The goal: in 2018, 100 Ulster County businesses, organizations, or municipalities will complete an energy retrofit, install solar or other renewable energy, or implement another action that will both save money and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Flanked by the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River, Ulster County is famous for its beautiful outdoor landscapes and increasingly, as a leader in sustainability. Featured prominently in “Dreaming Green,” a special supplement in National Geographic, showcasing the County’s environmental efforts ranging from its extensive network of rail trails and electric vehicle charging stations, local agricultural projects, to procuring 100% of its electricity from renewable energy credits. Recently, the County turned on its new utility scale solar project sited on an old landfill. Under the leadership of County Executive Mike Hein, with the help of his dedicated staff including the Department of the Environment coordinator, Amanda LaValle, Ulster County is showing that sustainability goes hand in hand with economic development.
Now, with the Green Business Challenge (GBC), Ulster County will engage even more people to take action and address the climate crisis while investing in the local, green economy. The GBC is initiated by the Ulster Climate Smart Committee and spearheaded by its chair, Manna Jo Greene, an Ulster County legislator and longtime environmental leader in the Hudson Valley. Other members include the Climate Smart Committee, a team of volunteer GBC Ambassadors and local experts, with the support of the Ulster County Department of the Environment and the Office of Economic Development.
The purpose of the Ulster County Green Business Challenge is to help Ulster County businesses, organizations and municipalities reduce greenhouse gas emission, mitigate climate change, and in most cases, reap considerable savings doing so. Also of paramount importance is supporting local green building contractors, renewable energy providers and other businesses that implement sustainability practices.
New Yorkers for Clean Power is a proud partner of the Green Business Challenge and hosts GBC steering committee meetings at our Kingston storefront. Ultimately, we hope that this pilot project can serve as a model for other counties across New York State. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in starting a Green Business Challenge in your community!
For more on the Ulster County Green Business Challenge, visit
Watch this short video featuring the father and son who are working hard to make Bread Alone Bakery a thriving, green business!
Green Business Challenge Actions
Actions that businesses can take to become an Ulster County Green Business Leader:
1) Energy audit: Undertaking an energy audit is usually the first step because that will help GBC participants to understand and prioritize the most effective actions to take, however the audit must be followed by one or more of the following actions:
2) Energy retrofit: Undertake an energy retrofit, which can include: Air-sealing and insulation; Installing ground-source (geothermal) or air-source heat pump for heating and cooling; switching to LED lighting: interior, exterior or municipal street lighting
3) Install a solar array or other renewable energy system to generate your own power: Wind or small, low-impact hydroelectric would also qualify.
4) Purchase 100% renewable energy from a LOCAL source of renewable energy, such as a Community Solar Project or hydroelectric facility.
5) Purchase an electric vehicle or install one or more electric vehicle charging stations. Switching to EV fleets is a great way to improve transportation, especially if combined with renewable energy generation
6) Food waste reuse or composting: Restaurants and other food waste generators implement food waste reuse with Food Bank of the Hudson Valley and/or composting via local haulers who will take it to the UCRRA or other composting facilities.
7) Other actions: Significantly reducing single use plastic and host of other actions that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, or otherwise addresses climate change are welcome.
Kicking off the Green Business Challenge with Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and allies!
Top photo: Front row (From Left): Ron Leonard, Climate Smart Community Member; Betta Broad, Outreach Director, New Yorkers for Clean Power; Amanda LaValle, Coordinator, Ulster County Department of the Environment; County Executive Mike Hein; Ulster County Legislator Manna Jo Greene; Kale Kaposhilin, Co-Founder, Tech Meet-up and MoonFarmer. Back row: Nels Leader, Vice-President, Bread Alone Bakery; Doug Comeau, Director of Engineering, Monhonk Mountian House; Bob Ryan, President of Ryan & Ryan Insurance Brokers, Inc.; Tom Holsapple, CEO, Frost Valley YMCA; Jeff Domasnski, Senior Manager, Energy & Sustainability Group at IBTS – Institute for Building Technology and Safety; Lisa Mitten, Campus Sustainability Coordinator, SUNY New Paltz.