Sustainable Bethlehem activities began in 2009 when the town adopted the New York State Climate Smart Communities pledge. With the adoption of this pledge, the town made a public commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and prepare for unavoidable climate change. As an official Climate Smart Community, Bethlehem is eligible for additional services and funding opportunities from the State.
Since 2009, Bethlehem has made significant upgrades to its facilities in order to save money, become more efficient, and reduce GHG emissions. The town has participated in multiple NYSERDA programs to identify energy efficiency and hydroelectric opportunities in the town’s wastewater treatment and water treatment facilities. Bethlehem has improved the aeration system at the municipal wastewater treatment plant, saving 460,000 kWh of electricity annually. Most recently, the town received funding to install a 30 kW solar photovoltaic system at the Elm Avenue Park administration building.
PaTHs 4 Bethlehem
In March of 2009, the PaTHs 4 Bethlehem (Pathways to Homes, Hamlets, and Healthy Hearts) committee was established with the mission of providing a resource that effectively uses a 5E approach (engineering, education, enforcement, engagement, and encouragement) to advise the town, educate the community, and advocate for opportunities to improve mobility and connectivity for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Energy Efficiency Upgrades
The Town of Bethlehem recently completed lighting upgrades in town hall and work in the town highway garage has been scheduled. This work is estimated to have an annual energy savings of 111,051 kWh and an annual cost savings of $12,348. The upgrades were performed and partially funded through the National Grid Conservation Program.
Safe Routes to School Grant
The Town of Bethlehem has been awarded $500,000 in federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funding for sidewalks, handicap accessible ramps, and crosswalk markings along Delmar Place, Fernbank Avenue, and a portion of Adams Street near the Bethlehem Middle School, Hamagrael Elementary School, and St. Thomas the Apostle School.