News & Noteworthy

Clean Energy Communities 2023 Update – Webinar Recording

By | News & Noteworthy, Our Blog

Clean Energy Communities 2023 Update – Webinar Recording

Many local municipalities and sustainability committees tuned into the Clean Energy Communities (CEC) 2023 Program Update Meeting. If you missed the meeting or would like to review the content, this blog post is for you.

During the webinar on August 10th, the Hudson Valley Regional Council provided an overview of the CEC Campaign Guidelines and Sustainable Westchester explained how our EnergySmart Homes and Solar Programs can support your municipality’s Clean Heating and Cooling (Heat Pump) and Community Solar campaign efforts. Municipal representatives also shared their experiences and best practices learned during their CEC Campaigns.

Funding for the Clean Energy Communities program has been expanded. With the new Achievement Levels, communities can earn up to 3,800 points and $97,500 and $290,000 for small and large communities, respectively. Municipalities that have previously completed campaigns are eligible for new funding opportunities. Please refer to the image provided for a breakdown of each campaign type and tier.

Sustainable Westchester can be your municipality’s partner in offering CEC Community Campaigns. To learn more about these campaign review the materials below:

  • To get started on your Clean Heating and Cooling (Heat Pump) community campaign, access template scoping documents and review details please reach out to Lauren Brois,
  • To get started on your Community Solar community campaign, access template scoping documents and review details please reach out to Carmen Santos,

Quick Link for CEC resources:

Earth Day 2023

By | News & Noteworthy, Our Blog

Earth Day 2023

This Earth Day, Sustainable Westchester had the honor of participating in events with numerous member municipalities around the County. Local communities in Westchester held well-attended festivals, clean ups, and educational events. We thank them for the opportunity to be involved with these events and look forward to many more.

New Yorkers For Clean Power Are Turning Up for NY HEAT!

By | News & Noteworthy, Our Blog

New Yorkers For Clean Power Are Turning Up for NY HEAT!

Authored By: Molly Levitt, Sustainable Westchester Intern

On Tuesday, May 23rd, proponents of the NY Home Energy Affordable Transition (HEAT) Act came from all over the state to voice their support in Albany. Three of our very own from Sustainable Westchester made the journey to aid in the effort to pass this important bill.

The NY HEAT Act is a landmark piece of legislation which will help shift New York State away from its reliance on oil and natural gas, and provide relief for residents struggling with the rising cost of energy. It ends subsidies for natural gas such as the “100 Foot Rule”, which requires utility companies to hook up customers to natural gas with no cost if they live within 100 feet of an existing gas main. It also retires old gas grids that are no longer necessary and empowers utility companies to replace them with zero-emission options. These measures will save energy customers $200 million per year in their energy bills. This bill supports zero-emissions forms of heating energy such as heat pumps, geothermal energy, and thermal energy networks, that don’t release dangerous pollutants and are safer for our communities. The bill will make sure to support the transition every step of the way so that jobs are not only preserved, but created.

The “HEAT” in NY HEAT stands for Home Energy Affordable Transition. Keeping true to the name, this law will cap home energy bills for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers at 6% of their annual household income, providing much-needed relief for these families. Between the rate cap and the moratorium on unnecessary support for outdated oil and gas systems, New Yokers for Clean Power (NYCP) estimates that the typical New Yorker will save as much as $75 a month on their energy bills.

Right now is a crucial time for this legislation. New York State just recently passed the 2023 budget, in which we saw some big wins for the environment. For instance, the new budget includes the All-Electric Buildings Act, which bans the use of fossil fuels in new buildings built in New York state. However, NY HEAT didn’t make it through to the final budget, which means the future of this bill has not been decided. There are only a few weeks left in this year’s legislative session. Time is running out to impact the upcoming year’s budget and legislative priorities.

Many elected officials from both houses of the state government who have sponsored or co sponsored NY HEAT spoke in front of the crowd. In fact, many of our own representatives from Westchester have supported this bill. Representatives Dana Levenberg, Chris Burdick, Maryjane Shimsky, Amy Paulin, and Steven Otis co sponsored the bill in the State Assembly. Senators Pete Harckham and Shelley Mayer co-sponsored the bill in the NY Senate. Additionally, among the demonstrators were many leaders from community-based organizations such as Mothers Out Front and No NBK Pipeline, an organization in Brooklyn that successfully blocked National Grid from building two new fracked gas vaporizers in environmental justice communities in Brooklyn.

