Chester County Climate Action Plan draft – 2021

A draft climate action plan for Chester County has been released for public review and comment. The updated Climate Action Plan expands on the 2010 Greenhouse Gas Reduction report, providing an updated greenhouse gas emissions inventory as well as an action plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency throughout the county. The plan was prepared by the Chester County Planning Commission in partnership with the County’s Environmental and Energy Advisory Board.

 

A public meeting on the proposed Climate Action Plan was held on March 4, 2021 at 6:30 pm via Zoom. A recording of the meeting and the meeting slide show can be viewed on the Climate Action Plan webpage.

 

View the draft Climate Action Plan.

 

The comment period for the Climate Action Plan is now closed. We will be considering all submitted comments as we move forward with developing the next draft of the plan.

 

238 comments on “Chester County Climate Action Plan draft – 2021

  1. Stefanie

    I would also like to see community not just employee training on recycling practices. I generally don’t feel recycling is handled well in our county and public education could address this. While maybe not the highest rated impact on climate gases, it does have environmental impact.

  2. Stefanie

    Create a climate action office, charged with implementing necessary climate and environmental actions full time.

  3. Amy Nabut

    Please create, fund and empower a “Climate Action Office” to lead, coordinate, educate, and engage stakeholders in the implementation of the Climate Action Plan.

  4. Shannon Zabko

    Hello,
    Again I encourage you to please create a Climate Action Office. This is crucial to bring the plan to fruition. Thanks!

  5. Jeff Wright

    Please create a Climate Action Office as part of a wider Action plan for Chester County, the State of PA, and ultimately the greater US (and the world) at large. I strongly support this and am happy to contribute my time and resources to drive this forward!

  6. Carol Meerschaert

    Thank you for this report and for taking steps to combat climate change. I am especially happy to see part of the plan E7 to reduce soft costs of local solar energy as well as E10 exterior lighting guidelines. My neighborhood has become increasingly light at night, disturbing my sleep and of course harming birds.

  7. Lisa Longo

    It is time for us to have a Climate Action office and include climate and equity in our comprehensive plan for the county. We can move toward sustainable policy and renewable energy that will protect our communities and save taxpayers money. We need to invest in sustainable planning and zoning, insist on affordable housing and building codes that include renewable energy infrastructure and community energy. We need to ban Round-up in our county and protect our water. It is time to govern from a perspective that includes sustainability and the precautionary principle.

  8. Bernice Harvey

    How many differing and/or opposing points of view were considered before this plan was compiled?

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Input on the initial draft plan was provided by the members of the Chester County Environmental & Energy Advisory Board who represent a wide range of community stakeholders including businesses, municipal officials and managers, utilities, conservancies, citizens, and county government. Following the posting of the draft plan in early February, we have been accepting public input and posting those comments on the website and will continue to do so through March 31. We also held a public meeting on the Climate Action Plan on March 4 which was attended by over 150 people.

  9. Barbara Hays

    This plan is a totally political plan motivated to deceive people. Please know that smart people are WATCHING. These policies will discourage progress and cost more money for small businesses that want to help restore the economy. As usual we will not see that the results from this proposal will not work till it fails and costs all tax payers money. Nothing new!

  10. Brian McGowan

    I see no mention of waste heat recovery to reduce green house gases and increase building energy efficiency.
    This is an often overlooked loss if efficiency which should be considered. Drain Water Heat Exchangers recover heat from drain water and use it to preheat the feed to the water heater which reduces the amount of energy needed to heat water by 30% or more no matter how you heat water. This also reduces wear and tear on the water heating equipment as it doesn’t have to work as hard as heating water from dead cold. Heating water is recognized to be the 2nd largest consumption of energy in a building consuming about 18% of the total building energy budget. If the plan is to go full electric then this will help a great deal. Combined with heat pump type water heaters you could conceivably drop your energy usage down to 40% of what is currently used to heat water. For systems that still use fossil fuels you could cut 30% of what is currently used which would result in a similar reduction in green house gases.
    Whether for Municipal, Schools, Businesses, Lodging or residential this should not be overlooked or discounted.
    Without these devices you are literally throwing perfectly good reusable recoverable energy right down the drain and if we are going to win this game we must at the very least stop throwing energy down the drain. We cannot afford to waste a single joule of energy.
    I can help you with this. I implore you to consider this.

  11. Michele Hensey

    I appreciate the opportunity to provide citizen feedback on this plan that’s been submitted and commend all of the organizations who are committed to reducing our county’s impact to greenhouse gas and climate change. I have no suggestions for changes to the material submitted, however, I will say that it is lacking a very critical component that must also be addressed – the degradation of our soil, plants, insects and birds, as well as the pollution caused by the landscape industry – all of which ultimately impact our carbon sequestration and pollination of our food sources. I feel the plan, as currently written, is not balanced and taking the opportunity to address broader factors that affect climate change vs. carbon neutral initiatives solely.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24933260-100-pollinators-are-our-secret-weapon-in-the-fight-against-global-warming/?fbclid=IwAR0EWZwtSRYe21dk-h6ws0j-x8tlp9aCwSilDhHgoaPGzYlqV9EGUmiDAPs

    Above is a link to a very recent article, but there is significant research on this topic which should NOT be ignored in a comprehensive plant to tackle this topic. In our area, I come in contact with so many who are well-versed on carbon neutral, reduced greenhouse gas, etc., yet are totally unaware that the gas-powered landscaping industry has no regulation and running a leaf blower each week is equivalent to hundreds of miles traveled in a gas powered car with older emissions. The attached study is from 2011, and the more recent research indicates significantly increasing damage.

    https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/banks.pdf

    Our soil, which is degraded each time we clear and plant large expanses of lawn to maintain is what sustains our native plants and trees which most efficiently sequester carbon in our eco-region, as well as cool the climate through respiration. Below is an excellent video that explains the process of carbon sequestration that occurs in our “healthy” soil – unfortunately, we are losing topsoil at an alarming rate in this country.

