Great Neck Plaza is acting on its commitment to going green, with a plan to annually publish municipal energy use.
“When municipalities know energy use, it aides them in conserving and reducing it more,” Mayor Jean Celender said. “It’s an incentive to continue to make goals that will encourage more efficiency.”
The village board of trustees unanimously approved the plan at its Dec. 21 meeting.
The new law requires the village to publish energy data for its municipal buildings by May 1, 2017, and then annually, to measure the village’s energy consumption over time. Energy-use statistics such as a building’s total size and greenhouse gas emissions will be posted on the village website.
Energy benchmarking is designed to help “identify opportunities to cut costs and reduce pollution” in the village, according to the law. It will also enable the village to compare its energy use to similar buildings nationwide.
The plan was adopted as part of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Smart Communities program — a network of more than 170 municipalities across the state that have pledged to reduce the risks of climate change. Communities are encouraged to adopt climate-smart practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through measures such as relying more on renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.
As part of the pledge, communities acknowledge the increasing threat of climate change and commit to “sustained and substantial efforts” to reduce emissions and adapt to a changing climate.
Great Neck Plaza signed up with the state program in October 2012. In February 2016, the board passed a climate action plan setting goals such as upgrading to energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the village and installing electric-vehicle charging stations, two steps now underway.
Reporting energy use is the latest “high-impact” item to lower the village’s energy footprint, Celender said. If the village is one of the first in the state to adopt energy benchmarking, it could potentially receive a $100,000 state grant, she added.
Benchmarking could help Great Neck Plaza significantly lower its energy bills. When Suffolk County passed a climate action plan in June, it announced that the county had saved more than $5 million annually from reduced energy use.