D E C banner
D E C banner


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added a link to a translation service developed by Microsoft Inc., entitled Bing Translator, as a convenience to visitors to the DEC website who speak languages other than English.

Additional information can be found at DEC's Language Assistance Page.

Community Sustainability

Limiting Climate Risk, Promoting a Green Economy

Building/Library beside road with cars out front and a small image of LEED certified plague superimposed in bottom right
The library serving the Town and Village of Ossining
meets the highest standard for efficiency
Green sign about green designed affordable housing in front of house
Living is affordable in an efficient house that
uses less energy and saves consumer dollars

New Yorkers already are experiencing climate change, in the form of extreme precipitation events and higher coastal storm surges.

Projections for coming decades include more frequent and longer heat waves and extended dry spells. New climate conditions could reduce agricultural productivity, and may no longer support some of our treasured marine, forest and animal species.

The disruption and costs of climate change burden households, farmers and businesses, and also intensify demands on local public health and safety agencies.

In response, communities across the state are choosing energy efficiency, clean energy and climate resilience. New York State is working in partnership with foresighted localities to turn climate and energy challenges into opportunities that lead to a sustainable, "green" economy.

New York State Supports Community Action

garden with two trees and red flowers next to a wall of a building
Rain gardens help make properties
sustainable and beautiful

Heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions must fall significantly if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Nearly half of the greenhouse gas emission reductions we need to achieve depend on municipalities. Municipal land use decisions determine how much energy local transportation and buildings consume -- and therefore how much greenhouse gas these activities emit.

Similarly, localities are key to improving New York's climate resilience. Preparing for new climate conditions reduces communities' risks and offers opportunities to increase attractiveness and livability.

Knowing their power to make a crucial difference, hundreds of New York municipalities already have committed to act on energy and climate. These communities take pride in serving local needs while helping to build a sustainable economy for everyone's future.

Cleaner, Greener Communities

Cleaner, Greener Communities (link on right under Leaving DEC's Website) is a competitive State grants program that funds locally designed sustainability plans and projects. Its focus is integrating statewide investments with regional and local decision making on land use, housing, transportation, infrastructure, energy and environmental practices.

Tables with red checkered tablecloths with produce on top and man standing one side and woman the other buying food
Farmers Markets set up a sustainable relationship between growers and consumers

In Cleaner, Greener Communities Phase 1, regional sustainability plans (link on right) were prepared by consortia of municipalities in ten economic development regions. The plans outline strategies and projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and deploy renewable energy. They emphasize urban revitalization and "green" infrastructure, but tailor these strategies to regional and local needs.

White single decker bus with blue writing and the words hybrid electric on the side
Public transportation - especially using low-carbon
fuels and hybrid technology - improves any community's mobility and efficiency

Cleaner, Greener Communities Phase 2 funds projects that implement the regional sustainability plans. The Phase 2 link on right leads to details of the funding process.

Climate Smart Communities

Through a network of coordinators and program services, Climate Smart Communities are engaged in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resilience.

Climate Smart Communities supports municipalities as they plan and carry out climate-friendly actions that match community goals and save taxpayer dollars. Over 160 New York municipalities have made the decision to engage their citizens in energy efficiency, renewable energy and the green economy through the ten program elements in the Climate Smart Communities pledge.

Road with sidewalk and blue lines indicating disabled access and sloping path with flowers and plants either side
Walkable communities emphaze
wheelchair accessibility
NY identifier with outline of map of NYS in blue to the left and the words Climate Smart Communities in blue to the right.
Communities that have adopted the Climate Smart
Communities pledge use the Climate Smart
Communities logo to show their commitment to
local climate action

By enabling localities to act on climate without mandating which programs or policies they should adopt, Climate Smart Communities helps localities to discover and adopt the measures that will work best for them, and to create sustainable, vibrant and attractive places to live and work.

A Foundation for Sustainability and Community Success

Together, Climate Smart Communities and Cleaner, Greener Communities are creating regional networks of community support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the state, lower costs to municipal taxpayers and increase activity in the new "green" sector of the economy.

Climate Smart Communities are positioned for leadership in climate planning and success in gaining incentives. These communities served as leaders in several Cleaner, Greener Communities regional sustainability plans, helping their regions to benefit from as much as $90 million in state Cleaner, Greener Communities funding.

Adoption of the measures developed in sustainability plans and enabled by Climate Smart Communities and Cleaner, Greener Communities are expected to lead to more livable neighborhoods and communities that can retain residents and businesses while attracting new citizens and economic opportunities.

More about Community Sustainability: