found in the park include: thin film solar technology, roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, ground-mounted solar arrays, and building integrated photovoltaics. For more info see this page:

    PE8 Action: PACE Financing

    7 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County adopted a PACE local law in February 2019, just as it was changing to Open C-PACE, and as a result an MOU was never signed. Erie County adopted the Open C-PACE local law in 2021 and the paperwork to complete the MOU, which was delayed due to the pandemic, has been submitted and finalized. Erie County is looking forward to working with our partners at EnergizeNY, NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Community program, the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency to promote PACE. A workshop is currently being planned. Erie County is listed on the Municipalities in New York State with an OPEN C-PACE Program website as a participating municipality

    PE8 Action: Rooftop Solarize Campaign

    3 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County received their approval from NYSERDA on this campaign in January of 2021. Attached is the email showing the approval as well as the supporting documents.

  • 9. Inform and inspire the public.

    PE9 Action: Climate-related Public Events

    3 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County Department of Environment & Planning participated in the Erie County Department of Senior Services’ University Express, a program to educate the public on a variety of topics with a focus on senior citizens. A description of the events and hyperlinks are in the document attached. A copy of page 9 of the University Express catalog with the environmental topics covered by DEP in 2021 is attached.

    PE9 Action: Local Climate Action Website

    3 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County Climate Action is Erie County’s green initiative to develop an equity-centered Community Climate Action Plan, to identify actions we can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help the community adapt to our changing climate. The attached document has the website.

    PE9 Action: Social Media

    3 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County is very active on social media, using that platform to inform residents of our events and to promote our programs. twitter: @erieCODEP

  • 10. Engage in an evolving process of climate action.

    PE10 Action: Annual Progress Report

    4 Points

    Program Summary: The Erie COunty Commits to Paris report is updated annually and is available to the public on our website below or at www/ The 2020 report is uploaded below

  • 11. Innovation

    Innovation: New Innovative Actions

    3 Points

    Program Summary: Erie County was instrumental in the creation of the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable, a business-driven organization that seeks to create an economically and environmentally resilient Buffalo-Niagara.