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Mitigate & Adapt: Extreme Temperatures 
Insulation Installation

 

As the climate warms, extreme cold events might decrease in frequency, while extreme heat events could increase in frequency.   Vulnerable populations could face increased risk from extreme heat and its associated illnesses.  As temperatures rise, more buildings, facilities, and infrastructure systems could exceed their ability to cope.  As our infrastructure ages, utility and transportation systems will be at increased risk to fail if not properly maintained to adapt to our changing climate.

(Erie County's Hazard Mitigation Plan 2022) 

 

Extreme Cold

The Town of Aurora will continue to experience extreme cold, even though on average the number of days each winter may decrease. Continued efforts to educate buildings owners on the importance of improving energy efficiency through heating and lighting upgrades in our older building stock will be crucial. Residents can save money, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce cold exposure by installing insulation and/or energy efficient windows.

NYSERDA offers a range of residential programs designed to help identify areas where homes are driving up energy costs. They can provide assistance in completing energy efficiency improvements for a healthier, safer, and more comfortable homes.

 

 

Buildings alone account for 32% of greenhouse gas emissions in New York.  In response to this sobering statistic, in 2023 NYS passed building electrification legislation for new construction. Beginning in 2026, this law requires most new buildings to use electric heat and appliances, instead of fossil fuels. This will result in fossil fuel reduction, energy savings, and improved health & safety for building occupants. Passing this law was not an easy task as many scare tactics and misinformation were employed to undermine the proposed legislation. This information is still being spread. We encourage you to inform yourself and others by reading the following Facts and Myths:

Extreme Temperatures:  Mitigate & Adapt

All-Electric Legislation Facts and Myths 

(Source: NYS Assembly, The All-electric Buildings Law-What it Means For You.)

  • Myth: New York has banned gas stoves, or will even be seizing them from homes.

  • Fact: Gas stoves are still legal in New York State under this law. Existing homes are unaffected by this bill, and New Yorkers are free to keep the stoves currently in their home. additionally, there are numerous carveouts and exemptions that will allow gas to be used in some new construction even after the law goes into effect.

  • Myth: If my gas stove breaks, I will need to replace it with an electric one.
    Fact: You will still be allowed to purchase and install gas appliances as replacements.

  • Myth: All-electric buildings are more expensive for consumers.
    Fact: Electric buildings can save homeowners nearly $1,000 a year on heating. 

  • Myth: All-electric buildings are more expensive to build.
    Fact: Electric buildings are cheaper than mixed-fuel ones. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, this is because all-electric homes only need a single heat pump system, eliminating separate, redundant systems for oil or gas. 

  • Myth: New York’s grid can’t handle the energy demand from new all-electric buildings.
    Fact: The grid is up to the task. Energy-efficient all-electric buildings will use significantly less electricity than buildings which run on fossil fuels.  New York is also rapidly increasing its grid’s capacity with renewable energy sources.  In places where the grid can’t handle this increase in demand, waivers can be issued. 

  • Myth: Only fossil fuels can effectively heat buildings in our cold climate.
    Fact: New research shows that electric heat pumps can heat homes in temperatures as low as -13 degrees, all while using just 1/3 of the energy of gas or oil heat- thus helping families reduce their utility bills by hundreds of dollars every year.

  • Myth: Heat pumps put residents at a disadvantage during a power outage.
    Fact: Gas furnaces also require electricity, leaving them equally vulnerable compared to heat pumps. Additionally, gas-powered generators are still permitted under New York’s law.

  • Myth: New Yorkers will be forced to switch their homes over to electric.
    Fact: The law will prevent most new buildings from installing fossil fuel-burning equipment. It does not apply to existing buildings. 

  • Myth: The all-electric buildings law will destroy jobs.
    Fact: The New York State Climate Action Council predicts it will create 100,000 new jobs in energy-efficient construction, heating and cooling.

  • Myth: These new requirements are in effect now.

  • Fact: The new law will start phasing in beginning in 2026 and will be fully implemented beginning in 2029, depending on the size of the construction project. 

Resources For Affordable Energy Upgrades

 

New Yorkers are not required to go all electric in their current homes. However, programs are already in place to assist families who want to reduce their carbon footprint.  See if YOU may qualify! 

 

  • EmPower NY NYSERDA provides these no-cost energy efficiency solutions to income-eligible New Yorkers, helping nearly 160,000 families to date. Renters and homeowners both qualify for these free upgrades. 

  • The Federal Inflation Reduction Act includes tax credits and rebates that can help save you thousands on energy-efficient home renovations, appliances and vehicles. This includes up to $7,500 in tax credits for electric vehicles and charging equipment. 

  • The Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit-  The IRS can help you save you up to $1,200 a year for upgrades like insulation, doors, windows and skylights and home energy assessments, as well as high efficiency central air conditioning. Water heaters and heat pumps may also qualify. 

  • The Residential Clean Energy Credit from the IRS includes eligible rooftop solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps and standalone batteries to store electricity. If you choose to install any of these in your home, you may qualify for a 30% tax credit. Qualifying expenses include labor, permits, and inspection, with no cap on the total purchase price.

Town of Aurora Highway Department

The maintenance of our town roads and bridges during the winter months remains a top priority. The Town of Aurora Highway Department maintains 62 miles of town roads.  Generally roads are repaired and paved in the spring and summer seasons. In the winter the Highway Department plows and salts all town roads and approximately 70 miles of Erie County roads per contract with the county.  Town road salt is purchased locally and personnel are trained in road salt application best practice standards for soil health, run-off, and ground water protection. 

