Office of Sustainability

1. Welcome!

Welcome to the Mayor's Office of Sustainability! Our Office provides information on sustainable and environmental services, resources and events. Examples of current and past initiatives include the Retain the Rain program, the Energy Equity Challenge, and Bright Green Hartford event compilations. Read on to find more information. 

Have Questions? Email us at sustainability@hartford.gov

Events: Hartford Has It!

This section will live update with green events. 

News: Extra! Extra! Hear all about it!

This section will live update with green news. 

Curious about what we're up to? Follow us on Twitter @HartfordClimate

 

2. Bright Green Hartford Programs (Celebrate Earth Day Every Day)

Grace Academy Students at the Connecticut Youth Climate Strike

Mayor Bronin’s Office of Sustainability is partnering with organizations across the state and country to help you save money and get free resources and tools. Through Bright Green Hartford, we’re sharing how you can sign up for energy upgrades and commuter rewards! Join for a special community outreach effort featuring cost savings and environmental benefits. No matter what you’re looking, Hartford Has It!

 

 

Find out if solar upgrades are for you!

The Connecticut Green Bank, Posigen, and the City of Hartford are collaborating to help you explore the possibility of a solar installation with the Solar for All program. Bundled in this effort, you can evaluate your home’s energy use, reduce energy consumption, and save money.

Applications for the Solar For All program are being taken now, so homeowners are encouraged to contact PosiGen today at 203-416-6518 or 1-866-PosiGen. You can also visit www.posigen.com  

Get Rewards for Green Commuting!

Driving less does more than you know! Learn more about making Hartford (and Connecticut) cleaner, greener, and healthier by reducing the number of cars on the road.

Try a greener way to commute and earn rewards. Log green trips on www.ctrides.com or the app and earn and redeem points for restaurant coupons, retailer discounts, and tickets to shows & attractions.

Interested in Learning More? Looking for Green Events?

These are just a few opportunities that are available to Hartford residents. There are lots of great activities happening in our parks, recreation centers, and across the community, and to explore, check out View from the ParksMyRec, Hartford.com, or our Twitter feed as well. 

Looking for services? The One Hartford Resident Guide compiles standard services, events, and organizations available to Hartford residents. 

Have questions? Let us know by emailing us at sustainability@hartford.gov

 

 

The purpose of the City of Hartford’s Bright Green Hartford Initiative is to help residents save money, help the environment, and improve quality of life. The City of Hartford does not guarantee any savings or assume any risk associated with the products and/or services of the organizations supporting and/or participating in this initiative, and all related questions should be directed to these organizations.

3. Retain the Rain Program (ON HOLD)

Youth Service Corps Members help give out rain barrels To help encourage residents to install rain barrels, the Office of Sustainability’s Green Infrastructure Team partnered with the Metropolitan District (MDC) in 2018 to bring FREE rain barrels to Hartford residents. In 2019, we were able to bring back the program with the support of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund. To date, with these supporters and with the help of Keney Park Sustainability Project, the Youth Services Corps (YSC), Our Piece of the Pie (OPP), and the Department of Public Works, over 300 rain barrels and about 100 trees have been distributed among residents in Hartford and surrounding towns. For photos from our events, check out our twitter page @hartfordclimate. Many thanks to all of our partners that helped make this happen!

 

 

Helpful Resources About Your Green Materials

Why Is This Program Important?

 What’s the Problem, and Why Does It Matter?

Approximately 40% of Hartford’s land area is comprised of impervious surfaces, and much of the remaining area is covered with clay-heavy soils with low infiltration rates. Impervious surfaces prevent rain from being absorbed into the soil underneath, resulting in excess stormwater runoff and causing added burden and stress on the city’s aging infrastructure. Hartford has a 150 year-old combined sewer system, which means that rainwater combined with wastewater can exceed the system’s capacity during storm events, resulting in discharges of untreated wastewater through combined sewer overflows (CSO).

More than 1/2 billion gallons of untreated wastewater overflow to local streams and waterways annually. These discharges impact the Connecticut River’s water quality over a 30 mile distance up to 50 times per year – every time it rains more than 0.25 inches. Other areas that have impaired water quality as a result of these CSOs include: Wethersfield Cove, North Branch Park River, Trout Brook, Goff Brook, among others. In addition, local basements and streets may experience backups and flooding of raw sewage as well.


