Built Environment

In Progress
Photo by Allison Usavage of Relays

The built environment includes any physical place designed and/or constructed by humans. It comprises all the physical parts of where we live, including our homes, the buildings where we work and socialize, hospitals, schools, our streets, open spaces and infrastructure.


Due to a short-term NYSEG incentive for our “gas-constrained” area, the “Gas Kicker" program led to a short-term focus on non-residential buildings. Under this program, a diverse portfolio of 10 commercial buildings has been locked in, representing a total clean energy investment of over $1.9 million, with nearly $1.4 million of that amount being subsidized in the form of eligible state and federal incentives. Working in partnership with Tompkins CCE, the Cozy Basements program provides free residential weatherization while providing on-the-job training for those completing the Energy Warriors workforce training. Further funding has allowed this program to continue. The Affordable Housing Electrification Plan is rated as stalled, but this sub-project is being replaced with other projects moving forward.

Energy Efficiency Retrofitting and Electrification

In Progress

Building codes and state legislation will be needed to speed the energy conversion along. New codes will be required for new buildings and major renovations, smaller existing buildings (mostly residential or very small business), and larger buildings (mostly multifamily residential or businesses).

What criteria are we using to measure progress?
  • The City will address design and construction through the Ithaca Energy Code Supplement by June 2021 and the Deconstruction Ordinance by March 2022.  
  • By January 2023: The City will establish a Building Performance Standard.
  • By December 2030: The City will ensure that Ithaca has 6,000 carbon neutral buildings in the city.

Thermal Load Electrification

In Progress

Thermal load is the amount of energy needed to be added or removed from a space by the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) to keep occupants comfortable. Understanding the thermal load allows for rightsizing of an HVAC system. High-performance buildings seek to reduce these loads as much as possible.

What criteria are we using to measure progress?
  • By December 2030: The City will deploy thermal load electrification to deliver 6,000 carbon neutral buildings in the city.

Municipal Buildings

In Progress

Municipal buildings are those owned and/or operated by a municipality, in this case the city of Ithaca.

What criteria are we using to measure progress?
  • By December 2030: The City will electrify all municipal buildings.

Affordable Housing Electrification Plan


The city has determined that electrifying low-income housing will cost more than twice as much as electrifying other buildings. A specific plan will be compiled, piloted, and and implemented to address low-income housing retrofits.

What criteria are we using to measure progress?
  • By October 2022: The City will conduct a pilot for affordable housing electrification at the Henry St. John building.