Cleveland has been making waves in several industries over the past several decades with accolades in medicine and tech. Another industry Cleveland is making an impact in? Sustainability. And a lot of those efforts are happening in the real estate and development sector. In fact, in 2021 Cleveland became a Leed Silver Certified city which indicates leadership in energy and environmental design. One of the main players in Cleveland's sustainability mission is the local organization, Sustainable Cleveland. They have put together 9 areas of sustainability with each of the individual topics featuring checklists of ways residents can make a difference at home. Click here to access the individual checklists for each of the 9 sustainability topics determined above. Below is a breakdown of each topic with a short description. In following weeks, we will take a closer look at each topic and provide additional helpful resources.
- Energy Efficiency. Energy efficiency is using less energy to provide the same level of energy service. Our homes represent a huge opportunity for us to take small steps to reduce our impacts on the environment.
- Local Foods. Local food is the production, process, distribution and consumption of food with-in a specific region, usually 100 miles from farm to fork. A focus on local food is essential for a sustainable economy in Cleveland because of its environmental benefits and because it is an economic driver. You can make a big impact by eating local foods at home.
- Renewable Energy. Advanced and Renewable Energy Works in Northeast Ohio. Energy use and production is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions in the U.S., as well as one of the most costly expenses for households.
- Zero Waste. By reducing the amount of waste the city produces and sends to landfills, Clevelanders can improve human health through the elimination of hazardous waste, protect and increase property values and quality of place, as well as save business, government, organizations and the community money.
- Clean Water. Fresh water resources represent an invaluable local asset that has shaped Cleveland's identity, both in the way that the city has perceived itself and how it has been recognized outside the region. You can help keep our waterways fishable, swimmable and drinkable!
- Sustainable Transportation. There are many actions Clevelanders can take at home, at work and in the community to help grow sustainable transportation. Actions include biking, walk-ing, taking transit, carpooling, car sharing and much more!
- Vibrant Green Space. The diverse environmental, economic and social benefits of Cleveland's green space underpin the sustainable development of the city. The expansion of parks and natural areas, community gardens, urban farms, green roofs, landscaped boulevards, bike paths, trails, schoolyards, recreational areas, and other public open green space in Cleveland can help to establish a broad swath of green space. Cleveland has the only national park in an urban setting in the United States and it is the sixth most visited national park in the country.
- Vital Neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are the building blocks of a great urban area. They are the real places of daily life — places where people interact face to face, where transactions are made, and where a sense of identity and history is created. By fostering the development of a vibrant public realm for all to share neighborhoods can make affordable, low-consumption lifestyles more convenient and attractive.
- Engaged People. Sustainable Cleveland's motto, "Together, we're building a thriving green city on a blue lake," emphasizes empowerment, cooperation, action, quality of life, and abundance. People, not programs, are the answer to true and lasting climate action in Cleveland. This means that a whole system, citizen-centered approach will be needed to align climate action with the assets, capacity and priorities of Cleveland residents and business owners.