What’s the Solution?

Green infrastructure (GI) is an alternative approach to stormwater management that protects, restores, or mimics the natural water cycle, using water as a resource. Widespread adoption of GI techniques can help reduce the cost of eliminating sewer backups and localized flooding, while providing many co-benefits such as cleaner air, cooler city streets, increased public green space, and enhanced wildlife habitat, all of which improve the quality of urban life. One cost-effective approach to green infrastructure is installing a rain barrel.

Installing rain barrels located in the combined sewer areas of Hartford is a low-cost approach recommended in the EPA Next Steps Memo. Homeowners can separate their roof downspouts from the combined sewer system and redirect roof runoff into a rain barrel, which can be used to water lawns and rain gardens. This approach, which has been successfully implemented by other cities around the country, reduces inputs to the combined sewer system while also absorbing excess runoff.

Program Sponsors

The 2019-2020 Retain the Rain program is supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Hartford Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is funded in part by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund. The views contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government or the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and its funding sources. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government, or the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation or its funding sources.

The 2018 program was sponsored by the Metropolitan District (MDC) and by a grant from the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA). Many thanks for their support!

About the MDC: The mission of the MDC is to provide our customers with safe, pure drinking water, environmentally protective wastewater collection and treatment and other services that benefit the member towns. More information about the MDC can be found at themdc.org.

About CIRCA: The mission of the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) is to increase the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities along Connecticut’s coast and inland waterways to the growing impacts of climate change on the natural, built, and human environment. More information about CIRCA can be found at circa.uconn.edu.

Please note the Retain the Rain program and this webpage is subject to change.

 

4. Energy Equity Challenge

In November 2019, Mayor Luke Bronin issued an Energy Equity Challenge for all Hartford residents and local property owners. The goal is to reduce energy use, support neighborhoods, and ensure that all residents, including renters, take advantage of free resources to improve properties. Please find more information in our brochures:

Renters, Homeowners, and Landlords(PDF, 341KB)

This is an image of the Energy Equity Challenge brochure for smaller residential properties(PDF, 341KB)

Multifamily and Commercial Property Owners / Managers (PDF, 341KB)

This is an image of the Energy Equity Challenge brochure for commercial properties. (PDF, 341KB)

What Kind of Recognition is There?

If you have a great story of energy upgrades or can show measurable reductions through ENERGY STAR tools like Portfolio Manager or the Home Energy Yardstick, send us an email with your success! We'll share stories and lessons learned in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Commercial properties that meet or exceed efficiency standards are also eligible for national recognition and can earn the ENERGY STAR!

Did You Know …?

  • The Energy Equity Challenge encourages local property owners, homeowners, and renters to measure and reduce their energy use with resources from a series of partners. You can save $$, and get national recognition!
  • Hartford renters, homeowners, property managers, and landlords who pay utility bills are eligible for discounted or free energy audits and weatherization for their homes.
  • If you pay utility bills but don’t apply for support through Energize Connecticut, you miss the opportunity to reduce your energy use and lower your energy bills!
  • You can also receive low-cost loans for energy efficiency upgrades and solar, as well as access to an affordable, no-money-down solar lease with the Connecticut Green Bank’s Solar for All partner, PosiGen Solar.
  • The City is taking part in the Challenge, and leading by example. With a upgrade of streetlights to LEDs recently completed, city staff, led by DPW, along with the Office of Sustainability and contractors are working on comprehensive lighting upgrade of a series of buildings.

Our Partners:

This image contains the logos of the Hartford Climate Stewardship Initiative, the City of Hartford, Community Renewal Team, Connecticut Green Bank, and Energy StarOperation Fuel LogoImage of the logos of Energize CT, which is supported by Eversource, UI, SCG, and CNG

The purpose of the City of Hartford’s Energy Equity Challenge is to try to help residents save money, reduce energy, and improve their quality of life at home. The City of Hartford does not guarantee any savings or assume any risk associated with the products and/or services of the organizations supporting and/or participating in this Challenge, and all related questions should be directed to these organizations.

