Welcome to the Mayor's Office of Sustainability! Our Office provides information on sustainable and environmental services, resources and events.
Who are We?
In 2017, Mayor Luke Bronin established the City of Hartford Office of Sustainability to advance our economy, improve public health, and promote social equity through environmental stewardship initiatives. Sustainability Coordinator Cecelia Drayton leads the Office, and she is joined by a Green Infrastructure Team. They collaborate closely with other city agencies, including the Department of Public Works, the Department of Development Services, and Hartford Public Schools, as well as other community partners.
The Office worked with the City’s Climate Stewardship Council, the city’s former sustainability task force, to develop the Climate Action Plan (check out the full plan in section 2), and has since implemented action through the Climate Stewardship Initiative. The success of Hartford’s Climate Stewardship Initiative depends on individuals like you working together to make Hartford a global leader in environmental stewardship. Together, we aim to empower our community to become active environmental stewards while also aligning our efforts to advance the city’s economy, improve public health and quality of life, and promote social equity.
The Office, located in City Hall, was previously funded by the generous support of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Partners for Places, UConn’s Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Curious about what we're up to right now? Follow us on Twitter @HartfordClimate, or sign up for our Sustainability Newsletter.
Looking for past or current programs and partnerships like Retain the Rain and the Energy Equity Challenge? Check out our individual pages below:
Climate Action Plan
The City of Hartford Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Commission and City Council have formally approved Hartford’s first Climate Action Plan(PDF, 37MB) (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(PDF, 167KB) 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.
Every ten years, the City of Hartford updates its Plan of Conservation Development (POCD), a document that guides City planning for the next decade. In 2020, the Planning and Zoning Commission updated the plan, called Plan 2035, with the input of numerous stakeholders including residents, businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, and many more community stakeholders. To view the plan, please visit the Department of Development Services City Plan Page.
Comprehensive EID Plan
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. The EID board was charged with creating the EID Comprehensive Plan(PDF, 2MB)
, which was updated in 2019, in accordance with Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-80a(c). The plan was developed with input of residents, local and regional businesses, and more.
Tree Canopy Action Plan
The City of Hartford Office of Sustainability is glad to present the Urban Tree Canopy Action Plan(PDF, 104MB) . The Plan was prepared in partnership with nearly a dozen partner stakeholders. It knits together goals, strategies, and best practices related to the state of our urban forest, priority areas for maintenance and planting, and projected costs. The work is rooted in an ideal of environmental justice, and addresses the longstanding efforts of historic underinvestment in environmental protection.
Our key partners in this effort are the Department of Public Works, the City Forester, and the Tree Advisory Commission. The plan also reflects input from To Design, KNOX Inc., Keney Park Sustainability Project, Department of Development Services, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and Davey Resource Group.
Trees are critical to the health and safety of our community; our urban tree canopy offers more than $5 million in ecosystem benefits annually. These benefits are critical in the face of climate change, high asthma rates, localized flooding, and the heightened importance of safe outdoor spaces during the pandemic. We also hope to see complementary outcomes such as green job creation and increased support of neighborhood beautification initiatives.
The plan was made possible by generous funding through the national Partners for Places program, with additional support by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
Looking for our Hartford Climate Resource pages? We've compiled the contents below.
- (PPT, 5MB)EID Comprehensive Plan: This plan outlines the goals and identifies potential projects for the Energy Improvement District Board.
- City DPW Presentation on the Parkville Microgrid (2016)(PPT, 5MB): Presentation on the first public-private microgrid in the state, developed with support from the State Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.
- Office of Energy Efficient Business Report on Hartford Business Outreach (2015)(DOCX, 2MB): A Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology report describing outreach efforts to 2,400 small businesses in Hartford.
- City Energy Plan (2014)(PDF, 677KB): Interim energy plan, drafted by the then-Clean Energy Task Force (which has folded into the Climate Stewardship Council).
- Hartford Public Schools Energy Benchmarking Report (2014)(PDF, 374KB): A report on schools’ energy usage from the Institute on Sustainable Energy using Energy Star Portfolio analysis.