    I could go on, attach more examples, etc., but it’s probably more important to ask – is someone from your group or committee willing to engage in serious conversation to support the addition of these elements in the plan? If so, we could pull together the scientists and data to validate the need and benefit of doing so.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your interest in the Climate Action Plan. We appreciate your comments on landscaping equipment and note that the plan includes recommendations that address that specific issue. We will be taking your input, as well as all others we receive during the comment period, into consideration as we move forward with the plan development.

  12. Rick Smith, East Goshen Township Manager

    West Chester Area Council of Governments Comments on Chester County Draft Climate Action Plan
    March 18, 2021

    To: Chester County Planning Commission (ccplanning@chesco.org)

    Thank you for giving us an opportunity to comment on the Chester County Climate Action Plan (CAP) draft dated January 27. 2021.

    On behalf of the elected officials that serve as representatives to the West Chester Area Council of Governments (WCA COG), this letter serves to voice our support for the stated vision to “to reduce the county’s contribution to global climate change and equitably improve the health and well-being of the community by: reducing greenhouse emissions through government leadership and collaboration, mitigating impacts of climate change through resiliency and planning, and transitioning to clean and sustainable energy generation.”

    Climate change now frames almost every aspect of plans we make and actions we take. We support the goal of 80% greenhouse gas emissions reduction county-wide by 2050 and the interim objectives that are necessary to meet this goal (as stated on page 28 of the CAP).

    As the county seat for Chester County, the West Chester Area COG is aware of the role we can play in leading by example and engaging with community stakeholders to achieve the goals that our region, county, state, nation and global community have set for GHG reductions through climate action and energy transition plans.

    We pledge to do our part to move the 100,000+ residents in the greater West Chester area towards these goals. [see http://www.wcacog.org/clean-energy%5D

    There are several objectives/actions on our to-do list (recommendations from the West Chester Area Energy Transition Report by the Cadmus Group) that would be more efficiently and effectively accomplished through county government leadership or coordination. We list them here to request that the CAP prioritize them High and offer our support when implementation activities are started:

    Buildings & Energy
    • E3 & E16 – solar power purchase agreements for county and interested municipal governments, public schools, libraries, and public housing.
    o Suggest adding: wastewater authorities and fire companies.

    • E7 – Reduce soft costs for distributed solar installations by streamlining local permitting, applications and inspection processes through a common Chester County process or template. [we suggest not specifying the best method of streamlining]

    • E13 – Corporate Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE).

    • E18 – Promote workforce development in clean energy.

    • F6 – Sustainable Energy Advocate Office.

    Transportation & Land Use
    • D7 – Redevelopment of brownfield sites – with an eye towards availability of Community Solar Gardens where residents in not-appropriate-for-solar homes and apartments can subscribe to regional clean energy generation.

    Finally we would like to note that some of the actions listed in the CAP are intended as initiatives to be led by municipal governments. Some are not on our list and we will pass these on to the West Chester Area COG Energy Advisory team for inclusion in the WCA Energy Transition Plan.

    Thanks to the Planning Commission and the Environment and Energy Advisory Board for bringing these action suggestions to our attention.

    Respectfully,

    The West Chester Area Council of Governments

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      We appreciate the support of the West Chester Area Council of Government for the proposed Climate Action Plan and for their commitment to addressing climate change. We would like to thank the WCACOG for their specific comments on the proposed actions will take that input into consideration as we work on the next draft of the Plan.

  13. Nicola Nicolai

    I applaud the inclusion of things like strong energy efficiency measures, plans to transition to 100% renewable electricity, transit-oriented development, and electric vehicle charging stations. I also like that the Climate Action Plan notes the co-benefits of caring for our environment and includes a focus on social equity.

    There are also areas within the plan, however, that call for research, exploration, and analysis but not necessarily a call for follow-up action. For example, page 38 reads, “Explore opportunities to install solar panels and arrays at Chester County facilities and properties.” I hope the county doesn’t just explore opportunities, but follows through once those opportunities are identified.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your interest in the Climate Action Plan. We acknowledge the language you are referencing in your comment and note that the plan does include recommendations which we will need further exploration and research to determine their feasibility prior to implementation.

  14. Eunice Alexander

    Dear Mr. O’Leary,
    I love the action statement at the beginning of the report:
    ” …reducing greenhouse emissions through government leadership and collaboration, mitigating impacts of climate change through resiliency and planning, and transitioning to clean and sustainable energy generation.”
    80 percent by 2050 is “consistent with an executive order signed by Governor Wolf in 2019” but absolutely too little too late. I understand that the Amazon has already become a source, no longer a sink.
    Please hire someone who will be devoted to moving the GHG needle downward as rapidly as possible.
    Please also contact your federal representatives to encourage the setting of a fee on carbon with much to all revenue back to Americans. And encourage that this (even the Energy Innovation and Climate Dividend Act, EICDA) to be part of a robust climate action plan. We need something to pass asap that will be able to have widespread support, once it is explained.
    Thank you so much for this step; now, you simply need to strengthen it.

