MONTOUR FALLS, N.Y. (WETM) — The Village of Montour Falls was given a 2023 Better Project Award by the U.S. Department of Energy on April 12.

The Better Project Award honors efforts made to reduce energy use, water use, waste, and carbon emissions. Montour Falls was given this award for its energy and waste reduction projects. These projects have supported Montour Falls’ sustainability and carbon emission reduction goals.

“Developing a clear, comprehensive set of practical community priorities was key to driving sustainability actions,” said Montour Falls Mayor Jim Ryan. “Over the past five years, the Village has demonstrated a strong commitment to community innovation and has networked extensively in order to create a variety of valuable partnerships.”

The village created a pilot program to educate businesses and residents on reducing and diverting food waste in 2021. This program was successful at removing a large amount of waste from the waste stream. The types of waste removed were 26 tons of food, 6.25 tons of methane, and 4 tons of wood.

The Village of Montour Falls is developing a permanent waste reduction education program due to the success of the pilot program. The village has also commissioned a study to find the best location for a composting facility in the Southern Tier.

“I am proud that the Village has been able to accomplish all of the projects to date without passing on any cost to residents through a combination of grants, in-kind partner support, staff in-kind, and cost savings through increased building energy efficiency and LED streetlight conversion,” said Ryan.

Montour Falls began working on sustainability and climate change mitigation in 2018 using activities that were guided by the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative and New York State’s Climate Smart Communities and Clean Energy Communities programs. Through these programs, the village received support from Cornell Engineering.