Our Sustainable Westchester interns were part of this great demonstration. Afterwards, they met with elected officials who have cosponsored the bill package we are advocating for to personally thank them and ensure their continued support going forward. In fact, as the interns made their rounds, many of the representatives they tried to meet with were already on the floor, lending their voices to help pass NY HEAT.

NY HEAT is a vital, trailblazing piece of legislation that will put our state on the right path to carbon neutrality, safer communities, and affordability. We once again would like to shout out the other nonprofit organizations supporting NY HEAT and to all the assemblymen and senators co sponsoring the bill. Stay tuned for more updates on NY HEAT!

Three of our high school interns sitting on the Million-Dollar Staircase in the Legislative Office Building just after the rally for NY Heat. After this, they headed out to talk with elected officials. From left to right: Molly Levitt (yours truly!), Talia London, Jada Fleiss.

You may remember this unit of measurement – the mole – from your high school chemistry class. This is what one mole of a gas looks like. Did you know that your gas-powered car releases 200 moles of carbon dioxide and 10 moles of dangerous carbon monoxide into the air for every mile you travel? Thank you to the folks in Albany for this powerful demonstration of the effects of gas-powered vehicles. If you are able to, consider making the switch to electric, and walk and take public transit whenever you can!

The rally on the steps of the Million Dollar Staircase at 12:30. Demonstrators heard from community leaders, co-sponsors of the NY Heat Act from the State Senate and Assembly – who then went straight to the meeting on the floor to voice their support – and Patricia Fahy and Liz Kreuger, the sponsors of the bill in the Assembly and Senate, respectively.

Request for Qualifications: From Building Decarbonization Solution Providers For Inclusion in Sustainable Westchester’s Preferred Vendor List

By | News & Noteworthy

Sustainable Westchester’s Building Decarbonization: Commercial Properties and Network Program aims to develop a vetted list of preferred solution providers to recommend to our clients. We seek submissions detailing your qualifications for consideration to decarbonize buildings across our member municipalities.

We welcome qualifications from providers who offer the following solutions:

● Thermal Energy Networks
● Geothermal
● Air Source Heat Pumps
● Building Envelope
● Thermal Storage
● Waste Heat Recovery
● Heat Pump Hot Water Heaters/Desuperheaters
● Induction Stovetops
● Overcladding
● Building Controls/EMS

Unsure if your solution qualifies? Reach out to us.

Important Dates:
Written RFQ Questions are due no later than May 5, 2023.
RFQ submission deadline is May 26, 2023.

For full RFQ details and the submission form click here. RFQ submissions and/or questions should be emailed as a .pdf to Rachel Carpitella, Program Director, Sustainable Westchester,

Lauren Brois and Dan Welsh from Sustainable Westchester on The Many Shades of Green Podcast

By | News & Noteworthy, Our Blog

Episode Published on April 13, 2023

Lauren Brois, Director of EnergySmart Homes, and Dan Welsh, Director of Westchester Power, spoke with Maxine Margo Rubin about the GridRewards 2023 season and more!

Listen to the Episode Here!
Episodes are available on Spotify, iTunes, and

About The Many Shades of Green Podcast
Broadcast veterans Maxine Margo Rubin and Malcolm Burman welcome guests who share stories of positive progress about the environment.

2023 Rivertowns Earth Day Mayors Challenge kicks off March 23!

By | News & Noteworthy, Our Blog

2023 Rivertowns Earth Day Mayors Challenge kicks off March 23!

Mayors from Hastings to Sleepy Hollow engage in friendly competition; encouraging residents to sign up for Sustainable Westchester’s GridRewards to illustrate the importance of synchronicity when it comes to energy reduction. Challenge takes place now through April 28, 2023.


Photo Description: The Rivertowns Mayors are excited to encourage their residents to save money and energy with Sustainable Westchester’s GridRewards. Pictured from Left to Right: Dobbs Ferry Village Administrator, Richard Leins; Elmsford Village Administrator, Michael Mills; Mayor of Elmsford, Robert Williams; Sleepy Hollow Village Administrator, Anthony Giaccio; Mayor of Dobbs Ferry, Vincent Rossillo; Irvington Village Administrator, Larry Schopfer; Mayor of Hastings-on-Hudson Nicola Armacost; Mayor of Tarrytown, Karen Brown; Hastings Village Manager, Mary Beth Murphy; Tarrytown Village Administrator Richard Slingerland; Mayor of Ardsley, Nancy Kaboolian


Scroll down the page to see the current rankings!

Westchester County, NY, March 23, 2023 It’s GridRewards season once again and the Mayors of the Rivertowns are spicing things up as we head into Earth Month! GridRewards, a product of Logical Buildings, AI tech leader in sustainability, is an app designed to get large numbers of people to lower their energy consumption at the same time by getting paid to do so.

