Yorks Green History

We envision a sustainable, just, clean, and healthy world, where humans live in harmony with each other and the Earth, free from the perils of a warming planet.

It all started in 2006…

…with a grassroots citizens’ committee, ‘York Goes Green.’

Since our inception in May of 2018, we have been affiliated with a nation-wide initiative (Readyfor100). This initiative is designed to motivate individual communities to commit to using renewable energy sources for all energy use community-wide by specific target dates. This goal was met in July of 2019 when the town Selectboard voted unanimously to join The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. Since then our group has broadened its stated goals to include direct environmental actions.

We are affiliated with a nation-wide Sierra Club initiative (Readyfor100). The Sierra Club initiative is designed to motivate individual communities to commit to using renewable energy sources for all energy use community-wide by specific target dates.

We accept the scientific consensus that the warming of our planet, caused by excessive greenhouse gases, poses an existential threat to humanity. Our priority is to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere by eliminating the burning of fossil fuels wherever possible.

See our journey throughout the years:

In 2009 the Board of Selectmen appointed an Energy Steering Committee, an official municipal body. The mission of the Energy Steering Committee is to advise the Selectboard on matters of energy and to assist the Selectboard in reducing York’s carbon emissions. That includes recommending strategies, policies, and projects for energy conservation and clean energy. The committee has proposed and managed several green projects approved and funded by York voters.

Over five years, York voters approved a total of $400,000 and York received $120,255 in grants for energy initiatives. Efficiency improvements in the Town Hall, both Fire Stations, the Police Station, and the Grant House have reduced the carbon footprint of York’s government.

The York Beach Fire Station underwent a retrofit in 2015 –extensive insulation, LED lighting and a heat pump — and a grant-funded solar array was installed. This project serves as a model of how to retain a structure’s historic character while transforming it into a near-zero emissions building.

In November and December of 2016, the York Planning Board conducted a survey of roughly 1,200 registered voters.

The results were unambiguous:

  • Renewable Energy: 76.5% of respondents agree that York should reduce its carbon (greenhouse gas) emissions.
  • Carbon Emissions: 77.8% of respondents agree that York should adopt building codes that set a high standard for energy efficiency.
  • Energy Efficiency: 69.5% of voters agree that York should expand its use of renewable energy, such as solar array on the York landfill.
  • Greenhouse Gas: 49+% of York voters agree that York should invest financial resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

On November 7th, 2017, the voters of York approved the Energy Chapter to York’s comprehensive plan.

The Energy Steering Committee developed the energy chapter in collaboration with Dylan Smith, York’s Planning Director, and York’s Planning Board (the Planning Board is responsible for managing the Comprehensive Plan). In voting for the Energy Charter, the voters approved its vision that “100% of our energy for both electricity and heat will come from renewable resources.”

The vision includes:

  • Electric vehicle charging stations in convenient locations throughout the community
  • A Town fleet of mostly hybrids and electric vehicles
  • Access to clean energy for all citizens of York regardless of income
  • Greenhouse gas emissions reduced to nearly zero
  • Upgrading all existing buildings to the most efficient possible
  • Requiring all new buildings to be built to net-zero emissions standards;
  • Converting all heat and transportation energy from oil and gas to electricity;
  • Powering all electricity from renewable sources, especially rooftop solar and solar farms.

In 2017 York voters approved the conversion of the Town’s streetlights to LEDs. The final vendor selection was confirmed by the Selectboard at their meeting of January 28, 2019.