Woodstock achieves carbon-neutral status

The town of Woodstock has reached its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2017, former Councilman Ken Panza told the town board in a report last week. Thanks to geothermal heating at the highway garage, heat pumps in other facilities and some solar panels, the town has been able to reduce its carbon footprint substantially. The electricity used by the town operations is also cleaner than it used to be, explained Panza, who represents Woodstock on the Ulster County Climate Smart Committee.

“The power in Upstate New York is the cleanest in the country,” he said. The region has achieved that status through mostly hydroelectric and nuclear generating plants.

Other initiatives include the Police Department switching from cruisers with gas-guzzling V8 engines to those with V6 engines, according to Panza. One day, police may be able to use hybrid cruisers, but the technology isn’t there yet, he noted.

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To offset the rest, the town has identified 500 acres of unmanaged forest that can absorb the carbon, Panza said. He said 20 percent of town carbon emissions come from electricity and once the town installs more solar panels, that will be gone.

“At that point, we have run out of technological options.” said Panza.

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