11/4/2019 - Darien Honored with Sustainable CT Certification
Darien was among the Connecticut municipalities recognized on October 30th at the New Britain Museum of American Art for having achieved certification as a Sustainable CT community. The town met high standards across a broad range of sustainability initiatives to qualify for the prestigious Bronze certification.
Sustainable CT, a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more efficient, resilient, and inclusive to benefit both current and future residents, announced its 2019 certified communities last week.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson expressed gratitude that Darien, which has a long history of conservation and environmentalism, was awarded certification. “The Town of Darien’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability has worked tirelessly to detail the substantial efforts undertaken by the town, boards and commissions, and community partners to prioritize sustainability in our operations and projects,” she said, adding that “Sustainable CT’s holistic approach to sustainability is exactly what residents and business owners expect. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Sustainable CT.”
Through a rigorous application process, Darien demonstrated significant achievement in nine sustainable impact areas ranging from thriving local economies, vibrant arts and culture, to inclusive public services and well-stewarded land and natural resources. Highlights include the town-wide conversion of street lights to energy-efficient LEDs, a citizen-led Unified Water Study which measures and tracks the ecological health of Darien’s bays and harbors, approval of the “C-PACE” program which facilitates loan financing to commercial properties for clean energy improvements, and increased recycling opportunities such as the food scrap program which diverted more than 30 tons from the waste stream in its first year. Bronze certification required the achievement of 200 points across the nine impact areas; Darien earned 210 points.
“By participating in this program, Darien is making a statement,” said Craig Flaherty, Chairman of the Darien Advisory Committee on Sustainability. “We recognize the importance of a shift in our individual and collective thinking and making sustainable choices whenever practicable. I am very proud of the collaborative team of volunteers, town employees, and town leaders that put this successful application together. We see this as a starting point for continued action.”
This sentiment was echoed by Kathy Finnegan of the Darien Advisory Committee, who coordinated the application process. She views certification as a reason to celebrate but agrees that with continued support from the community there are many more opportunities to advance sustainable practices.
Certification lasts three years, with the state’s first cohort of municipalities certified in 2018. Collectively, 47 municipalities, representing more than 27% of the state’s communities, have earned Sustainable CT certification. Certified communities span every county and include some of Connecticut’s largest cities and smallest towns, including neighboring Greenwich, Stamford, Wilton, Westport and Fairfield.
Lynn Stoddard, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University, which administers the program, offered congratulations to the 2019 certified Sustainable CT communities. “We are inspired by your leadership and eager to share your accomplishments in building efficient, thriving, and resilient communities,” she said.
Sustainable CT is philanthropically funded, with strong support from its three founding funders: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Common Sense Fund, and the Smart Seed Fund.
Darien and other certified communities will also be recognized on December 3 at the Annual Convention of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.
For more information, and to view Darien’s application, visit www.sustainablect.org.