York’s Green History
It all started with a grassroots citizens’ committee in 2006 (‘York Goes Green’).
In 2009 the Board of Selectmen appointed an Energy Steering Committee, an official municipal body. The mission of the Energy Steering Committee is to advise the Selectboard on matters of energy and to assist the Selectboard in reducing York’s carbon emissions. That includes recommending strategies, policies, and projects for energy conservation and clean energy. The committee has proposed and managed several green projects approved and funded by York voters.
Over five years, York voters approved a total of $400,000 and York received $120,255 in grants for energy initiatives. Efficiency improvements in the Town Hall, both Fire Stations, the Police Station, and the Grant House have reduced the carbon footprint of York’s government.
The York Beach Fire Station underwent a retrofit in 2015 –extensive insulation, LED lighting and a heat pump — and a grant-funded solar array was installed. This project serves as a model of how to retain a structure’s historic character while transforming it into a near-zero emissions building.
In November and December of 2016, the York Planning Board conducted a survey of roughly 1,200 registered voters.
The results were unambiguous:
of respondents agree that York should reduce its carbon (greenhouse gas) emissions.
of respondents agree that York should adopt building codes that set a high standard for energy efficiency.
of voters agree that York should expand its use of renewable energy, such as a solar array on the York landfill.
of York voters agree that York should invest financial resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
On November 7th, 2017, the voters of York approved the Energy Chapter to York’s comprehensive plan.
The Energy Steering Committee developed the energy chapter in collaboration with Dylan Smith, York’s Planning Director, and York’s Planning Board (the Planning Board is responsible for managing the Comprehensive Plan). In voting for the Energy Charter, the voters approved its vision that “100% of our energy for both electricity and heat will come from renewable resources.”
The vision includes:
- Electric vehicle charging stations in convenient locations throughout the community;
- A Town fleet of mostly hybrids and electric vehicles;
- Access to clean energy for all citizens of York regardless of income;
- Greenhouse gas emissions reduced to nearly zero;
- Upgrading all existing buildings to the most efficient possible;
- Requiring all new buildings to be built to net-zero emissions standards;
- Converting all heat and transportation energy from oil and gas to electricity;
- Powering all electricity from renewable sources, especially rooftop solar and solar farms.
In 2017 York voters approved the conversion of the Town’s streetlights to LEDs. The final vendor selection was confirmed by the Selectboard at their meeting of January 28, 2019.
View the energy chapter of York’s Comprehensive Plan