- GHG Inventory (2016):(PDF, 2MB) Environmental Defense Fund Fellow and former Presidio Graduate School student Divya Srinivasan developed a path for Hartford’s GHG inventory, based on EPA’s model.
- Energy Efficiency Standards Research (2019):(PDF, 404KB) This report was completed by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships to help the Energy Improvement District Board evaluate possible options related to energy efficiency standards.
- Executive Order 3:(PDF, 60KB) The City of Hartford’s Office of Sustainability provided input on CT’s Executive Order 3, which is related to the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, environmental justice, and energy equity.
- Capitol Region Green Clearinghouse: An initiative, sponsored by the Capitol Region Council of Governments, which profiles region-wide efforts on sustainability.
- CT Green Bank: An innovative state-chartered bank that offers a range of financing solutions for homeowners, business owners, multi-family property owners, municipalities, and others.
- Eversource: The electric utility company serving the Hartford region, which has partnered with Hartford in various ways, including participating in the energy improvement district and financing special projects like the recent lightbulb swap.
- Eastern Connecticut State University Institute for Sustainable Energy: An educational institute that participates in Hartford’s climate efforts and promotes energy efficiency and sustainability in Connecticut through education, research, and technical support.
- Home Energy Affordability in Connecticut: The Affordability Gap (2016): A report prepared for Operation Fuel, examining the home energy affordability issue in the state.
- Urban Tree Canopy Action Plan: The Office of Sustainability received grant-funding to knit together goals, strategies, and best practices related to the state of our urban forest, priority areas for maintenance and planting, and projected costs. The Plan was prepared in partnership with nearly a dozen partner stakeholders, including the Department of Public Works and Tree Advisory Commission.
- Hartford Public Tree Inventory: The City of Hartford has over 20,000 trees along our streets and in our high-use park areas. This inventory logs their location, species, size, and benefits.
- Hartford Tree Advisory Commission: The Commission advises the City Forester, the City Council, and the Mayor on tree-related issues in Hartford.
- Hartford Forestry Division: The Department of Public Works Forestry Division maintains and improves the urban forest.
- Studies on Parks Generally
- Urban Tree Canopy Assessment & Planting Plan (2014): Report establishes baseline data on the extent and function of the existing urban forest, analyzes recent changes and trends, and provides tools, data, and other resources to guide future community forest management reforestation efforts.
- Hartford’s Birds – Park Habitat Revitalization and Conservation (2016): Project, spearheaded by Park Watershed, aims to enhance habitat, provide public with information specific to local bird habitat, and to reduce urban migratory bird hazards.
- Green Infrastructure Around the Capitol:
- Colt Park
- Northeast Neighborhood Sustainability Plan (2014): A plan for improving health in one of Hartford’s high-health-needs neighborhoods, designed by nonprofit Community Solutions.
- Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission – Cleanup Guide for Organizers:(PDF, 4MB) A guide listing the resources, tips, and strategies on how to host your own community cleanup event.
- Connecticut Urban Forest Council: Statewide organization that provides advice, education, information, and support to urban and community forestry professionals, municipal, state and corporate leaders, and volunteers.
- Protecting Neighborhood and Other Roadside Trees (2014): Connecticut Fund for the Environment report compiling best practices from municipalities across the state regarding tree management.
- DEEP Forestry: Summary of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) programs within the Division of Forestry and pertinent items of interest.
- Connecticut Forest & Park Association: Organization dedicated to connecting people to the land in order to protect forests, parks, walking trails, and open spaces in Connecticut for future generations.
- UConn Extension – Forestry Program: Provides education in an effort to improve the health, care, diversity, and management of Connecticut’s trees and forests.
- Hartford Advisory Commission on Food Policy Annual Report and Policy Recommendations (2016): Annual report which outlines the progress of the Commission over the past year and highlights recommendations for the future.
- Grow Hartford 2015 Annual Report: Annual report by Grow Hartford, a program of Hartford Food System, which details the group’s current activities and future outlook.
