The Town of West Hartford is one of a dozen communities in the state to be awarded silver-level certification – the highest available at this time.
By Ronni Newton
The Town of West Hartford met its goal this fall, achieving silver-level certification – the highest currently available – from Sustainable CT.
A statewide initiative “that inspires and supports communities in becoming more resilient, inclusive, and efficient,” Sustainable CT announced its certified communities at the beginning of November.
Silver-level certification is an honor awarded through the voluntary Sustainable CT program to municipalities that complete sustainable actions that total 400 or more points in categories that range from community building to support for arts and culture, clean transportation, diverse housing, and long-term resilience with a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion when implementing sustainability actions. The program is managed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University. It includes a roadmap and support tools to assist towns in addressing issues that include climate change, racial justice, and recovery from the impact of COVID-19.
“This recognition is fantastic,” said Catherine Diviney, the town’s energy specialist who spearheaded the application for silver certification. “But, I also like to look forward at what we can do next. West Hartford earned 725 points towards certification; but, there are 2,365 (and growing) possible points in the program. That’s only 30 percent! In the coming years, I hope that West Harford implements many more sustainable actions, worth many more points. I hope that we learn from and collaborate with other municipalities in the program, and that we encourage the remaining 44 Connecticut municipalities that are not currently registered with Sustainable CT to join!” Currently, 125 communities, representing 86% of the state’s population, have chosen to participate.
West Hartford has been bronze certified for several years. Eleven other communities achieved silver-level certification in 2021 along with West Hartford (Fairfield, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Hartford, Litchfield, Milford, New Milford, Old Lyme, Portland, Trumbull, and Westport), while 11 towns are currently bronze-certified.
The Town Council established a Sustainability Advisory Group in the spring, in part to assist with the application for silver-level certification. Certification lasts for three years and are rigorously evaluated.
“We are thrilled to have been notified that we have earned the silver designation by Sustainable CT,” Mayor Shari Cantor said.
“It has been a tremendous team effort but a special thank you to Catherine Diviney for her leadership throughout the process. I am appreciative of the work of the community and town leadership for their commitment to reach this goal. We strive to be a thriving, vibrant, healthy and inclusive community. We will continue the efforts to be responsible environmental stewards and strengthen our resiliency,” said Cantor.
“I would like to commend our team of team of volunteers, elected officials, and staff for this well-deserved recognition,” Town Manager Matt Hart said. “I would also like to acknowledge Sustainable CT, ECSU, and CCM for their support of the municipal certification program. The program provides a valuable resource and network for our state’s municipalities during all phases of our collective journey to become more sustainable communities. Here in West Hartford we will continue to use the Sustainable CT framework in our work to address climate change, promote social equity, promote economic vitality and the arts, and become more resilient. Congratulations to all that have been involved in this effort,” he said.
“Sustainable CT Certified communities are models for all forward-looking local governments,” Joe DeLong, executive director and CEO of Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) said in a news release announcing the certifications. “These municipalities have shown great leadership in completing many actions that increase sustainability while also saving money, promoting health, and deepening residents’ connection to community.” CCM will hold an awards ceremony to recognize Sustainable CT certified towns at their annual convention on Nov. 30.
“Thank you to Sustainable CT for making our State a better place to live,” Cantor added.
Sustainable CT is independently funded, with strong support from its three founding funders: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Common Sense Fund, and the Smart Seed Fund. Additional support is provided by the Connecticut Green Bank and many community foundations.
For more information, visit sustainablect.org.
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