  15. Jane Klein

    Dear Commissioners,
    I commend you for putting together a climate action plan for Chester County.

    The goal of the plan is a good one – reducing GGG pollution by 80 percent by 2050. However, it must be noted that the county has limited power to enforce the changes it would take to make this goal happen.

    However, I believe there is a way to reach these climate goals.

    Please consider calling on Congress to enact legislation that puts a fee on carbon AKA “carbon pricing.”

    The climate plan should call for placing a steadily rising fee on the burning of fossil fuels with the dividends being returned in equal payments to American households. This would help middle to lower income families pay for the rising cost of fossil fuels and incentivize them to choose less expensive, cleaner alternatives.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration.

  16. Lara Napoli

    I’m happy to see Chester county moving forward in making goals to reduce our carbon footprint.

    I’d like to encourage carbon pricing, and would like our commissioners to
    1. ask Congress to put a national “price” on greenhouse gas pollution (aka “carbon pricing”)
    2. tell Congress to use some of the pollution fee money to protect vulnerable consumers.

    These should encourage heavy carbon-users to consider ways to reduce their carbon use, while also helping the community, environmentally and fiscally.

  17. Donna Curtis

    This is an impressive plan.
    I do think transportation should be the priority given it is having the most adverse effects. What can the county do about the heavily traveled route 1? Can we get better public transit in and to the county? To get food, to enjoy our lovely outdoor spaces, to get to the train, etc. etc., we must use the highway. Where can we add bike and walking paths, a “light rail” perhaps? Can we get private property owners to give up some right of way to make a healthier and safer environment for everyone?

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your input on the Climate Action Plan. We note that public transit, trails, and walkable communities are important elements of the plan recommendations.

  18. David Zlotowski, MBA, MD

    Very interesting. Thanks for working on this and sharing it. There is no greater risk to our way of life than the global climate emergency.

  19. Dana Waldman

    I greatly admire the county’s plan to address climate change- there are some great ideas outlined here! One thing to note- many of these objectives will be met much quicker if our national government puts a fee on carbon. “Carbon Pricing” is gaining increasing popularity, as more and more people are coming to understand that holding polluters monetarily accountable will effectively decrease emissions, as well as incentivize cleaner energy solutions. Some of the money from those pollution fees should then be used to protect vulnerable consumers from the higher energy prices which will ensue.

    The climate plan should call on Congress to put a national price on greenhouse gas pollution, with financial protections for vulnerable consumers.

    Thank you so much for your consideration!

  20. Matt Zencey, East Bradford Twp.

    Dear Chester County Commissioners:
    Thank you for considering a climate action plan for Chester County. The plan’s goal — 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas pollution by 2050 from 2005 levels — is admirable.
    The plan has many good ideas for reaching that goal. However, the county has limited power to make most of them happen.
    But many of the climate-protecting ideas in the plan will happen naturally, and happen faster, if our national government puts a steadily increasing price on greenhouse gas pollution from fossil fuels (a policy known as “carbon pricing”). This will make dirty fuels pay for the damage they inflict on our climate.
    Some of the money from those greenhouse gas pollution fees should be used to protect vulnerable consumers from the higher energy prices that will result.
    The climate plan should call on Congress to put a national price on greenhouse gas pollution, with financial protections for vulnerable consumers.

  21. Marta A Vukasovic

    Comment 1 MAV: The proposal conflates 2 opportunities, one of which is divisive as it lacks scientific evidence and is more ideological in nature. The proposal can benefit from being split into two phases or workstreams. One that should be recommended without reservation (Phase 1) and one (Phase 2) that needs more discussion. Phase 2 (needs more work) is the idea that humans can reverse or positively impact climate change. Climate is changing and it will continue to change but to think that our activities can affect the speed or trajectory of that change is unsettling. The climate change proposal we reviewed assumes that the science here has been settled and humans must take action to alter “climate change” – it is not appropriate to present this opinion as settled. While there are passions and significant advocacy in this area and a religion-like expectation of conformity, the proposal needs to present the full picture and not mislead the reader. Happy to collaborate on that diverse viewpoint with your group. Phase 1 is an opportunity that I consider uniting and as such, one that deserves prioritization is the desire for more open / green spaces and general efforts around preservation, and recycling. Open spaces are the key driving factor for many residents who elected to live in CC and many feel that actions of our county officials are divergent from that desire for open spaces (examples: development of Crebily Farms, proposal to convert farmland across Oakbourne Park into a Sports Area, converting old Agway building into an apartment complex, and the list goes on and on).