5. Climate Action Plan

The City of Hartford Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Commission and City Council have formally approved Hartford’s first Climate Action Plan (CAP)!  Watch our CAP introduction video to learn about the effort. 

 

A working group of the P&Z Commission, the 34-member Climate Stewardship Council started meeting in early 2016 to draft a Climate Action Plan that embodies the shared values and goals of our residents and businesses as we work together to tackle climate change. You can learn about the council by watching a video about their efforts: 

The Climate Action Plan identifies goals and strategies within 6 interconnected action areas: Energy, Food, Landscape, Transportation, Waste, and Water. Our hope is to make incremental but consistent progress in each of these areas, using the resources that are available to us and making decisions that are consistent with our 3 shared values: Public Health, Economic Development, and Social Equity. So what can we do together?

What Can You Do?

Looking for our HartfordClimate action pages? We've compiled the contents of our "What Can You Do?" pages below:

Energy

RESIDENTS CAN:

BUSINESS OWNERS CAN:

Transportation

RESIDENTS CAN:

  • Opt to walk, ride a bicycle or utilize public transportation, rather than using a car for short trips
  • Use regional bus rapid transit and enroll in the CT Transit Rewards Program
  • Minimize your household’s carbon footprint by reducing the number of cars owned by your family, using car sharing services, or investing in low carbon electric or hybrid vehicles – often eligible for federal and state financial incentives
  • Utilize these tips and (and these for cold weather) while driving to maximize your fuel economy and save money at the pump
  • Learn how to stay safe as a pedestrian, cyclist, or driver. Watch For Me CT, a joint effort between the CT Department of Transportation and CT Children's Injury Prevention Center, provides educational resources and services such as presentations, tabling, walk audits, events, and more. 

BUSINESS OWNERS CAN:

  • Consult the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's guide for greening your business
  • Provide locker rooms/changing facilities on site to encourage bike commuting among employees or residents
  • Update your fleet of vehicles with low carbon electric or hybrid models and provide electric vehicle charging stations on-site
  • Encourage employees to take advantage of Park & Ride services
  • Offer commuter benefits to your employees. CT Department of Transportation's CTRides has free Employer Services that can help you make it happen. 
  • Note the minimized car parking requirements and increased bicycle parking requirements in Hartford’s updated zoning code

Water

RESIDENTS CAN:

  • Fish, kayak, or walk along our city’s riverfront trails
  • Consult this guide on Low Impact Development, which can inform you about Rain Gardens, Rain Barrels, Pervious Pavement, Green Roofs, and Vegetated Riparian Areas
  • Volunteer with Riverfront Recapture
  • Use these tips to conserve water in the home and yard and save money on your utility bill
  • Employ the principles of sustainable landscaping in your yard

BUSINESS OWNERS CAN:

  • Consult this this guide on sustainable landscaping
  • Save water, energy, and operating costs with these resources
  • Use DEEP’s guide for greening your business
  • Support local organizations like Riverfront Recapture, who manages our riverfront parks and hosts programs such as Fourth of July fireworks that bring many to enjoy the Connecticut River

Landscape

RESIDENTS CAN:

BUSINESS OWNERS CAN:

Waste

RESIDENTS CAN:

BUSINESS OWNERS CAN:

  • Use this guide for greening your business to see pollution prevention, waste, and recycling strategies
  • Utilize these resources to better manage and reduce waste in your building
  • Engage in workplace composting with this guide

Food

RESIDENTS CAN:

BUSINESS OWNERS CAN:

  • Reduce food waste, especially if you work with large quantities of food (restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, etcetera)
  • Donate food to organizations like Foodshare and the Connecticut Food Bank, and receive tax incentives
  • Source ingredients (restaurants) or products (grocery stores/supermarkets) from local community supported agricultural sites
  • Phase out single-use plastic and paper bags
  • Utilize a composting service, or learn to compost as an office on your own
 

6. Energy Improvement District

Picture of a tour at the solar panel installation on the former Hartford Landfill

In 2017, the City of Hartford established an energy improvement district (EID), which might be used to enter into contracts, to buy or lease energy facilities, to increase energy efficiency, and to make it easier and cheaper to do business in Hartford. Here is a CGA report outlining some EID issues. Stamford and Bridgeport have both taken advantage of the EID program. The Board also adopted a Supplier Diversity Policy(PDF, 135KB).

