City Sustainability News
The Office of Sustainability leverages Cleveland’s wealth of assets by collaborating with the community to improve the economic, environmental, and social well-being of its citizens. To lead by example, the Office of Sustainability develops policies and programs to embrace a culture of sustainability. Working with City departments and key external partners, the Office implements projects in the following areas, resulting in cost savings and sustainability benefits.
Energy Efficiency and Green Building
The City of Cleveland is committed to green buildings because they provide safe, affordable and healthy environments for residents and workers. A key part of green building is energy efficiency, which lowers operating costs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
By instituting energy efficiency and conservation initiatives in City facilities, operations, and vehicle fleets, we are saving taxpayer money and taking the right steps towards carbon neutrality. Through education, policies, and programs, the City empowers employees, businesses, and residents to take action to be more energy efficient.
Local Foods and Local Economy
The City is leveraging its purchasing power to encourage companies to be more sustainable while boosting the local economy. As part of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 initiative, the City is celebrating 2012 as the Year of Local Foods, engaging businesses, residents, schools, and social service and community development organizations to support this growing movement.
In 2011, Travel and Leisure Magazine dubbed Cleveland one of the “World’s Most Visionary Cities” for its urban farming and in 2008, Sustain Lane ranked Cleveland 2nd nationally in Local Foods.
Advanced and Renewable Energy
In tandem with energy efficiency, advanced and renewable energy is vital to the revitalization of Cleveland’s economy. The City is becoming a leader in advanced energy generation by collaborating with public, private, and institutional leaders to develop wind, solar, municipal solid waste-to-energy and co-generation capabilities.
The City saves money and natural resources by decreasing the waste generated through its own operations and within the larger city limits. This includes both residential and commercial waste reduction and recycling programs. The City diverts thousands of tons of waste from the landfill each year, saving over $1 million annually through waste disposal cost avoidance and recycling revenues, while reducing carbon emissions and conserving natural resources.
Clean and Efficient Water
Stormwater (rain and snow) flushes material into storm drains, including trash, dirt, oil and other pollutants. Some stormwater goes to water treatment facilities and is treated and released into Lake Erie, clean and clear. However, when rains are heavy sewers can overflow, sending untreated water – including raw sewage and other pollutants – directly into the lake. An increase in the frequency of storms, as predicted for northeast Ohio in the future, means there will be more stormwater to manage.
Stormwater management practices are used to delay, capture, store, treat, or infiltrate stormwater runoff. Residents and businesses are encouraged to consider a variety of strategies to help sustain a dependable supply of clean, safe drinking water. Examples include the use of water efficient technologies (low flow toilets, waterless urinals, etc.), rain barrels, and green cleaning products.
The City of Cleveland is committed to becoming a more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly community, while reducing emissions from driven vehicles. These commitments, combined with world-class service provided by the Greater Cleveland RTA, are putting Cleveland on a path to a truly sustainable transportation network.