In order to alleviate stress on the grid when high energy demand is forecasted (think summertime heat waves), GridRewards users are prompted (via the app) to take simple, energy-saving actions, such as raising their thermostat a few degrees, or running dishwashers at off-peak hours. They are then compensated for their efforts — in cash.

Mayors from around the Rivertowns are urging residents, nonprofits and commercial property managers alike to sign up for GridRewards, especially as we near Earth Day on April 22nd. Niki Armacost from Hastings is leading the charge for her Village. “We’re very excited to participate in another Mayor’s Challenge this year using GridRewards! There are many actions people can take to reduce their carbon footprint, but GridRewards is one of the very simplest we’ve seen. And if we all work together – which is of course the real trick and the brilliance of the app, it is not only Rivertowns residents who win, but every person living within a few miles of a polluting Peaker Plant.”

This year, the municipality with the highest enrollment percentage, based upon population size, will win $1,000 from Logical Buildings, the company that developed GridRewards!

When so many users reduce their energy consumption at the same time, or in a synchronized manner, it effectively creates a distributed virtual power plant (VPP) and reduces the need for expensive, polluting, fossil-fuel-powered Peaker Plants — for those hot summer days or when the grid is overworked.

Avoiding the use of Peaker Plants, some feel, is the most important benefit of the GridRewards app. Peaker Plants are not only highly polluting and nearly always in marginalized communities, but over $4.5 billion dollars have been spent maintaining and running them since 2019, despite these power plants only being used 5% of the year. By helping to create a more stable and decarbonized energy grid for their entire region, GridRewards users can reduce our dependence on Peaker Plants.

GridRewards make sense not only for homeowners, but renters, building operators and more — essentially anyone who is paying for energy via a ConEd account. (An online ConEdison account is required for sign up and integration with the app.)

The Rivertowns Mayors challenge kicks off on March 23 and runs until April 28th. The app is free to download and there’s no cost to enroll or participate. You can find additional information on the GridRewards website.

The Results Are In! Hastings-On-Hudson Has Won the 2023 Rivertowns Mayors Earth Day Challenge for GridRewards

This past Earth Month, the Rivertowns Mayors took on an exciting challenge: enroll the most residents in Sustainable Westchester’s GridRewards to help reduce carbon emissions. Hastings took the top spot, enrolling 109 residents and earning the Village a $1,000 prize! Many thanks to all the municipalities who participated and to all the residents who signed up! Together we can reduce carbon emissions and pollution!

Last Updated on May 2, 2023

About GridRewards

GridRewards was developed in 2019 by Logical Buildings, an AI technology solutions leader in sustainability, smart building and virtual power plant software and a solutions provider for the built world. The firm’s revolutionary technologies combat climate change by empowering residential, commercial, and industrial energy users to earn money, enhance building health and reduce carbon footprints through user-friendly, award-winning mobile apps. GridRewards was initially introduced as a digital program in 2019. It was launched as a free app in spring 2021 and is downloadable via the Apple Store and Google Play. Logical Buildings, which was founded in 2012 as a smart building technology software developer, IoT and DER systems integrator, and smart building services provider, currently operates in major national urban markets, including New York, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Camden, Chicago, and Miami, and more. To learn more, visit and follow Logical Buildings on LinkedIn.

About Sustainable Westchester:

Sustainable Westchester is a nonprofit consortium of Westchester County local municipalities facilitating effective collaboration resulting in sustainability initiatives and cutting-edge innovation. Our goal is to bring socially responsible, environmentally sound, and economically viable solutes that create resilient, healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities. For more information, contact Lauren Brois at (914) 242-4725 x122 or or visit for general information.

Dan Welsh Guest Appearance on WRCR AM 1700: Tough Times with Lou Young – Saturday, January 14, 2023

By | News & Noteworthy, Our Blog, Westchester Power

WRCR radio host Lou Young interviews several energy industry professionals about the nature of Community Choice Aggregation programs (CCAs) and their thoughts on the current state and future of the energy market. Westchester Power Program Director Dan Welsh is a guest interviewee on the episode.

The episode aired live on Saturday, January 14, 2023, and is now available on Spotify.

Listen to the episode on Spotify!

Dan is introduced at 20:35.

