Ulster County Executive Mike Hein does not believe that fiscal responsibility and environmental sustainability are mutually-exclusive concepts. Instead, under his guidance, the County is leading the way as the most environmentally-friendly county in New York State, and its commitment to clean energy has garnered national attention. In 2009, Ulster partnered with the nonprofit Green Infrastructure Center to develop comprehensive habitat mapping in order to preserve natural habitat while facilitating ecotourism. In 2015, Ulster earned a spot on the EPA’s list of top 30 local governments for green energy. And last December, the county was featured in National Geographic for its ongoing efforts in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and nature conservation. The article highlights successes like the John Burroughs Black Creek Corridor, which filled a gap in the wildlife pathway for Blueback herring and provided hundreds of acres of new trails for hikers.
Ulster County officials recognize the benefits of environmental preservation, not only to the ecosystem but to the local economy; in 2015, tourism revenues in the county reached their highest levels on record. Ulster’s attractions generated more than $530 million in tourism spending from visitors across the globe.
From border to border, the County converted its bus fleet to biodiesel, switched to LED street lighting, and is installing solar arrays to become even more efficient. Ulster purchases 100% of its electricity from renewable resources, making it the first and only net-carbon-neutral county so far in New York State. Ulster also boasts more than a dozen electric car-charging stations, the most municipal-sponsored locations in the State. It is also steadily converting its official vehicle fleet to fuel efficient and electric cars to cut carbon emissions.
SUNY Ulster’s Kingston Center was renovated from a former elementary school to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, and boasts energy-efficient heating and cooling, LED lighting, car-charging stations, and permeable pavement and bioretention ponds that reduce stormwater runoff. County Executive Mike Hein envisioned and oversaw the project. “Ulster County is leading the way as the most environmentally friendly county in New York State,” he says. “I firmly believe that government must lead by example.”
Ulster County is doing business differently. If you think that what’s good for the environment can also be good for the bottom line, we want to help your business grow in Ulster County. Call us to see how we can help.