Environment & Sustainability

Sustainable Orange County

Climate Solutions Week 2023

Orange County Planning Department is hosting webinars for climate solutions week.  All webinars require advance registration. 

Tree Preservation Law - September 27th at 5:30 PM

Municipalities create tree preservation laws to protect this important natural resource, improve air quality and contribute to the visual appeal of their communities. This webinar will explore the benefits of such laws, why legislation is necessary to preserve older trees, protect mid-life trees, and promote the planting and maintenance of new trees. Hear what else can be done and future next steps.

Lower Hudson River Sampling and Investigation work - September 27th at 6:00 pm

Learn about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreement with General Electric Company to  conduct extensive fish, water and sediment sampling in the Lower Hudson River, between Troy and the  Battery in New York City. The sampling work is underway and will continue through 2025. Additional information about the sampling work and the Superfund site is available at www.epa.gov/hudsonriverpcbs.

Register for both here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUtfu-rrDgpE9Y1QIgcWqP_L0iNrku-Hl0o

Reduce Energy Demand in Your Municipality - September 28th at 5:30 PM

NYPA’s energy experts can help municipalities prioritize and bundle energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to create the most cost-effective plan that will maximize savings. NYPA offers advisory services for an entire portfolio of clean energy solutions including implementation of EV infrastructure, on-site and community solar, energy audits and master planning, as well as energy efficiency for equipment retrofits, building envelope improvements and wastewater pump systems. As a NY State Authority, NYPA has brought objective advice and full transparency for confident decision-making, simplified procurement and financing options for over 60 years while managing clean energy projects for government entities.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwvfuCuqz4uGNSwDq39UEW1Cb7EehwwkMGZ

Protecting Wetlands and Streams in Your Community – October 18th at 6:00 P.M.

Protecting wetlands and streams is vital to safeguarding water resources, but gaps in federal and state regulations leave these resources vulnerable to degradation and loss.   The Supreme Court’s June 2023 Sackett v. EPA ruling significantly rolled back federal protection for wetlands and streams.  New York State is meanwhile set to expand some protections for wetlands, but major gaps remain, especially for smaller wetlands, seasonal streams, and adjacent buffers around these sensitive water resources. This course is free and will provide 1.5 hours towards the State-mandated four-hour annual training requirements for planning and zoning board members. Pre-registration is required.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_K0VakJIjQMSwMn7qvH-Hrw

Additional regional events can be found at: www.HVClimateSolutionsWeek.org

March Madness Sustainability  Edition Meetings 2023

Orange County's 3rd Annual virtual March Madness Sustainability Edition will have six virtual workshops throughout the rest of March and the beginning of April.  The third workshop is titled Water:  Wetlands, Streams, Zoning, and Rights and will be held on March 29th. This workshop is free. Learn about initiatives and strategies to protect wetlands, streams, drinking water and the Hudson River.  Advance registration is required, please click here to register.  

March 31st from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Hudson Valley Climate Action Conference at Kaplan Hall at SUNY Orange Newburgh Campus. Learn about the Regional Climate Action Road Map and Tool Kit.  What do we need to get done to meet New York State's ambitious climate goals? Hear how local leaders are tackling this challenge. RSVP for this event here .  Event schedule details here.

March 31st at 5:30 p.m. - Food Waste Recycling Showcase (in person) at Downing Park Urban Farm, located at 207 Carpenter Avenue in Newburgh. Orange County’s Division of Environmental Facilities and Services (DEFS) and Orange County Department of Planning will join local community organizations, schools, and businesses to promote food waste recycling at the Orange County Food Security and Sustainability Initiative (OCFSS).  For more information about this event, click here

For more information on the other available workshops, click here.

To watch recordings for previous workshops, please visit our Recorded Meetings page.  Currently, Tree Talk and Invasive Species are available on the Recorded Meetings page.  