    Comment #2 (MAV) – General changes to The Climate Change Proposal:
    (1) Missing context – while it will be the commissioners who will determine if this proposal proceeds or not (hopefully this will be put to a vote by the residents), the Climate Change Proposal should provide as a backdrop to the current state of our County (shot-down due to Covid, unclear reopening plans for business, kids not back to school for 5d of in person learning, impact of that missed year of in-person instruction to our school-aged kids, inability to vaccinate the county’s residents, etc). Timing is EVERYTHIG and even the smartest ideas are not successful if the timing for their proposal is not optimal. Impact of these aforementioned combined factors needs to be considered on any project selected as a priority for the Township. There needs to be a predecessor (context) to the Climate Change Proposal that separates the township’s ability (vs the DESIRE) to move forward.
    (2) Missing: lessons learned – CC is not the first county to propose and execute on an ambitious move to combat climate change. Because of you not being the pioneers in this space, it is incumbent on this group to provide an unbiased review of successes and failures and lessons we should learn from other counties. Without this information the proposal is overtly optimistic, and it lacks the necessary grounding in factually represented experiences of others. Counties have been bankrupted because of misdirected climate change combating ideas – stressing the need to learn from those failures.
    (3) Solicitation of comments – there should be a threshold that needs to be reached before this committee can declare that sufficient comments were received. I randomly spoke with 13 members / households in our community and none of them were aware of this proposal. I find this alarming. The knowledge / awareness of proposal threshold you select needs to transcend “posted for a period of X number of days” or “hosted X number of zoom calls to introduce the proposal”. A more relatable metric is how many residents were informed & through what forums. I recommend sending to each resident a synopsis of what is being proposed and doing so via snail mail as well as electronically.

    Comment 3 (MAV) – cost estimates absent. The proposal of this scale would benefit from details regarding cost estimation (to the county, to the residents, to the state, etc). These costs need to be realistic – I see estimate of cost-of-doing-nothing (utopic in nature) and estimate of cost savings (detail is not explained). To thread this needle for a reader with even minimal financial acumen, the proposal should outline options for how the project’s costs will be covered and what savings will be realized and when (so that we can ask the Commissioners about how those savings will impact the County’s balance sheet)

    Comment 4 (MAV) – The proposal should be split into tangible milestones (and phases proposed earlier) but very important and not addressed are: (1) how do we measure success & failure at smaller / discrete milestones and what are the corresponding key performance indicators that we can use for accountability purposes (costs, resources timelines, new inputs, scope creep, other) (2) what is the mechanism for stopping if the project is not delivering in (1).

  22. Shannon Zabko Post author

    I just wanted to say that I encourage this plan and it’s a huge step forward, but no matter what you put into this plan, the plan is not going to come to life unless you create a climate action office.
    Through creating this office you would open the door to so many possibilities such as:
    -dedicated people who would advocate daily within our county government for decision-making that reflects this plan’s commitment to Environmental, Social and Economic sustainability
    -a liaison with the public, that organizes volunteer opportunities as well as environmental education and awareness for the community
    -and very importantly: having a climate action office makes it possible to build partnerships and collaborate with surrounding climate offices, like Radnor’s Environmental Advisory Council, for example, to help make the broader community more sustainable.

  23. Edie Shean-Hammond

    Thank you for preparing this thoughtful plan. I remain concerned that it appears to be operating in a vacuum without context. Please consider the need for federal and state partners to effectively implement the plan.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your comment on the Climate Action Plan. We will consider how we can coordinate most effectively with our federal and state partners as we continue to review the proposed implementation strategies.

  24. Edie Shean-Hammond

    What engagement with the National Park Service are you planning. A great deal of Valley Forge NHP and Hopewell Furnace NHS are located in Chester County.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your input and interest in the Climate Action Plan. As we move forward with our outreach efforts we will definitely consider ways to engage with the National Park Service that would advance the goals of the plan.

  25. Amy Bruckner

    Thank you so much for this very thoughtful plan. There has evidently been a lot of hard work and many hours put into this report. I have been a resident of Chester County for 40 years, my educational background is in Environmental Science, I worked in Environmental Consulting for 17 years and have worked for a Chester County land trust since 2003. I would like to point out some areas I particularly support and some areas for suggestions. Most of my comments are addressed to the Community Wide components of the plan. I will also be attending the public meeting.
    A, Buildings and Energy
    Action E13 – Work towards establishing a dedicated, secure funding source to support renewable energy programs and financial incentives. and F5 – Implement community-wide climate awareness outreach and incentives strategy. I heartily support establishing these incentives. Working for a land trust, I know the value of incentives in the role of land preservation and believe we need to incentivize people as much as possible if we want to achieve the goals stated, not just in this area but in any of the other areas where possible.
    B. Transportation and Land Use
    E5 – E5 Promote conversion of parking lots to include solar canopies and electric vehicle charging facilities and car share parking spaces – Brilliant! Provide incentive for solar parking lot canopies.!
    F2-F4 Trails, rails, sidewalks, walkability. I think these should be a major focus. As a student at WCU 40 years ago, I had no car and lived in the boro. I walked everywhere or took the wonderful TRAIN! I am heartened that the mayor has seen fit to work on getting the rail line back into service!! I ride my bike to work 1 time a week in the good weather, 20 miles each way. About 7 miles of that commute is on trails but the other 13 are on back roads that are becoming increasingly more dangerous to ride every year to the point where I no longer look forward to the ride. We need much more interconnection of trails.
    In the Boros, we could use some kind of Bike share service such as Lime Skooter and Bike Sharing. I visited St. Louis a few years ago and visited the entire city on skooters and bikes, making it an awesomely enjoyable and satisfying experience!
    C. Waste Management
    Need to put the foucs on REDUCE! Recycling and reusing are great but using less is key.
    B17-Educate and promote reduction in food waste. More than that, need a composting program. There is a new company called WasteWell, https://mywastewell.com/, that picks up food waste from residents and returns it as compost they can use in their gardens. I think we need to see this kind of program working with restaurants and getting the compost to local farms!
    The Pachamama Alliance sponsored Project Drawdown (https://drawdown.org/), founded in 2014, which is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the world reach “Drawdown”—the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
    stop climbing and start to steadily decline. Yes, decline is possible and I believe we need to put our sights on that, not just an 80% reduction by 2050.
    Project Drawdown laid out a plan of the top 100 actions that are most effective to reach that goal. Reducing Food Waste is listed as Action #3 in effectiveness!
    Among the top Actions are: Silvopasture (#9), Regenerative Agriculture (#11), Conservation Agriculture (#13), Tree Intercropping ( #16), Managed Grazing (#19), and Multistrata Agroforestry (#28) which brings us to
    D. Agriculture, Food and Forestry
    B9-Explore implementing a no-net loss tree policy…please explore net gain instead of no net loss!
    Incorporating trees into agriculture is an old concept which can be tremendously beneficial for soil and biomass storage of carbon. Restore Our Roots (https://restoreourroots.org/, a subcomittee of the Downingtown Parks and Recreation Commission, is working to educate and promote the concept agroforestry practiced by John Hershey 100 years ago! There’s not enough room here to say much more but this is a much overlooked area. I enthusiastically support most of the objectives in this section but feel that research into agroforestry is needed.