Peaker Power Plants: Inefficiency, Injustice, and Insights into an Electrified Future Discussed at Sustainable Westchester Webinar

By | News & Noteworthy, Our Blog

Peaker Power Plants: Inefficiency, Injustice, and Insights into an Electrified Future Discussed at Sustainable Westchester Webinar

Authored By: Lauren Kroell


On Thursday, November 10th, Sustainable Westchester hosted a webinar looking at the environmental and social justice impacts of peaker power plants, with guest speakers from the Clean Energy Group (CEG), UPROSE, The Point CDC, and GridRewards by Logical Buildings. Councilwoman Yadira Ramos-Herbert offered opening remarks (District 3, New Rochelle), setting the stage for an insightful discussion on how more mindful energy usage can advance environmental justice.

Peaker power plants – known informally as “peakers” – operate during periods of high energy demand to generate enough electricity to supply the energy grid. Often several decades old and infrequently used, these fossil-fuel powered plants are being seen as an increasingly expensive and inefficient source of energy. Shelley Robbins of the Clean Energy Group (CEG) explained that this is the case in terms of not only the excessive emissions produced, the cost of operation, but also their infrequent time of use – with the average US plant being on less than 5% of the time in a given year.

Speakers also discussed how the close proximity of these peakers to low income populations and communities of color has been a major environmental justice concern – particularly in New York City, which has one of the highest concentrations of peakers nationwide. Victor Davila from The Point CDC noted that exposure to pollutants like nitrous oxide (NOX) – which contributes to the build up of particulate matter (PM2.5) – can weaken cognitive development and increase the rate of cardiovascular disease, both of which are seen in peaker-populated communities. Victor noted that young people in particular “are being given an immediate handicap by being forced to grow up in these conditions.” To capture this, Shelley Robbins took us through the CEG’s Peaker Power Plant Mapping Tool – which offers emissions, operating, and demographic data on peaker plants nationwide. Such a tool offers accessible, empirical evidence of the disproportionate impacts of peaker power plants on marginalized communities.

In breaking down how to address peaker plants, speakers highlighted how past successful movements can offer insightful solutions. Lovinia Reynolds from UPROSE took us through a case study in Sunset Park, where the organization successfully halted repowering plans for one of these peakers – instead replacing it with a battery storage system. Lovinia discussed several other projects currently underway to advance climate resiliency in Sunset Park – including community solar, offshore wind projects, and more.

During the webinar, Westchester residents also learned about how to take action by becoming more mindful energy users. As Lauren Brois, Director of EnergySmart Homes, pointed out, our electricity usage during high-demand times directly contributes to the environmental and social justice impacts associated with peakers. These impacts can be minimized by using GridRewards, an app that offers personalized energy insights to help reduce utility costs and energy waste. Sylvie Binder, Smart Buildings Account Executive at Logical Buildings, explained that reducing our electricity consumption during peak times is the lowest-cost way to manage energy demand – and offers a benefit to participants, as they can be paid for their energy savings.

The webinar saw active engagement from participants and presenters alike about how these discussions connect to current political and economic trends. Funds distributed as part of the newly-passed New York Environmental Bond Act and the mobilization of the Inflation Reduction Act will create clear incentives for the market to invest in renewable energy, thereby reducing our dependence on aging fossil fuel infrastructure like peaker plants. As a result of all the innovation we’re seeing in the world of clean energy and electrification, speakers pointed out that these are actions we can take right now – and indeed being deployed as we speak. Lovinia Reynolds noted that “nothing we do is aspirational, everything is operational…All of this is happening now. If it moves slowly, it’s because it’s never been done before.”

Watch the full webinar at the link here:

Sustainable Westchester is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Mount Kisco. To learn more about GridRewards visit or call 914-242-4725.

VICTORY: Sustainable Westchester Celebrates the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act’s Passing

By | News & Noteworthy, Our Blog

VICTORY: Sustainable Westchester Celebrates the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act’s Passing

Authored By: Lauren Kroell


After several weeks of organizing, distributing materials, and coordinating outreach efforts, Sustainable Westchester joins fellow environmental groups in celebrating the passage of the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act!

This historic measure enables the allocation of $4.2 billion in funding towards environmental measures seeking to improve public health, resource conservation and protection, and overall quality of life across New York State. In light of the large proportion of votes favoring the Bond Act’s passing, New Yorkers have made it clear that infrastructure upgrades, green job creation, the expansion of public green space, building retrofits, and other environmental actions are widely popular – and indeed necessary to meet statewide climate targets.

An undoubtedly crucial factor behind the Bond Act’s passing was the collaborative efforts among environmental groups to raise awareness about the measure, particularly the importance of flipping over your ballot to see the actual proposition. The Vote Yes for Clean Water and Jobs Bond Act Coalition brought together over 200 organizations – Sustainable Westchester included – to work on joint campaign efforts, which included material distribution, social media outreach, and regional press conferences (including one in Peekskill, with Sustainable Westchester in attendance).

