Southampton moves to curb emissions after declaring climate emergency

Village planning commission votes to adopt more stringent building codes

Southampton Village faces exceptional risk due to rising sea levels (Hamptons Real Estate, iStock)
Southampton Village faces exceptional risk due to rising sea levels (Hamptons Real Estate, iStock)

Months after declaring a climate emergency, local officials in Southampton are taking steps to reduce building emissions.

The Southampton Village planning commission voted this month to adopt the New York Stretch Code, a voluntary framework that applies more stringent energy efficiency standards to buildings in local jurisdictions, 27East reported.

The village, which is located within the larger Southampton Town, would receive a $5,000 grant for adopting the code.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority claims that NYStretch saves 11 percent more energy than the standard state energy code. Twenty jurisdictions in the state have adopted it since its inception last year, according to Andrew Manitt, director of Molloy College’s Sustainability Institute.

The framework is intended to speed up emissions reductions in local communities, a process NYSERDA believes is not happening quickly enough, according to Manitt.

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“It’s attempting to look ahead into the future and create a model code that is about one code cycle more advanced than the current state code,” he told 27East.

The village board’s emergency declaration, issued in May, set a goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions entirely by 2030.

Studies have found that Southampton is among the nation’s most vulnerable communities to the risks of rising sea levels caused by climate change.

The Union of Concerned Scientists found that Southampton was second only to the central coast of California in the amount of property tax revenue that would be jeopardized by chronic flooding. Still, the community appears divided over what to do about it.

Michelangelo Lieberman, co-chair of both the village’s planning commission and its climate action committee, is scheduled to present NYStretch to the village board next week. The board will hold a hearing on adopting the code next Tuesday.

[27East] — Dennis Lynch