      • Shannon Zabko

        I would love to see wastewell used in corporate and other locations in the county— as they grow larger—like with cafeterias. Chester County Hospital comes to mind as a place that could donate a lot of food scraps and use the compost they receive to create some beautiful landscaping.

  26. Kristen McCann Post author

    Hello!
    I’m a resident of Chester County and I am thrilled at the work being done to create a climate action plan. I will attend the meeting on Thursday. I have a few comments on the plan as is:
    1. I think more should be done to educate about the harm to the environment caused by eating animals and raising animals for food. Perhaps the county can also go mostly meat-free if it has any food prep that it is in charge of.
    2. I really like the portion about supporting composting but I’d like to see more small, neighborhood composting sites pop up. Composting is easy and could make a huge difference with a small amount of education and a composting site that is convenient.
    3. Is there any plan to handle the recycling problem? How do we create recycling plants right here in PA or partner with groups that will provide us with recycling solutions?
    Thank you!

  27. Jane Dugdale

    Please create a climate action office. You might want to learn about the one Radnor Township has created. Also, please study the recommendations of the action plan drafted by the Chester County Environmental Alliance.

  28. Douglas Spatz Post author

    Chester County Climate Action Plan Public Meeting

    I do have a few questions/suggestions for the meeting regarding climate change:

    1. Asphalt, or other black material used for surfacing roads absorbs heat, makes road surface temperatures much higher than surrounding grounds and yet it remains the preferred surface treatment in addition to roads for driveways, public walks, etc. Soil binders are used in numerous countries roads, walking paths, mining and oil drilling platforms, etc. Why can’t we adopt such measures in Chester County for some back roads, bike and walking paths?
    a. Benefits include:
    i. Hard surface
    ii. Not heat absorbing
    iii. Water permeable
    b. Treatment
    i. Natural appearance
    ii. Easy, fast surface preparation
    iii. Lasts 5 – 10 years
    2. A mature tree absorbs carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year. In one year, an acre of forest can absorb twice the CO2 produced by the average car’s annual mileage. We need to plant more trees! What is CC doing about this? New home builders harvest all or nearly all the mature trees for lumber and build homes right on top of each other due to lax zoning laws. For every tree cut down builders should be made to plant two new ones and for each new home garage two new trees should be planted for the number of vehicles a garage can hold.
    3. By promoting techniques that increase the potential of agricultural land to suck in carbon, the backers of Boston based Indigo AG believe they can set the foundation for a major effort to stem climate change. In June 2019, the company announced a new initiative with the ambitious goal of removing 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by paying farmers to modify their practices. CC farmers can be paid to plant specific plants to capture CO2 and return it to the ground. Please read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/06/12/new-plan-remove-trillion-tons-carbon-dioxide-atmosphere-bury-it/

  29. Shannon Zabko

    Thank you for inviting us to review the draft. Please add into the plan that a Climate Action Office will be created: an entity that will be responsible for bringing this plan to life and advocating for it daily. There is a huge amount of potential here but we need dedicated representation within the county office level.

  30. Joel Bartlett

    On behalf of Altair EcoVillage, I strongly endorse the CC CAP. East Pikeland has recognized the need to contribute to reversing the direction of climate change by endorsing a Low Impact Development Ordinance – an overlay in Kimberton Village, and this has been reviewed by CC PC, as well as the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee. We hope to create a model of sustainable housing for the region.