Want to learn more? 

Powers and duties of the EID are set forth in article XIV of the municipal code. The Mayor and City Council have appointed a board, which first met in fall 2017. After receiving input from various stakeholders including local and regional businesses and residents, the EID Board also issued the EID Comprehensive Plan(PDF, 2MB), which was updated in 2019, in accordance with Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-80a(c).

 


Would you like to participate in the EID?

Property owners may record on the Hartford Land Records a decision to participate in the energy improvement district pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. sections 32-80a, 32-80b, and 32-80c.  For some tips about the format of this notice, feel free to contact us by email at sustainability@hartford.gov

Looking for the 2019 Request for Proposals?

NOTE: The 2019 RFP is closed, and a proposal has been selected.

Request for Proposals (RFP)

In 2018, the EID Board issued a Request for Expression of Interest (RFI) to help identify potential energy projects. After receiving a number of proposals, the board decided to proceed with a full Request for Proposals (RFP). Developers interested in a solar project on the former Hartford landfill were encouraged to apply.

Relevant Documents 

Looking for the 2018 Request for Information?

NOTE: The submission period for the 2018 EID RFI has closed. 

Request for Expression of Interest (RFI)

In 2018, the EID Board issued a Request for Expression of Interest (RFI). This RFI encourages proposals related to projects and goals identified in the Comprehensive Plan. Have questions about the RFI? We've included various resources for your reference. 

Relevant Documents 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Updated 9/12/18

  1. Will the EID provide addresses and allow applicants to visit the sites listed on the map?
    The map with site locations has been provided online. Most of the sites can be visited without any issue. However, for the landfill solar array, the City will arrange a site visit for August 28th, 2018 at 2 pm, 180 Leibert Rd.
  2. Are submissions for multiple technologies across all sites preferred, or is it possible to have a solar project on just a few specific sites?
    There are no preferences or limitations on number of sites or technologies used.
  3. Who are the City’s current consultants for energy projects and efficiency work in school buildings?
    The City is currently working with Colliers and Bridge Energy. Bridge negotiated an electricity supply contract that expires in December 2020.
  4. Is the City open to buying the energy the project produces?
    Yes, the City is open to doing so, and as an example, has recently entered into a contract regarding virtual net metering.
  5. Will the results of the RFI be released before an official RFP is issued?
    The responses will be made public. For those with questions concerning proprietary information, please refer to the confidentiality procedures referenced in the supplementary Q&A presentation as well as the RFI itself.
  6. Will the results of the RFI be used as a shortlist for an official RFP?
    This has not been determined yet, but the results could potentially be used for a shortlist.
  7. If a submission only focused on some of the sites, and an RFP came out for a different site, would the applicant be precluded from the RFP?
    No. The RFP would still be open to the RFI applicant.
  8. Does the EID Board have any influence over the private sites identified in the RFI?
    While the EID’s site priorities map is where the board has already identified a need or viable location for projects, the EID Board does not have any influence over the development of private properties. Partnerships with private owners are encouraged. Finally, applicants would not be limited to the sites identified in the RFI.
  9. What would local taxes look like for the project?
    For any general questions about EID Boards and taxes, refer to Section 32-80c (a), (f) and (i) of the Connecticut General Statutes (copy attached). For more specific questions, please submit them in writing to EID procurement officer Shubhada Kambli at Shubhada.kambli@hartford.gov. Please note that answers to these questions will be made public.
  10. Is the City expecting lease revenue for projects on public property, particularly if there is energy generated on the property?
    It is within the EID’s power to lease, but this would have to be determined by the EID.
  11. For all of Hartford’s municipal buildings, what is the total annual energy spend?
    This answer was updated 9/12/18. The City’s FY17 spend is as follows:

