Buffalo, Erie County become Certified Climate Smart Communities

Climate change illustration
Illustration by Connie Oswald Stofko

The City of Buffalo and Erie County are the newest municipalities in Western New York to be become Certified Climate Smart Communities.

They were recognized for the steps they have taken in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience.

The Climate Smart Community program provides guidance and technical support to local governments to take locally driven climate action.

What Buffalo, Erie County accomplished

Buffalo’s Green Code is an example of climate-smart land use. The city has installed electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city and improved infrastructure for biking and walking. As part of shifting to clean, renewable energy, the city has also installed solar photovoltaic arrays at 17 different municipal facilities.

Erie County is conducting local inventories of greenhouse gas emissions, installing electric vehicle charging stations, and implementing methods to decrease energy use in their buildings. As part of evaluating their climate adaption capacity, Erie County created an online natural resource inventory and is working within the community by actively supporting the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable and working with stakeholders on the Erie County Community Climate Change Task Force.

The specific actions that each of the municipalities took to achieve certification can be viewed by accessing their certification reports here

You can live in a Climate Smart Community

Other cities, towns and villages in Western New York are registered as Climate Smart Communities. See if your community is one of them.

These registered communities have taken the first step toward certification by pledging to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. The certification program was launched in 2014 to document and celebrate the accomplishments of leading communities. Since 2014, New York State has designated 37 certified Climate Smart Communities.

If your community isn’t registered yet, find out how you and other residents can work to achieve the designation.

Benefits include:

  • Cost savings through greater efficiency
  • Greater energy independence and energy security
  • Improved air quality from switching to clean energy
  • Healthier, more walkable urban centers through smart growth
  • Conservation of green spaces for recreation and biodiversity
  • Reduction of future flood risk through climate change adaptation strategies
  • Investment in an economy that supports sustainability and green businesses
  • Greater engagement with residents who care about the future of their hometowns
  • Better scores on grant applications for some state funding programs, like DEC’s CSC Grants

New York’s Climate Smart Community program is jointly sponsored by the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Department of State, Department of Health, Department of Transportation, and the Department of Public Service.

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