- Hartford’s Zoning: The zoning code embraces community gardens, honey bee keeping, farmers’ markets, and urban farming (including henhouses and composting). See Zoning Regulations §§ 3.3.3, 3.7.2, & 4.20.5.
- Hartford Public Schools Food & Nutrition Program(PDF, 4MB) (2017): Short report, with images, showing robust local effort to increase students’ access to healthy food.
- Hartford Regional Market Master Plan (2014): Report and video laying out a plan to redesign the Hartford Regional Market.
- How Hartford Is Eating (2013): Report by the Connecticut Forum which provides a comprehensive overview of the state of nutrition in Hartford.
- Healthy Food In Hartford (2010): Report suggesting potential interventions tailored to the local urban food environment in Hartford.
- Forge City Works: Hartford organization using the benefits of fresh food to spur investment, support, good health and future employment for the entire community.
- DEEP Food Waste Reduction and Recovery: A compilation of sources provided by DEEP which are aimed at reducing food waste in Connecticut.
- 2012 Community Food Security in Connecticut: Town-level assessment of community food security in Connecticut.
- End Hunger Connecticut: Statewide anti-hunger and food security organization focused on advocacy, outreach, education, and research.
- 2015 Statewide Waste Characterization Study: Study measuring the composition of municipal solid waste disposed within Connecticut – food waste makes up nearly a quarter of total waste.
- Food Solutions New England: A regional, collaborative network organized to support the emergence and continued viability of a New England food system that is a resilient driver of healthy food for all, racial equality, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities.
- Connecticut Food System Alliance: State-wide network of dedicated stakeholders committed to creating broad system change and advancing a sustainable and just food system in Connecticut.
- Buy CT Grown: Organization supporting locally grown goods by highlighting Connecticut farms and the businesses that support them.
- UConn Extension – Agriculture & Food Systems: provides relevant and timely resources to address the complex issues of the agriculture industry in Connecticut for food producers, stakeholders, and others who need information.
- Connecticut CSAs: List of Community Supported Agriculture destinations in Hartford County provided by UConn Extension.
- CT Grown Program: Longstanding state program that promotes locally grown products.
- Estimates of Consumption of Locally-Grown Agricultural Products in Connecticut (2012): Report provides benchmark of percentage of CT resident’s expenditures on locally-grown products.
- CT Agricultural Experiment Station: Mission is to develop, advance, and disseminate scientific knowledge, improve agricultural productivity and environmental quality, protect plants, and enhance human health and well-being through research for the benefit of Connecticut residents and the nation.
Looking for our Hartford Climate action pages?
We've compiled the contents of our "What Can You Do?" pages below. You can also find information about engaging in Hartford's local boards and commissions.
Boards and Commissions
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
BUSINESS OWNERS 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
- 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
- Join a park group to stay informed of upcoming events and volunteer opportunities: Bushnell Park Foundation, Friends of Colt Park, Elizabeth Park Conservancy, Friends of Goodwin Park, Friends of Keney Park, and Friends of Pope Park, among others
- Sign up to plant a tree in your neighborhood or on your property
- Volunteer your time with a community organization like Elizabeth Park Conservancy, Knox Green Team, and Riverfront Recapture
- Report instances of improper dumping, vandalism, ATV riding, and tree trimming/removal to the proper authorities to the city or the police
- Check out this guide(PDF, 4MB) to learn more about keeping Hartford clean and green with community clean ups
BUSINESS OWNERS CAN:
- Support activities in parks, such as Nightfall, community yoga, or any of the cultural and entertainment festivals and events taking place in Hartford parks each year
- Sponsor a park group, such as: Bushnell Park Foundation, Friends of Colt Park, Elizabeth Park Conservancy, Friends of Goodwin Park, Friends of Keney Park, and Friends of Pope Park, among others
- Improve landscape on your property: plant trees, designate low-mow areas, and convert unnecessary parking spaces into green space
- Become a corporate volunteer with Knox
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
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
Note: This page includes external resources gathered here for convenience and informational purposes. The City does not claim an affiliation with the organizations that may be referenced here, and does not take responsibility for the content on external sites.