Sustainability Accomplishments

The Town of Ithaca has demonstrated its commitment to be a leader in sustainability through several actions and initiatives. A sampling is highlighted below.


Created a Full-Time Sustainability Planner Position

Adopted the Ithaca Energy Code Supplement

Adopted the Ithaca Energy Code Supplement (IECS), code requirements for new construction that will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions while emphasizing affordability. Learn more on the Town Codes page and here.

houses with solar
2011 & 2021

Produced GHG Emissions Inventories

Adopted a Form-Based Code

Learn more about form-based code on the Planning Department’s page about new neighborhood code.


Researched Existing Building Policy

Collaborated with the Town of Bedford and Saratoga Springs on existing building policy; developed three model laws.

Clean Heating Campaign

Ran Clean Heating Campaign in partnership with HeatSmart Tompkins, resulting in community heat pump installations and $5,000 in grant funding.

heat smart tompkins logo

Adopted Green New Deal

The main goal of the Town’s Green New Deal is to achieve an equitable transition to carbon-neutrality Town-wide by 2030. The Town also set two goals for its own operations to be met by 2025: to meet the electricity needs of Town government operations with 100% regionally sourced renewable electricity and to reduce emissions from the Town fleet of vehicles by 50%.

Green Fleet

Adopted the Town’s first Green Fleet Policy.

ithaca green fleet
ev charging station

EVs and Charging Stations

Installed an electric vehicle (EV) charging station at Town Hall (2019), added two EVs to the Town fleet, and partnered in EV Tompkins, to increase the number of local EV drivers.

Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)

Purchased renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset GHG emissions from purchased electricity (Various years)


Clean Energy Community

Designated as a NYSERDA Clean Energy Community.

Climate Smart Community

Attained NYS DEC Climate Smart Community Status at the Bronze level (first Town or City in Southern Tier to do so)

climate smart community logo

Residential Energy Score Project (RESP)

Led the Residential Energy Score Project (RESP), a collaboration with four other Tompkins County municipalities to develop a residential energy score program to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes. New York State rolled out regional pilot programs in several locations across the state, including Ithaca, partly due to these efforts. Learn more about RESP.

EPA Green Power Partnership

EPA Green Power Partnership – Green Power Leadership Club.

leadership cert

Solar Energy Regulations

Adopted solar energy regulations to facilitate development and operation of solar systems.

Town Composting

Initiated composting programs at Town facilities.


Wastewater Treatment

The Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility, recognized by the U.S. DOE for its efforts, has improved the efficiency of its operations dramatically and offsets its energy needs on-site through the production and use of biogas.

National Sustainability Initiatives

Leveraged and promoted local and national sustainability initiatives


Green Purchasing Policy

Adopted a Green Purchasing Policy

Comprehensive Plan

Adopted the Comprehensive Plan, which features sustainability as a thread-through theme and contains a chapter on energy and climate protection


Energy Action Plan

Adopted the Government Energy Action Plan, and met the goal of reducing GHG emissions in government operations by 30% by 2020.

First Town Sustainability Planner

Created a shared Sustainability Planner position.


Climate Pledge

Adopted the NYS DEC Climate Smart Communities Pledge.