Extreme Heat

Erie County's Hazard Mitigation Plan (2022), states that as the climate warms, extreme cold events might decrease in frequency, while extreme heat events could increase in frequency.  With increased temperatures, susceptible populations could face increased vulnerability to extreme heat and its associated illnesses.  As temperatures rise, more buildings, facilities, and infrastructure systems could exceed their ability to cope. As our infrastructure continues to age, utility and transportation systems will be at increased risk to fail if not properly maintained to 

adapt to our changing climate.

Cooling Centers-

Access to air conditioning at work or home for a few hours a day during an extreme heat event can significantly reduce the effect of heat on health. Since this may not be always possible, cooling centers are places where people may go to cool down during hot weather. Cooling centers may include air-conditioned facilities like libraries, community and senior centers, schools, supermarkets, and malls. Recreational areas, such as our town's community pool, may be included as a place to get cool. 

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Town of Aurora Senior Center
Designated Cooling Center

Cooling centers are air-conditioned facilities where you can go to cool down during extreme heat.

The Town of Aurora Senior Center is an emergency shelter for the Town of Aurora.  It is equipped with a generator and will be open during emergencies.

Town of Aurora Community Pool-

Stay cool in the pool! Open from June-mid August, the Town of Aurora Community Pool  on South Street is open for Lap swims, lessons, and open swimming. The pool is open to residents & non-residents for member rates or pay-as-you-go based on income. 

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Town of Aurora Open Space Committee-

Mitigating against the effects of extreme heat requires that we protect our open spaces and preserve our forests, meadows and farms. The Town of Aurora's Open Space Committee's mission is to inventory, evaluate, and prioritize the Town of Aurora’s open space resources and work with the community to develop and promote a plan for the protection of these resources.

Village of East Aurora
Tree Board-

Shade keeps us cool, and their canopies protect our homes, yards, and parks from heat. The Village of East Aurora Tree Board's mission is to protect & improve our public, street and park trees. Their goal is to plant 10,000 new trees in the Village and Town!  

The Tree Board is available to answer any questions regarding trees and tree plantings in the community and provide advice. 

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Cool Pavements-

Alternatives to Blacktop and Concrete using cool pavements are another means of reducing the heat island effect. These pavements can be used in urban roads and parking lots as they are modified to reflect more solar energy, and enhance water evaporation, thereby keeping the pavement cooler than conventional pavements.

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Cool Roofs-

Green or cool roofs can help keep buildings and the surrounding areas cool- especially in the Village of East Aurora which may experience the heat island effect. Conventional roofs can reach temperatures of 150°F or more on a sunny summer afternoon. Under the same conditions a cool roof could stay more than 50°F (28 °C) cooler.  

Stay weather aware and be prepared!
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National Weather Service-

The NWS (click here for our locality) uses a multi-tiered heat warning system to increase public awareness and promote a proper response to the impending hazardous weather event. Effective on or about June 1, 2018, the NWS lowered the heat advisory criteria for NYS.

Town of Aurora Alert System-

The Town of Aurora has implemented a free, local alert system called Code RedThis system will trigger the following protocols in the event of a heat emergency: Please sign up here.  It's free and it could save your life.

What can I do during a heat wave? -NYS Department of Health

  • Use air conditioning to cool down or go to an air-conditioned building.

  • If you don't have air conditioning in your home, open windows and shades on the shady side and close them on the sunny side to try to cool it down.

  • Drink plenty of fluids but avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.

  • Beat the heat with cool showers and baths.

  • Take regular breaks from physical activity.

  • Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.).

  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing to help keep cool.

  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible.

  • Wear sunscreen and a ventilated hat (e.g., straw or mesh) when in the sun, even if it is cloudy.

  • Never leave children, pets or those with special needs in a parked car, even briefly. Temperatures in the car can become dangerous within a few minutes.

  • Check on your neighbors, family and friends, especially those who are elderly or have special needs.

Who is most at risk from the heat?
  • Older adults

  • Young children

  • People who are overweight/obese

  • People who do not perspire normally

  • People with some chronic medical conditions such as history of dehydration, heart problems and respiratory or lung problems

  • People who work outdoors or in hot settings

  • People who take certain medications that cause sensitivity to the sun or interfere with the body's ability to sweat and stay cool. Some medicines that affect the body's cooling system include antihistamines, antidepressants, over-the-counter sleeping pills, anti-diarrhea pills, beta blockers, anti-Parkinson's drugs and psychiatric drugs.

        ***Do not stop taking medication unless          instructed to do so by your doctor.

​Conserve water and power-
  • Set your thermostat no lower than 78° F.

  • Only use air conditioning in rooms that you are occupying.

  • Turn off lights and non-essential appliances when they are not in use.

  • Only run dishwashers and washing machines when they are full and during hours of low energy demand (between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.).

  • Only water your lawn in the early morning or evening hours.

  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator (so that you do not have to let the tap run while waiting for it to cool).

  • Defrost food in the refrigerator overnight (instead of running water to thaw it).

  • Take short showers.

  • Only fill the tub halfway when bathing.

  • Turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth.

How to Identify Heat Related Illness- NYS Dept. of Health
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Town of Aurora Ambulance Hub

A new hub for ambulance services will be located in the Town of Aurora on Olean Road. Town of Aurora Council Member Luke Wochensky has been working with the county on Phase 1 of this project. The new hub will serve to supplement services in the area and help save lives by improving response times.   Click here for more details from the East Aurora Advertiser.

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     Photo by Max Borsuk

For Coaches & Sporting/Athletic Events-  

NYS Public High School Athletic Association

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Protecting Outdoor Workers-

Click on the construction worker below to learn about best practices.

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Extreme Temperatures: Challenges
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