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Dutchess Goes Green

Dutchess County has developed a reputation as a leader, whether in economic development, senior citizen initiatives or a host of other programs. That is what we want to do here with the “Dutchess Goes Green” agenda.   We want to have vision and strategy to implement real change.”

"Protecting our character of breathtaking beauty, incredible rolling hills, spectacular farmland, and the majesty of the Hudson River must be a number one priority for every resident and business."

Find out how we, as a county and as citizens, are  thinking and caring for the environment that sustains us;  and find out how you, as a resident or business of Dutchess County, can think and behave green.


Green Operating Principles

Dutchess County:

  1. Is committed to the mutually compatible goals of maintaining long term economic vitality and a healthy environment.
  2. Promotes sustainability principles which will provide for current needs without sacrificing the needs of future generations.
  3. Will make operational and construction decisions based on a systematic evaluation of the long-term impacts of an activity or product on health and safety, community planning, the natural and cultural environment and a sustainable economy for the County and beyond.
  4. Seeks to maintain the natural resources and ecosystems which sustain biodiversity.
  5. Will routinely consider the regional and global implications of climate change, loss of biological diversity, and threats to resources such as air, water, agricultural land, natural habitats.
  6. Will act as a model for sustainable management practices.
  7. Will be committed to insure its operations are conducted in a manner consistent with principles of sustainability and to contribute positively towards the quality of life of all citizens.

Two tracks in pursuing a GREENer Dutchess County

The first effort is to look internally and specifically at County government facilities, activities and actions through the Green Internal work Group. This group prepares a GREEN/sustainability plan for the County which includes both specific recommendations for internal County actions and a process for the group to work with each County agency to identify opportunities to implement changes using the GREEN principles.   

Using the GREEN Operating Principles, the GREEN Group's activities specifically focus on:

  • Preparing a GREEN/Sustainability Plan for County operations/activities, including long term goals;
  • Identifying opportunities for coordinated sustainable activities by County agencies;
  • Identifying costs and benefits;
  • Recommending implementation steps both for immediate action and for an ongoing program to:
    • Assist County agencies in developing and implementing their individual components of the GREEN/Sustainability Plan;
    • Assist agencies in educating their employees on how to carry out sustainable business practices;
    • Review energy use and the environmental impact of County practices;
    • Create and maintain a Sustainable/GREEN internet website;
    • Recognize and celebrate innovative public and private practices which foster sustainability;
    • Eliminate barriers to sustainable practices; and
    • Identify opportunities for improvements based on effective strategies used elsewhere in the public and private sectors.

The second track is to foster a process and dialogue with the County community at large through the oversight of an external work group which will review issues and make recommendations for practices involving actions by individuals, governments and entities outside of County control.  

The County Executive establishes an External Work Group including representatives from the private sector to advise the County on how to make all sectors of the County more sustainable. The External Work Group reports to the County Executive on:

  • Effective sustainability activities being implemented within the County;
  • Opportunities for improvements based on effective strategies used in other locales in the public and private sectors;
  • The best means to integrate sustainability into county government/public/private sector policies and actions.

GOALS of the Dutchess GREEN Sustainability Plan

  • Institutionalize sustainability as an Agency/ County value.
  • Raise employee/citizen involvement in sustainable practices.
  • Improve business/personal practices to ensure that they protect and enhance the environment.
    • Maximize efficiency to minimize energy and water use
    • Shift to clean, lower impact energy for both facilities and vehicles
    • Shift to non-toxic, recycled and re-manufactured materials in purchasing and construction
    • Expand markets for local products, services and labor and products when energy savings can be obtained
  • Foster efficient use of all resources so that waste is reduced or eliminated.
  • Promote Greenway development principles to foster strong communities, limit sprawl, enhance local agriculture, and improve the overall quality of life in Dutchess County.

Action Areas

The Sustainability Plan addresses the following internal and external areas of County/Community actions and policy:

  • Facility construction / Operations, and Maintenance
  • Purchase of goods and services
  • Planning and Community Development Policies
  • Transportation – vehicles (fleet & use)
  • Institutional Operations / Employee/personal behavior / Community interaction
  • Resource consumption and management