ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) --  Part one of a three-phase process, it is hoped that phase one will remove hundreds of tons of carbon from the environment.

"Ultimately, we’re really hopeful that we’ll be able to reach our goals in the next few years but, you know what we need is community support for these efforts. We are starting to see more state and federal support so, I’m just really excited to get started," said Terry Carroll, Chief Sustainability Officer for Tompkins County.

A portion of Carroll's job includes looking at all of the county's eleven buildings and seeing what can be done to make it more cost effective. He looks into what would help enhance the comfort of the buildings, how changing the infrastructure can cater to employees and to target reducing greenhouse gasses.

Global Director for Municipal Infrastructures and Smart Communities for Johnson Control, Lisa Brown, talked about the importance of this plan, not just for the environment, but for the community and retaining families in Tompkins County.

"Attracting and retaining citizens and their constituents and business owners, it really starts with families. And people grow up in areas, but if they don’t see the workforce opportunities, they don’t see the investment from their municipalities or their counties in terms of the technology, in terms of digital transformation, in terms of making everything, accessible for all- because you have to have that social equity lens as well. If people don’t see that, they leave," said Brown.

An account executive for Johnson Controls, Chris Fitzsimmons, ensures those involved in the project work together to meet deadlines, set milestones, and find a way to tailor projects.

"Phase two we’re looking to have done by the end of 2024, and phase three in 2026. So, from now to that period, net-zero for the entire county, including other options for different facilities, we’re doing geothermal here at this facility in phase one, but also doing that at the Public Health Building. Next phase doing more solar, renewable energy, a lot more boiler replacements, just bigger picture stuff to make a better impact over the future," said Fitzsimmons.

"I think with all of the investment, and all of the commitment from the county, Tompkins County is gonna be the place to be in New York," said Brown.