  31. Scott Laird Post author

    General Comment: the base GHG emissions is from 2015. The draft plan calls for re-evaluation of same every 5 years. It is now 6 years since, and the pandemic was not anticipated in the future emissions increase projections based on population growth. This should be addressed in the final plan, if feasible timewise. Try to resist the more easy decision to kick this can down the road.
    Comments on Energy E goals:
    1. What actions does “promote” entail? It should include providing some financial incentives and not merely information sharing and publicity.
    2. Every private residence should be surveyed regarding their use of fossil fuels for home heating and energy use. Provide options and financial incentives available for increased efficiency and reliance on clean(er) energy. Many seniors still in older homes struggle to afford transition costs.
    Thank you. Overall a good plan. Well done.
    Wayne, PA 19087

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your comments and interest in the plan. Regarding the 2015 GHG emissions, the 2015 information is the most currently available through the DVRPC inventory, which was released in 2018. There is a lag time due to the significant effort it takes to collect and analyze the data required to create the inventory. The inventory is updated every five years and so the next inventory is anticipated to use 2020 data. Here is a link with full information regarding the DVRPC inventory: https://www.dvrpc.org/energyclimate/inventory/

  32. Gina M.

    Who do you suggest would be paying for this conversion for businesses and residential homes? I purchased my home purposely because it has gas heat and cooking. I have no interest in converting to electric. The conversion would be very expensive and the electric bills would be even higher. Are you suggesting that this would be mandatory for residents and businesses under your plan? Where exactly do you think the electric will be coming from – a power plant powered by fossil fuels
    – right? I think making steps to offer options and make improvements in government and county buildings is great if that’s what you want to do. Offering incentives and options for businesses and residents to do the same would make sense. My fear is that you might try to step into the territory of government overreach and make something mandatory for residents who do not want to participate. So, I have serious concerns about this plan for those reasons. I look forward to hearing your response.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your comments. Regarding your concerns on conversion to electric heat or appliances, while information on incentives and the benefits of conversion may be provided as part of the public outreach effort, the actual decision on conversion is and would continue to be fully up to the home or business owner.

  33. Paula Kline

    Thank you for this critically important work. The plan generally reflects what is considered best practices for the major strategic tools to address GHG emissions. There are areas where, we as county can and should demonstrate leadership by going beyond the basics. For any of this to succeed, the recommendation for an energy staff person should be a high priority. Ideally this shouldn’t fall to one person, but rather a department. A department that would stay laser focused on reducing GHG emissions within county operations AND providing support for municipal clean energy plans and voluntary programs for the commercial, residential and education sectors. Another approach would be to offer coordination as well for other governmental entities (school districts, waste water and water authorities). A number of states have set up tech support offices to assist municipalities. Mass, NY, Oregon and California offer interesting models. Green Communities Division in Mass has a very detailed system which municipalities can voluntarily participate in. The County could coordinate and perhaps organize financing for specific municipal and other government energy improvements.
    Other comments regarding specific aspects of the plan:
    Buildings and Energy. It would be very helpful if, at the county level, there could be leadership in a few other areas.
    a. Support for pilot green leasing programs to help property owners work with renters to undertake efficiency and cleaner energy actions. See other resources at DOE and ACEEE https://www.aceee.org/multifamily-project
    b. Work with realtors and realtor associations to include energy data in home sales and rental contracts See: Home Energy Score for Real Estate and https://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/sites/default/files/tools/Energy%20Efficiency%20for%20Real%20Estate%20Professionals%20non-editable.pdf and https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/home-efficiency-scores-in-online-real-estate-listings-drive-better-purchasing-decisions
    c. Develop programs in cooperation with PECO’s home energy efficiency goals to support low income households and renters – free or reduced rate audits, weatherization programs, better access to energy bill support, etc.
    d. Work with community service organizations as partners to create community energy centers similar to the exceptional work done by the Energy Coordinating Agency’s neighborhood energy centers in Philadelphia.
    e. The county should consider partnering with DOE’s Better Building Challenge program, identify relevant businesses, facilitate training, participation and recognition.

    On Renewable Energy
    The county could coordinate and support Solsmart designations for municipalities and/or clusters of municipalities using the existing regional divisions used by the planning commission. The county could help with the roll out of the NREL app to assist in this process.
    Convene and support outreach with local lenders to provide home energy loans that are affordable for all income groups
    The County could help by creating a mechanism to encourage and support collective Power Purchase Agreements for these governmental bodies – school districts, wastewater authorities and municipalities. If they support new/added renewable energy on the grid, (which is an important goal) these governmental units will need support with the technical and legal requirements that accompany PPAs. As we have seen in Philadelphia, these PPAs provide stable pricing and often considerable savings.

    Transportation and Land Use
    It would help to have a strategic roll-out plan for EV charging infrastructure across the county in public and commercial locations. A more specific plan with concrete goals for the next 3 years for the installation of charging stations at all government properties with parking lots across the county would leave us poised to respond to financing opportunities that the state or federal government may make available. The County could coordinate the applications for state funding currently available for subsidized installations and help coordinate a multi-municipal shared purchases and installation contracts for chargers to reduce costs.
    Model ordinances. When you prepare model ordinances, please expand to cover EV and solar readiness. This will ensure that new buildings are properly equipped to handle the installation and operation of EV charging infrastructure. The knowledge that a residence or workplace will have the capacity to accommodate charging stations eliminates a potential consumer deterrent from the purchase or lease of an electric vehicle.
    Support and encourage streamlined permitting for EV installations. See NYSERDA guidelines on proper installation of public charging stations. Also San Jose, CA and Loma Linda, CA are examples of municipalities that have adopted streamline EV charging infrastructure ordinances.

