Climate Smart Community

Highland is a Climate Smart Community

In 2014, the Highland Town Board adopted a resolution to join the New York’s Climate Smart Communities Program, a statewide initiative designed to provide municipalities with an array of tools and strategies to reduce energy consumption and costs, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and become more climate resilient.

Taking the pledge to become a Climate Smart Community opened the door to grant opportunities and expert assistance to help Highland reach its goals for energy conservation, waste reduction, renewable energy projects, energy efficiency in new construction, and planning for weather-related emergencies.

Energy Benchmarking

In 2017, Highland’s Town Board adopted a resolution to benchmark energy use at town facilities, and to publish energy use data annually. Benchmarking involves collecting and analyzing each building’s energy use data for all energy fuels and sources, calculating the dollar costs and GHG emissions associated with each particular fuel or source, and comparing the resulting data with information from other buildings of similar size and functionality. The Climate Smart Communities Program recommends that towns use the EPA’s free “Portfolio Manager” software to benchmark energy use.

Here are some key words or phrases used in Highland’s reports:


Energy use intensity (EUI) expresses a building’s energy use as a function of its size and other characteristics. For most property types in Portfolio Manager, the EUI is expressed as energy per square foot per year. It is calculated by dividing the total energy consumed by the building in one year (measured in kBtu) by the total gross floor area of the building. In general, a low EUI signifies good energy performance.

Source EUI:

Source energy represents the total amount of raw fuel that is required to operate the building. It incorporates all transmission, delivery, and production losses. By taking all energy use into account, the score provides a complete assessment of energy efficiency in a building. Source EUI is the most comprehensive measure of a building’s energy performance.

Site EUI:

Site Energy is the amount of heat and electricity consumed by a building as reflected in the facility’s utility bills. Site EUI helps building managers understand how the energy use for an individual building has changed over time.

GHG (as measured in MTCO2e):

CO2 equivalent or CO2e, is a unit of measure that allows us to express the impact of each different GHG in terms of the amount of CO2 that would create the same amount of warming. CO2e allows us to express a carbon footprint consisting of different GHGs as a single, consistent number.


The Town of Highland Energy Committee, with the assistance of the Sullivan County Office of Sustainable Energy, has collected baseline year data on six town-operated buildings:

  • Town Hall
  • Senior and Community Center
  • Barryville Court House
  • Town Barn
  • Barryville Fire Building
  • Eldred Fire Building
Senior's Center

For the Courthouse, Senior Center and Town Barn, 2014 was selected as the baseline year.

For the Barryville Fire Building, Town Hall and Eldred Fire Building, 2015 was selected as the baseline year because more complete data was available for 2015. 

The baseline data report indicates that the Highland Senior and Community Center and the Highland Town Hall are our best-performing buildings. These are our largest and most intensively-used buildings (hours per week of occupancy), and have received energy improvement updates such as insulation (Town Hall) and air-source heat pumps for heating and cooling (Senior and Community Center).

The Courthouse and Town Barn are the poorest performing town buildings. In the case of the Courthouse, the building’s age (circa 1867) and structural materials present a challenge. Electrical usage is efficient considering that air source heat pumps are being used to heat and cool a building that is not well air-sealed and insulated.

The Barryville and Eldred Fire Buildings are not consistently occupied and are not heated to accommodate human occupancy. The Barryville Fire Building’s high EUI (much higher than the Senior and Community Center) indicates a need for further analysis and troubleshooting to discover possible cost-effective measures to improve energy performance.

Town Hall is the only Highland building eligible for an Energy Star rating due to its square footage and category of use. Commercial buildings use many types of energy, including heating oil, propane and electricity. ENERGY STAR converts the consumption of each type of energy into a single common unit and expresses it as a score of 1-100, so that the energy performance of diverse buildings can be compared equitably. The Highland Town Hall’s Energy Star rating of 58 indicates that the building’s energy performance is about average in comparison to buildings of similar size, use category and patterns of occupancy.


Highland Building Data Chart

Click chart to enlarge and/or download.

Highland Building Data Chart as of 101117

© Catskills Photography Charlie Hoffman