Orange County Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) Roundtable

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary, New York State Association of Conservation Commissions and the Orange County Department of Planning invite you to the Orange County Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) Roundtable (Zoom meeting) on Wednesday, November 30, 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Conservation Advisory Councils (CACs) educate the public, create inventories of important natural resources, assist planning boards with reviews of proposed development projects, contribute to the development of local conservation plans and policies, and can research topics of local interest such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, water protection, open space, and or tree preservation/management to name just a few. 

 This roundtable offers a forum for CAC members in Orange County to share successes and learn about the conservation efforts of neighboring communities. To view recorded 11/30/22 meeting, click here

Orange County Planning Department

Climate Solutions Week in the Hudson Valley

Municipal Food Scrap Collections Programs - Tuesday September 27th at 6:00 pm 

Learn about Westchester County’s efforts to divert food scraps from the solid waste stream and promote local composting efforts. Hear about the County’s structure, its Residential Food Scrap Transportation and Disposal Program, the Village of Scarsdale’s successful food scrap drop off and curbside collection program, and the County’s Compost and Education Facility (CompostED). Lastly, a recent volunteer-led program in Orange County will be explained.

Link to recorded meeting here.

Compost ED with Bethel Community Garden

Food Scrap Recycling in the Private Sector

Warwick Food Scraps to Compost Program

Westchester County Food Waste

The Future of Waste: Recycling and Extended Producer Responsibility - Wednesday September 28th at 6:00 pm

Numerous states are addressing how consumer product producers can take responsibility for the environmental, health, economic, and social impacts of their products. When producers design and manage their products with the environment in mind, the products we enjoy will become less toxic and more reusable and recyclable.

Link to recorded meeting here.

PSI Niagara County Slides

Agrivoltaics: Maximizing Land Use with Solar and Agriculture - Thursday September 29th at 6:00 pm 

Please join us for an informative webinar with speakers from Scenic Hudson, American Farm Trust, and Lightstar Renewables as we discuss the emerging field of agrivoltaics, whereby solar energy and agriculture coexist. In this webinar we will introduce the concept of agrivoltaics, explain the benefits it brings to the community, review how a local town is pioneering local legislation that would allow for sustainable solar development and agriculture, provide model language for municipal use, and offer a diverse well-rounded panel to answer any questions.

Link to recorded meeting here.



Scenic Hudson Presentation

Additional Events can be found at:  http://www.hvclimatesolutionsweek.org

For more information, contact Sustainability Coordinator Kate Schmidt at: KSchmidt@orangecountygov.com 

March Madness Sustainability Edition Meetings

Orange County’s 2nd annual virtual March Madness: Sustainability Edition marches on with great workshops on Monday May 9th from 10 am - 12:00 noon addressing Battery Energy Storage for First Responders and May 10th from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon Understanding Solar PV Permitting and Inspecting in New York State.

Battery Energy Storage for First Responders - 5/9/22  10:00 am to 12:00 noon

Intended Audience(s): Code Enforcement Officials, Building Safety Inspectors, Fire Safety Inspectors
Credit Eligibility: 2-hours in-service training credit through NYSDOS BSC
Course Description: The Battery Energy Storage for First Responders course provides an in-depth overview of NYS Uniform Code requirements relevant to batter energy storage systems (BESS). The course is primarily intended for Code Enforcement Officials, Building and/or Fire Safety Inspectors, first responders and incident response personnel, and related positions. This content may also be relevant to local policy makers, planning and zoning board members, and other staff. Information presented in the course ranges from introductory BESS basics to advanced code compliance and fire safety requirements.