    The county could promote, convene, sponsor A Clean Cities Coalition here in the county or in sub-regions of the county to focus on improving emissions related to transportation.
    Encourage municipal Anti-Idling policies. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, eliminating personal vehicle idling would be equivalent to taking 5 million vehicles off the road. Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C., limit idling by some or all vehicles.
    Encourage participation by our municipalities to join the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicles Purchasing Collaborative, a group of over 400 municipal leaders committed to climate action, which works to leverage the buying power of the Climate Mayors cities to reduce the costs for EVs and charging station acquisition for all cities in the U.S. to accelerate city fleet transition. The Collaborative is a resource for training, best practices, educational materials, and analysis support for municipalities EV transition.
    Coordinate the deployment of visible and easy to follow signage along access routes to charging stations and on site, respectively, to guide PEV drivers to charging locations.
    Create a county-wide Electric Vehicle Information Clearinghouse to:
    a. keep track of all the various EV incentives and initiatives at the federal, state and local level;.
    b. serve as a clearinghouse for information on electric vehicles. A one-stop shop for information on rebates, federal tax credits for EVs, state charging infrastructure tax credits, available state funds, utility programs, dealership partnerships, and local initiatives.
    c. Collect, update, and make this information accessible, and help educate the public, residents and businesses transition to clean transportation.
    d. Assist municipalities in applying for EV charging grants from state and federal agencies.
    Encourage PECO to expand rebates and other incentives for purchasing EVs and installing charging stations
    Resilience Section
    The importance of the Hazard Mitigation Plan – which focuses on adaptation to climate related impacts (as opposed to climate related mitigation discussed in this plan) can not be overstated. It is the parallel, companion effort that must be undertaken simultaneously.
    Thank you for the focus on carbon sequestration – protection of natural resources, habitat, etc.

  34. Cindy Lou

    If you can give an ear mark the facts from 2012- to at less 2019 you may possibly make some brilliant suggestions but stopping at 2912?? It’s because the time frame you have chosen fits into you agenda nice & snuggly.
    The weather from 2012 to currently, has absolutely no bearing on on your agenda. Stop wasting our time n tax dollars

  35. Jessica

    On Waste Management: I live in Tredyffrin, which has a relationship with retrievr (https://retrievr.com/) an organization that does home pick-up of clothing and electronics which they recycle. I know a few other townships in the county have relationships with retrievr. It would seem a quick and easy thing for the County to align with them so that everyone could partake of this service. One of the best features is that they accept textiles for recycling that cannot be donated, and otherwise end up in landfills — like socks with holes, ripped curtains, sheets with tears. Retrievr says on their site that 85% of discarded clothing ends up in landfills. This would seem to be a good program to help preserve space in our landfill, with minimal work on the part of the County itself.

  36. Donna Delany

    Because Pennsylvania does not regulate forestry, I would strongly recommend enhancing incentives to people who woodlands to NOT harvest trees. Due to deer overbrowse and invasive plants, we are not seeing regeneration of woodlands in Chester County. Working to bring a carbon credit plan here – creating ways for small woodland owners to group together to sell carbon credits – that would be a high value activity. Every time a forest is logged, biodiversity plummets. I can connect you with the research articles behind that statement, if you want. The Old Growth Forest Network has good information.

  37. Bill Haaf Post author

    I offer the following feedback on the climate action plan: Note – I use the term ‘township’ to include all local governments.

    1. I believe the most important goal of this county climate action plan committee should be the creation of a county wide Power purchase agreement (PPA ) for renewable energy such that ALL townships and cities and boroughs can purchase renewable electricity and not be forced to have each entity build solar arrays at considerable cost with long payback times.

    In addition, this county wide PPA(s) would quickly create a huge reduction in greenhouse gases across the county. This would be the biggest carbon footprint the county could do.

    I note many if not most townships (even if they have a “100% renewable energy goal”) will find the capital outlay expense of solar arrays (to offset most of their electrical use) will be huge barriers and thus will be very slow to implement.

    This is true in our small township where the cost to install an (20 kw) array that will generate 28,000 kw-hr/ yr would cost approx. $58,000 after about $10,000 in Pa & Fed rebates. This would take 12 – 14 yrs for payback. That is a long time to justify in budgets. And that is a small 20 kW array.

    All solar arrays need maintenance and cleaning. There will be panel and micro inverter failures. And trees that must be cut down. All public issues that must be addressed. It is much less expensive and less of a burden for townships to purchase their electrons as used from a PPA and avoid large capital expense.

    It is noted that West Chester and five other boroughs are working on purchasing their own PPA. This is very useful information for the County; BUT we should understand if this will “use up” so much electricity that the rest of county electrical use may not support another PPA.

    This climate committee should survey electrical usage across the county as well as township interest in supporting a PPA to better understand the potential energy needs.

    2. All townships and boroughs should be required to report 2019 as baseline energy use for all energy sources and every 2 yrs issue updates reporting greenhouse gas emissions; both absolute and relative to 2019 baseline.

    3. The Agricultural section of the report states: “Community-wide Engagement Chester County will reduce community-wide agriculture and forestry GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration by implementing the following objectives: Grow and preserve open spaces and natural areas.; Support local food production and the agricultural community. “

    – These are like saying “you support motherhood and apple pie”. I believe you are overlooking the large energy footprint from farming operations.

