Sustainable Communities: A Municipal Toolkit

Sustainable Communities: A Municipal Toolkit

CCM is proud to present Sustainable Communities: A Municipal Toolkit, produced in cooperation with the Institute for Sustainable Energy. The case studies in this report highlight some innovative practices by Connecticut towns and cities, demonstrating our state’s strong leadership in sustainability at the local level. The purpose of this toolkit is to share successful initiatives with other municipalities, to encourage innovation throughout Connecticut.

CCM’S TASK FORCE ON SUSTAINABILITY

The Task Force serves to provide a blueprint for sustainable projects in Connecticut communities. A goal of the Task Force is to provide communities with the ability to exchange information and materials necessary to develop environmentally sustainable projects that simultaneously reduce cost and the property tax burden of Connecticut residents. The Task Force will act as a leader on sustainable policy issues and invest efforts to enhance a green economy, leading to the creation of green jobs. The Task Force partners with universities, nonprofits, and others to gain expertise on reducing negative impacts on ecosystem vitality.

Download the full toolkit here, topics covered are outlined below.

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SUSTAINABILITY PLANNING back to top

SUSTAINABILITY PLANNING

Sustainability most commonly means “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” (Brundtland Report, World Commission on Environment and Development, commissioned by the UN, 1987).

Sustainability, in practice, reflects the intersection of three areas of concern for towns and cities:  economy, environment, and equity (inclusion of social concerns) - often referred to as the “triple bottom line” or “the three E’s.”  While acknowledging the basic definition as well as the triple bottom line, towns and cities must also determine what sustainability means to the citizens of their community.

 

 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY back to top

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Saving energy through energy efficiency improvements can cost less than generating, transmitting, and distributing energy from power plants, and provide multiple economic and environmental benefits.  Towns and cities can promote energy efficiency in their jurisdictions by developing and implementing strategies that improve the efficiency of municipal facilities and operations and/or encourage energy efficiency improvements in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.

LOCAL FOODS back to top

LOCAL FOODS

While issues pertaining to community food systems have not always been seen as a matter for municipal intervention, towns and cities are increasingly recognizing the far-reaching impacts and opportunities contained within these various stages. For example, community food systems directly connect to public health goals such as (a) reducing hunger or obesity; (b) the protection and conservation of natural resources including energy, water and soil; and (c) supporting or facilitating local economic growth.

LAND USE AND TRANSPORTATION back to top

LAND USE AND TRANSPORTATION

Land use policy necessarily touches on every aspect of municipal concern. Sustainable land use planning involves decisions on crosscutting and multi-layered issues that affect air quality, water quality, access to transportation options, economic vitality, and quality of life.  It is critical to promote the creation and development of communities containing an array of types and uses of buildings and spaces to meet the diverse needs of residents’ daily lives.

 

MATERIALS MANAGEMENT back to top

MATERIALS MANAGEMENT

Materials management requires active examination of routine purchasing, use and disposal decisions in ways that reflect their interrelatedness and their impact on the environment. A materials management program includes elements related to procurement, operations and maintenance, reuse and recycling, and disposal. Through examining all the ways in which materials pass through their communities - procurement, operations and maintenance, reuse and recycling, and disposal - towns and cities often discover dramatic opportunities to reduce their environmental impact.

 

RESILIENCE AND CLIMATE ADAPTATION back to top

RESILIENCE AND CLIMATE ADAPTATION

Towns and cities are increasingly examining the impacts of climate change upon their existing transportation, energy, and water infrastructure to ensure communities are prepared to meet the challenges of extreme and unanticipated weather and climate conditions. For many municipalities, climate change and extreme weather has translated into steep economic costs to public safety, public health, food security, and emergency management. Municipalities are increasingly finding ways to plan for and implement sustainable responses to climate change and extreme weather.

 

CLEAN ENERGY GENERATION back to top

CLEAN ENERGY GENERATION

Towns and cities are increasingly playing a larger role in energy supply as smaller scale energy resources, such as onsite renewable energy generation, become more readily available and affordable. In addition, towns and cities are themselves significant users of energy and as a major utility customer can negotiate with their utility providers to increase production through renewable sources.