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Ithaca Green New Deal Aims to Electrify 6,000 Buildings

Historic Ithaca is replacing heating systems in historic facilities

By Maura Keller, Contributing Writer  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Ithaca, New York, Embraces Robust Electrification Plan Pt. 2: This Page

As the local preservation organization, Historic Ithaca handles historic and existing building needs by working with private owners to make necessary changes and updates to its buildings. The organization also works on education efforts to ensure that people understand what existing buildings stand for, including electrification work in the pursuit of Ithaca’s climate goals. 

“With building electrification, a core tenet of the Ithaca Green New Deal, we wanted to be able to practice what we preach and showcase how building electrification doesn’t sacrifice any of the existing building needs or structures. It helps sustain them,” says Susan Holland, executive director, Historic Ithaca. “We are a connector in the community, sharing information and knowledge in the fight for climate justice.” 

Additionally, Historic Ithaca hosts the Work Preserve, the organization’s job readiness and placement program, allowing participants to build transferable job skills and experience through hands-on training.  

“We want our students who are going through these trainings to also have exposure to a green curriculum that values the shared mission of our community to be on the forefront of climate action,” Holland says. 

Both of Historic Ithaca’s buildings, Significant Elements (the architectural salvage warehouse) and the administrative office, needed an overhaul of their heating systems, as the gas-powered systems were about to turn over. The construction process consisted of replacing the old heating equipment with electric heating and cooling systems. 

“Due to the electrification projects, we now have better heating systems, and the first-ever air conditioning system in both our store and administrative buildings,” Holland says. Since both buildings were created at the turn of the 20th Century, BlocPower also provided weatherization updates to both of the buildings to ensure that both buildings were equipped for the rapidly changing climate in Ithaca. 

So how are the city’s businesses and organizations, as well as the general public, responding to the city’s initiatives with the decarbonization efforts and the Ithaca Green New Deal (IGND)?? 

“It’s still hard to tell, despite the fact that we have many supporters that are eager to make progress toward net-zero,” Evans says. “I don't know that we have residents who are staunchly against what the IGND is attempting to achieve, but in order to start their own electrification journey, costs will need to come down.” 

Related Content: Washington State First to Incorporate Electrification Into Energy Codes

BlocPower is excited to continue working with residents and building owners as they begin to expand their own electrification journey.  

“As the city works to achieve its goal of electrifying 6,000 buildings, we will continue coordinating and developing retrofitting and weatherization projects, ensuring that community members have access to clean energy technology, and expanding the green workforce in both Ithaca and across the state,” Bodnaruk says. 

Holland stresses that the decarbonization movement in Ithaca benefits the city’s buildings in many ways.  

“Now, we have adequate heating and cooling systems that allow our staff, trainees, and patrons to have a more comfortable experience in our office and store,” Holland says. “Our electrification projects have also allowed us to be able to share first-hand experience of what construction looks like for home and building owners that are looking to do the same work in their own homes and educate those who haven’t thought about engaging with decarbonization.” 

Ithaca is focused on embracing a city-wide decarbonization movement and the commercial buildings that have been or are soon-to-be electrified include:  

  • Gimme Coffee (Café and roastery) 
  • Significant Elements (Nonprofit architectural warehouse) 
  • Historic Ithaca (Nonprofit organization) 
  • Ithaca Piercing & Tattoee (Retail) 
  • First Baptist Church (Place of worship) 
  • St. James AME (Place of worship) 
  • Lifelong Senior Center (Nonprofit) 
  • Aeroplane Factory (Office space) 
  • Circus Culture (Cultural organization) 
  • Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Plant Administrative Building (Municipal) 
  • Petrune & Home Green Home (Retail) 

Maura Keller is a freelance writer based in Plymouth, Minnesota. 

Continue Reading: Energy

Ithaca, New York, Embraces Robust Electrification Plan

Ithaca Green New Deal Aims to Electrify 6,000 Buildings

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  posted on 5/21/2024   Article Use Policy

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