    – e.g.: there are lots of greenhouse operations in the county. These all requires significant energy to heat the greenhouses. Normally these burn oil or propane or natural gas with large GHG emissions.

    – e.g.: Mushroom farms use huge amounts of energy (most mushroom operations use over one million Kw-hrs/ yr); but only a very few have installed solar panels to partially offset their electrical demand. Moreover the industry is secretive about their large energy use. While these are not controlled by the county they represent a huge potential.

    The county should start discussions on how the mushroom industry could and should reduce their huge carbon footprint.

    – e.g.: How many farms are digesting manure into renewable methane? How many should?

    – e.g.: It takes lots of energy to heat commercial chicken barns. What are these companies doing to reduce their carbon footprint?

    – Every commercial operation and farming operations larger than 20 acres should be surveyed for their energy use and their plans for reducing their carbon footprint.

    4. Many images and charts in the draft are many years out of date. These should all be at least 2019.

    5. You should add – A graph or picture showing the total energy consumption in America by various sources (electric; nat gas; nuclear; coal; propane; etc.) and a graph – chart showing the fuel sources for just electricity generation. These would greatly improve the value of the report by providing graphic depictions of where the country is vs where it needs to be.

    6. The public needs to know if your energy metrics are being meet. However, there is no discussion of how the county energy use and upgrades will be audited and assessed for progress and reported to the public. This is in addition to reporting all Greenhouse gas emissions at least every 2 yrs.

    An auditing program for all energy using facilities and vehicles and operations is critical for determining that efficiency changes and renewable energy use are actually occurring. This information must be made public. A 3rd party auditor is suggested.

    7. All townships could learn a lot by knowing the details of the geothermal at Hibernia mansion. Many may wish to consider installing geothermal as they upgrade HVAC equipment.EG: What size is the geo unit? Cost? Details on number of wells and equipment? Efficiency rating of ‘furnace’? Contractor name? Discounts?

    8. The report states: • Installed energy efficient appliances at the prison and Pocopson Home.
    – That is nice but appliances are a small % of the energy use. What about the energy use of HVAC systems? When will these be upgraded to be much more energy efficient? And what is the time line to move to renewable energy?

    – The report states: • Installed solar panels and high efficiency HVAC systems at the Downingtown and Oxford District Courts. How were these details shared with all townships? So they can learn about “high efficiency HVAC” for their operations?

    9. How were the learnings from the “Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA) Initiatives” shared ? “The County completed an energy-savings performance contract from 2015 to 2018 using the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act for 313 Market, Pocopson Home, Government Services Center, the prison, the youth center, and Henrietta Hankin Library. The work included lighting retrofits, water conservation, fuel switching and steam valve and pipe insulation as well as installation of cooling tower sub metering. Outcomes of the GESA program include the following…”

    Finally, the report sets great goals noted below: but per my comments above – these goals need actions. Currently they are just words on paper:

    “ Establish and support an Environmental and Energy Advisory Board Actions Impact Lead Entity Priority Timeframe F1 Recommend best environmental and energy practices in the areas of buildings, facilities and operations; fuels, vehicles, and transportation; food; responsible purchasing; housing; energy sources; air quality; stormwater management; natural resource protection; and climate change. Co-benefits: Jobs and economic prosperity, Public health and environmental quality A EEAB High Immediate F2 Identify environmental and energy policies the County has adopted and recommend ways to promote and educate about Chester County’s environmental and energy initiatives. Co-benefits: Public health and environmental quality A EEAB Medium Short-term F3 Identify and recommend voluntary actions, projects, and programs for municipalities, businesses, non-profits, and other partners to implement County environmental and energy policies. Co-benefits: Jobs and economic prosperity, Public health and environmental quality A EEAB Medium Short-term F4 Recommend environmental and energy related actions, projects, and programs to the Board of Commissioners for implementation. Co-benefits: Public health and environmental quality A EEAB High Short-term F5 Implement community-wide climate awareness outreach and incentives strategy. A EEAB Medium Short-term F6 Explore the creation of a Sustainable Energy Advocate Office or Climate Action Office to lead, coordinate, educate, and engage.”

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your comment and suggestions. Regarding comment #4: Please note that the most current greenhouse gas emissions inventory available from DVRPC is from 2015. The next inventory update will use 2020 data.

  38. Marc Arot

    Who are these ICF and ICP folks that you are basing all of your temperature and rainfall projections from? Are you basing all of these plans on bad math and bad data? Projections like this have been used for the last 40 years and they seldom came true (Remember ”global cooling” danger in the 1970’s? Or “An Inconvenient Truth” where we all have should have been under water by now?). Please list other sources you have explored for this data, perhaps the ones that show a less gloomy and possibly more realistic outcome of temperatures and rainfall.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your comment. The data used for climate projections and greenhouse gas emissions were provided through the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Office of Energy and Climate Change. Information about the climate projections can be viewed here: https://www.dvrpc.org/EnergyClimate/CCMIT/ Information specific to Chester County, in which both “optimistic” and “pessimistic” projections are shown, can be viewed through the county links at the bottom of the webpage. As noted at the top of the webpage, IFC is the consulting firm that DVRPC worked with to develop the climate projections. The reference to ICP in Chester County’s plan was a typo which has been corrected in the on-line draft.

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