    FY17
    WATER $ 416,267
    ELECTRICITY $6,665,199
    PIPED GAS $1,557,122
    Total $8,638,588

    2017 Annual Electric Volume = 57,159,655 kwh

  12. Will the EID meeting on the August 19th be public?
    Yes.
  13. Is there a deadline for asking any additional questions?
    There is no deadline for asking questions, other than providing them before the deadline for the RFI. Please submit them in writing to EID procurement officer Shubhada Kambli at Shubhada.kambli@hartford.gov. Please note that answers to these questions will be made public.
  14. How will property taxes be addressed for future projects?
    For information related to taxes, please refer to Section 32-80c (a), (f) and (i) of the Connecticut General Statutes. If respondents have more detailed or specific questions, they can email Shubhada.Kambli@hartford.gov.
  15. Is it possible to share a map or Google.kmz files of potential project sites?
    There is a map of potential sites in the Comprehensive Plan(PDF, 2MB).
  16. Is it possible to meet individually with the EID Board or Office of Sustainability in advance of the RFI deadline?
    Unfortunately, this is not possible.
  17. What is the intent of the RFI? What is the advantage of going through the EID Board?
    Local ordinance requires the EID Board to promote a more reliable grid, make energy costs more predictable, deploy renewable technology, and increase the energy supply. As a result, the EID Board seeks to ensure that energy projects get underway in the near term. These projects are identified in the Comprehensive Plan, which is available online, at hartfordclimate.org.
  18. Are there incentives available through the EID?
    There are no local incentives offered through the EID Board at this time. State and federal energy incentives may be found at dsireusa.org.
  19. Is “previous experience working with a Connecticut EID” a minimum requirement, or would you consider working with a partner who has done projects with other municipalities but not necessarily CT EIDs?
    This is not a minimum requirement, but it is a preference.
  20. Are there any site visits scheduled?
    Yes. The City will arrange a site visit for August 28th at 2 pm, 180 Leibert Rd.
  21. Is City Hall excluded from consideration?
    City Hall is not excluded from consideration.
  22. The EID Comprehensive Plan notes that the Hartford Landfill had a recent RFP for expansion of the solar array. However, the city purchasing portal shows no award from a Spring 2017 RFP. Was there a more recent RFP? Can you please advise the current status of this opportunity?
    The answer will be posted if additional information is found.
  23. Which companies have already inquired about the RFI?
    Please see our Q&A Notes for a list of companies who had representative attend the pre-proposal meeting.
  24. Would it be possible to get information about the roofs for all of the Hartford schools, especially the age of the roofs and any information you may have about their structural integrity?
    For information on school roofs, please see the School Roofs document(PDF, 33KB).
  25. Will there be any “points off” or disadvantages for a developer that chooses to pass on submitting a response to the RFI and only responds to the RFP when it is released?
    There will be no points off or disadvantages if a respondent responds to an RFP without first responding to the RFI.
  26. Would it be possible to get the contact information of those that are interested in the RFI?
    Please see the Interested Participants List(PDF, 192KB).

For questions specific to the landfill solar array, please see the Landfill Solar Array Site Visit Notes(PDF, 210KB).

 

 

7. Plastic Bag Ban

Photo of reusable and plastic bag with notes to use reusable bags instead of plastic bags

The City of Hartford has adopted an ordinance completely banning single-use PLASTIC BAGS effective December 15, 2019. The ban will be enforced in two phases: 

PHASE 1 – LARGE RETAILERS/BIG BOX STORES

  • Effective December 15, 2019, LARGE RETAILERS with more than 8,000 sq. ft., like supermarkets, are no longer allowed to provide plastic bags to customers.

PHASE 2 – ALL RETAILERS

  • Effective June 18, 2020, ALL RETAILERS, including small businesses and neighborhood stores, are no longer allowed to provide plastic bags to customers.

 

PENALTIES

  • Non compliance can result in a fine of $250 per day until the plastic bags are removed by retailer.
  • Failure to pay the fines assessed may lead to a judgment in Superior Court for all fines, costs, and fees.

LOOKING FOR MORE DETAILS?

  • Read the City's ordinance for the full details on the plastic bag ban.
  • Share the City’s flyer with your neighbors and local businesses.

8. Green Action Partners

Looking to get involved in green action in the city? Consider attending a Hartford board or commission meeting. These volunteer-led commissions are an incredible part of sustainability and climate stewardship action here in Hartford. For more information on when they meet or to subscribe to updates, visit MeetingInfo.org. As an overview, here are some of the groups that we work with: 

  • Tree Advisory Commission: 
  • Advisory Commission on Food Policy
  • Complete Streets Working Group
  • Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission
  • Energy Improvement District