We also cannot forget the support of many Westchester municipalities who passed resolutions in support of the Bond Act, including:

  • Village of Hastings-on-Hudson: passed by the Mayor and Board of Trustees on 10/11/22. (Source)
  • Town of Ossining: passed by the Town Board on 9/13/22. (Source)
  • Town of Bedford: passed by Town Board on 8/16/2022. (Source)
  • Village of Croton-on-Hudson: passed by the Board of Trustees on 10/3/2022. (Source)
  • Town of Mamaroneck: passed by the Town Board on 10/3/2022. (Source)
  • Town of Greenburgh: passed by the Town Board on 10/12/2022. (Source)
  • Village of Larchmont: passed by the Board of Trustees on 10/3/2022. (Source)
  • Town of North Salem: passed by the Town Board on 10/25/2022 (Source)
  • Town of New Castle: passed by the Town Board on 10/25/2022 (Source)
  • Village of Ossining: passed by the Board of Trustees on 9/21/2022. (Source)
  • City of New Rochelle: passed by the City Council on 10/12/2022. (Source)
  • Village of Pelham: passed by the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Board of Trustees on 10/11/2022. (Source)
  • Scarsdale Towns: passed by the Village Board on 10/25/2022 (Source)
  • Village of Mamaroneck: passed by the Board of Trustees on 10/11/2022 (Source)
  • Village of Ardsley: passed by the Board of Trustees on 10/3/2022 (Source)
  • Village of Rye Brook: passed by the Board of Trustees on 10/25/2022
  • Rye Town: passed by Town Council on 10/20/202 (Source)
  • Town of Pound Ridge: passed by the Town Board on 10/11/2022 (Source)
  • Village of Dobbs Ferry: passed on 11/7/2022 (newly added from our previous list!)
  • Town of Lewisboro: passed on 11/7/2022 (newly added from our previous list!)

We commend our fellow coalition members, community groups, and Westchester municipalities alike for all the time, energy, and resources put into making the Bond Act a reality. This level of community collaboration helped elevate Westchester to be one of the counties most supportive of the Bond Act’s passing, an outcome that would not have been possible without all of the efforts invested.

Now, we join the Bond Act coalition in turning the attention towards its implementation so that all New Yorkers can realize the benefits of a cleaner, greener future for our state.

It’s Not Just in the Lights: How More Mindful Energy Usage Can Advance Environmental Justice

By | News & Noteworthy, Our Blog

It’s Not Just in the Lights: How More Mindful Energy Usage Can Advance Environmental Justice

Authored By: Lauren Kroell


For many looking to support sustainability efforts, one of the first steps is to practice more eco-conscious habits at home. Many of us have heard the tried-and-true advice of turning off the lights once you leave the room as a way to conserve energy – but some may not be as aware of the environmental justice impacts of doing so, and how conserving energy at key times can play a crucial role.

So where do we begin when it comes to unpacking electricity usage during times of high demand? Look no further than peaker power plants. Sometimes referred to as “peakers,” these power plants use fossil fuels (generally fracked gas and fuel oil) to generate and deliver electricity to the grid when extra supply is needed to meet increased electricity demand. But here’s the catch – peaker plants are only turned on during these high demand periods, and when they are, it’s generally only for a few hours (or less) at a time. Despite these low run times, it is estimated that $4.5 billion in ratepayer funds have gone towards propping up peaker plants in New York City (Clean Energy Group). This makes peaker plants both energy and cost inefficient.

The environmental justice impacts are made clear when recognizing how the vast majority of peakers are located in low-income neighborhoods and/or communities of color. This means that when we use energy during high-demand periods, the peakers that supply our energy demand contribute to the higher rates of emissions in marginalized communities – including dangerous greenhouse gases and air pollutants like carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (NOX), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) (Clean Energy Group, Peaker Mapping Tool). As such, it is crucial that we become more aware of how to better manage our energy usage so these impacts aren’t as severe.

That’s why on Thursday, November 10th, 2022 from 7-8PM, Sustainable Westchester will host a webinar on how peaker power plants impact local communities. We will be hearing from several groups working to raise awareness about these important issues, who will provide elaboration on the points above and show us how to make a difference at home. If you’re interested in participating and learning more, we invite you to visit the Facebook Event page and register for the event at

We hope to see you there so that you can learn how to be a more mindful energy consumer – because problems like these can be alleviated by the flip of a switch.