Alyssa Norwood, JD, MPH, Energy Technical Specialist, Institute for Sustainable Energy, Eastern Connecticut State University
What does sustainability look like to you? Maybe it’s changing to energy-efficient light bulbs, or recycling all of your plastic bottles. But sustainability is broader, according to local and regional representatives from each of Connecticut’s 169 towns and cities who have participated in the development of “Sustainable CT.”
Launching this November, Sustainable CT will publicly recognize the pioneering work of municipalities across Connecticut to make their communities more vibrant and livable. More than 200 municipal leaders and residents from across the state and people from key agencies, nonprofits, businesses and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities have collaborated to create the program vision and framework. The Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University is spearheading program development and coordination.
Created by towns and for towns, Sustainable CT will be a voluntary certification program that includes a roadmap of approximately 65 best practices and much needed financial resources to help communities become more efficient, healthy, safe and resilient. Towns may choose which best practices they will implement to achieve differing certification levels. The program is designed to support all Connecticut municipalities, regardless of size, geography or resources.
Among other areas, the Sustainable CT roadmap will help communities work toward creating more diverse, thoughtfully sited and constructed housing choices. The Housing Working Group, co-chaired by Andrea Pereira, Executive Director of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and Kiley Gosselin, Deputy Director of the Department of Development Services for the City of Hartford, articulated a vision of sustainability that recognized the importance of a mix of housing type and affordability in every Connecticut community.
The Housing Working Group further determined that Connecticut’s changing demographics and evolving economic landscape should inspire every community to understand its current housing stock and assess and plan for future housing needs. With that knowledge, communities can then create more energy-efficient, affordable housing that incorporates health-promoting and universal design elements, developed in locations that connect residents to vibrancy and economic opportunities.
Support for Sustainable CT is being provided by a funding collaborative composed of the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Hampshire Foundation and Common Sense Fund. For more information about Sustainable CT, please visit: www.sustainablect.org.
Josephine Brickner contributed to the writing of this blog entry. Josephine is a senior majoring in Sociology at Eastern Connecticut State University and is among 8 student interns supporting the work of the Institute for Sustainable Energy.
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