Essex Celebrates Bronze Award for Sustainability
Sustainable Connecticut has awarded the Town of Essex Bronze-level certification for its high standards in a broad range of sustainable actions in town. The Sustainable Connecticut initiative promotes sustainability practices that aim to ensure the health and wellbeing of current and future town residents, while respecting the finite capacity of the town’s natural environment.
Sustainable Connecticut provides a menu of voluntary actions to help towns become more sustainable, and provides resources and tools to help implement these actions. At the end of the year, towns that have completed a certain number of actions are recognized for their achievements.
“Essex is a wonderful place to live and we want to ensure that it remains that way,” said Susan Abbot, co-chair of the Sustainable Essex Committee that coordinates the town’s efforts toward sustaniability. “Our committee is dedicated to ensuring that the environmental integrity of Essex is maintained for future residents and that we keep our watershed clean and the town vibrant and attractive for its residents and visitors.”
“We are grateful for all the hard work this dedicated committee has done,” said First Selectman Norm Needleman.
Essex is one of the 32 towns in the state that met the criteria to qualify for certification for Sustainable Connecticut, which is managed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University. Currently, 58 other towns in the state are working toward certification.
Of the 32 towns that have obtained certification to date, only 23 achieved Bronze level certification which requires completion of a number of actions.
These actions are what the Sustainable Essex Committee has been working on since its inception in May 2018. The committee, co-chaired by Abbot and Stacie Abbot (no relation), has worked to provide to Sustainable Connecticut the necessary information and reports on the town’s management of the woodlands and forests, chronicling work done with the Nature Conservancy, collating all that Essex does to protect the environment and provided reports on how the town is working to reduce energy use across its municipal buildings.
The committee has also worked to promote solar energy, pressed for energy conservation, obtained grant money, and offered energy-efficient LED light bulbs to residents in exchange for their incandescent bulbs. In addition, the committee benchmarked the energy performance of municipal buildings using the EPA’s online Energy Star Portfolio Manager program, which will make it easy to measure annual performance over time.
Sustainable Connecticut determined that the Town of Essex demonstrated achievements in nine action areas, including Thriving Local Economies, Well-Stewarded Land and Natural Resources, Vibrant and Creative Cultural Ecosystems, Dynamic and Resilient Planning, Clean and Diverse Transportation Systems and Choices, Efficient Physical Infrastructure and Operations, Strategic and Inclusive Public Services, Healthy, Efficient and Diverse Housing, and Inclusive and Equitable Community Impacts.
“We are only a couple of steps away from earning Sustainable Connecticut’s Silver status, which we are hopeful will happen next year,” Needleman said. “There are several other towns throughout the state that are working to achieve the same sustainability status as Essex and we are so proud that our town has achieved this goal and is working towards even higher standards moving forward.”
The Sustainable Essex Committee has plans in 2020 to host a series of speakers at the Essex Library to address sustainable issues such as waste management and environmental health.
For more information about Sustainable Connecticut, visit sustainablect.org.