Battery Energy Storage for First Responders begins with an overview of BESS components, including critical fire detection and suppression equipment, as well as an accompanying overview of BESS applications and use cases. The course then provides an in-depth walkthrough of NYS Uniform Code sections regulating BESS development, with a primary focus on NYS Fire Code and NYS Residential Code requirements. This course highlights a variety of code requirements based on BESS type and location, including fire detection and suppression considerations. Upon completion of this course, attendees should have an introductory understanding of BESS components and applications, as well as familiarity with relevant NYS Uniform Code requirements pertaining to BESS.
 • In order to get your 2-hours of training credit, we’ll need attendees to provide their Code Enforcement Credentials, which consists of two pieces of information:
    o The name associated with your online training account for the State Learning Management System
    o The state-issued Code Enforcement ID number: this consists of 2 letters, either NY or CE, followed by 7 numbers.
• Please email this information to KSchmidt@orangecountygov.com

 Advance Registration is required:  Please click HERE to register.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 

Understanding Solar PV Permitting and Inspecting in New York State - 5/10/22  10:00 am to 12:00 noon

Length: 2 hours
Intended Audience(s): Code Enforcement Officials, Building Safety Inspectors, Fire Safety Inspectors
Credit Eligibility: 2-hours in-service training credit through NYS Dept. of State, Division of Building Standards & Codes (NYSDOS BSC)
Course Description:  The Understanding Solar PV Permitting and Inspecting in New York State course provides a substantive overview of several topics relevant to solar photovoltaics (PV) permitting. The course contains information primarily aimed at municipal administrative staff including Code Enforcement Officials, Building and/or Fire Safety Inspectors, and related positions. This content may also be relevant to local policy makers, planning and zoning board members, and other staff. Information presented in the course ranges from rudimentary solar basics to advanced technical and code compliance material.
The course begins with an introduction to the basics of solar PV permitting applications, highlighting the New York Unified Solar Permit and a list of construction documents required for a complete PV project application. After the initial section, the course provides in-depth information about components of a PV array, applicable codes like the Uniform Code and the National Electric Code, and resources available for PV permitting and inspection as contained in NYSERDA’s Solar Guidebook for Local Governments. The course concludes with a review of common installation errors and their corresponding code violations. Upon completion of the course, attendees should have a strong foundation of knowledge about the requirements, documents, and processes involved in permitting and inspecting PV systems.

• In order to get your 2-hours of training credit, we’ll need attendees to provide their Code Enforcement Credentials, which consists of two pieces of information:
    o The name associated with your online training account for the State Learning Management System
    o The state-issued Code Enforcement ID number: this consists of 2 letters, either NY or CE, followed by 7 numbers.
• Please email this information to KSchmidt@orangecountygov.com

Advance Registration is required: Please click HERE to register.  After registering you will receive a conformation email containing information about joining the meeting.

March Madness Meeting Recordings & Slides

March 1 - Clean Energy & Your Comprehensive Plan

Click here to watch a recording of the 3/1/22 meeting.

Leading as a Clean Energy Community

Clean Energy and Your Comprehensive Plan

March 10 - Local Initiatives Your Municipality Can Take To Be Sustainable

Click here to watch the recorded 3/10/22 meeting.

Community HIA Adoption NY Stretch Energy Code

March 21 - NYS Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act

Click here to watch the recorded 3/21/22 meeting.

March 30 - Reducing Community Waste

Click here to watch the recorded 3/30/22 meeting.

Orangetown Food Scrap Program

Bethlehem School District Takes Sustainability Seriously

Orange County Recycle Coach App

March 31 - Community Preservation Act: Protect Open Space, Farms & Water

Click here to watch the recorded 3/31/22 meeting.

March Madness CPF Presentation 3/31/22

April 4 - Battery Energy Storage for First Responders.

Click here to watch the recorded 4/4/22 meeting.

NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities Program

Learn how to become a NYS designated Clean Energy Community (CEC) and the potential to receive funding for simply taking important, environmentally sustainable actions through NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities Program.  

Go to HudsonValleyRegionalCouncil.org/events to watch a video presentation or click HERE for additional details. 

Watch Orange County Q & A Webinars:

Overview of the CEC - March 11, 2021

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) - March 18, 2021

New York State Energy Stretch Code - March 25, 2021

Community Preservation Act Webinar 

Orange County Planning Department hosted a webinar on the Community Preservation Act on October 1, 2020.   The webinar discussed preserving open space and farmland, maintaining healthy drinking water sources, protecting historic and cultural sites throughout Orange County and how you and elected officials can save these life sustaining parcels from overdevelopment.   To watch the webinar, click here.

For more information about the Community Preservation Act, please contact Kate Schmidt at 845-615-3858 or Email Kate Schmidt 

See additional details HERE 

 Certified Climate Smart Community

The New York State Climate Smart Communities Certification program represents the next phase in the development of New York's Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program.

C-PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy)

Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) provides financing to property owners in participating municipal member jurisdictions throughout New York State.     

Clean Energy Communities (CEC) Leadership Round

The Hudson Valley Regional Council (HVRC) is pleased to invite you to an informational webinar on the launch of the NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities Program Leadership Round.  First launched in 2016, the CEC Program is an ambitious community-driven initiative. With free technical assistance provided by HVRC’s CEC Coordinators, 43 communities in the Mid-Hudson Region became Designated Clean Energy Communities and were awarded match-free grants for clean energy projects.  The 2021  CEC Leadership Round offers previous CEC participants and new communities an opportunity for free technical support to complete a series of CEC High Impact Actions (HIA). The Leadership Round offers new HIAs for engaging with your constituents and community as well as innovative toolkits and paths toward grant awards.  Grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • 24 High Impact Actions and Sub-Actions

  • Designation Grants:  $5,000 for new designated communities

  • Point-Based Grants:  up to $250,o00 for large communities and up to $100,000 for smaller communities

  • Action Grants:  up to $50,000 for NYStretch and up to $60,000 for Community Campaigns

  • Bonus Funding:  for certain CEC-funded projects in disadvantaged communities

Please feel free to reach out to HVRC’s CEC Coordinator Carla Castillo for support with the CEC Leadership Round.  She can be reached at ccastillo@hudsonvalleyrc.org, or schedule a technical support meeting directly through Calendly.

HVRC’s CEC Coordinators look forward to supporting your community’s pursuit of clean energy and climate smart actions that will reduce your energy use, energy costs, and to help your community become more resilient.

NYStretch Energy Code

Learn how the adoption of the NYStretch Code can reduce energy costs by approximately 11%, improve public health, and meet climate and clean energy goals. This recent webinar provides valuable municipal perspectives on the adoption of NYStretch from the Village of Hastings on Hudson and the City of Beacon, along with a practical workshop and technical inputs from NYStretch Code experts.  NYStretch Circuit Riders are available to further discuss adoption of the NYStretch Energy Code, what adoption entails, how NYStretch differs from NYS’s current code, and to answer any other questions you may have.  Contact NYSERDA NY Stretch representative Margo Thompson at MThompson@newportventures.net


Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainability Plan             

The Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainability Plan sets out a vision for sustainable development that builds on our Region’s unique social, cultural, and natural history, with the goal of promoting economic development, environmental sustainability, and enhancing quality of life for the more than two million residents that call our Region home.       

Climate Change             

View the climate adaptation strategy for Orange County here

Open Space Plan              

View the Open Space Plan for Orange County. 


View environmental and sustainability resources. 

Solar Information             

Learn about solar power from the resources provided. 

Solar Farming                

Recent events - including government incentives and policies - have attracted property owners, farm businesses, local governments, utility companies, and solar installers to pursue solar as a core element of local energy production.

Community Solar              

Solarize is an innovative, successful program that makes it easier and more affordable for homes and small businesses to go solar through community-wide education, pre-qualified installation partners and group purchasing discounts.

Mid-Hudson Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions

View the Mid-Hudson Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory here.

HeatSmart Orange County

HeatSmart Orange is a state-supported community campaign that makes it easier for you to increase your home or business’ energy efficiency and lower your energy bills by weatherizing and installing clean heating and cooling technologies. These technologies include air-source heat pumps and geothermal, which transfer heat in and out of buildings to provide heating and cooling in one system. They’re not unlike air conditioners that can run in reverse and provide you heat from the air or ground—even when it’s below zero outside!  While the official campaign has concluded, our office is here to help you learn about the benefits of air and ground-source heating/cooling pumps. Additional Information on HeatSmart Orange County