Community Sustainability

What’s your community doing to become more sustainable?
Use this checklist as a guideline.
Resources to help your community are below.

Sustainability Management

__Prepare an inventory.  Benchmark energy, water, recycling, transportation, and land use.
__Create a Sustainability Action Plan.
__Implement and have an on-going review of the Action Plan.
__Develop a Sustainable Infrastructure System.


__Meet criteria to become a “Green Community”.
__Participate in the municipal sustainability taskforce/ committee/commission.
__Organize community events and projects to improve sustainability.
__Create university-industry relations to educate the local workforce.
__Organize a local business alliance (Local First, Buy Local) to promote local small businesses.
__Organize a local residential group for education and advocacy:  Green/Sustainable Group, Mass Climate Action Network, Transition Town.


__Improve energy efficiency of existing buildings.
__Increase local renewable energy installations each year.
__Hire an energy/sustainability manager or have a municipal job description that includes energy/sustainability management.


__Decrease water consumption:  retrofit building fixtures to low-flow and ban watering for landscaping.
__Conduct water audits to identify leaks, overuse.
__Improve storm water management.
__Address watershed and wastewater issues.

Materials Management

__Audit the recycling program and increase recycling rate to 30% or more.
__Adopt an effective recycling program:  e.g. Pay As You Throw (PAYT) or Single Stream.
__Promote waste reduction (building operations and construction).
__Create new opportunities to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost in the community.


__Expand safe biking and walking alternatives.
__Mark bike lanes on roads for commuters.
__Increase incentives for energy efficient vehicles.
__Create access to daily public transportation (trains, buses).
__Plan so that jobs, services, schools and shops are close to where people live.

Open Space

__Review the Open Space Plan each year and prioritize open space purchases.
__Actively protect green space and practice Smart Growth.
__Create an urban trail system to reduce barriers and increase access for biking and walking.

Green Buildings

__Adopt the Building Energy Stretch Code.
__Ask developers to adopt Energy Star or LEED building practices.
__Promote the reuse of existing buildings over new construction.


__Create community gardeners – for schools, homes, and public places.
__Create a local CSA – Community Supported Agriculture.
__Establish a local Farmer’s Market.
__Support a farm that produces local food.
__Create local food initiatives for schools, restaurants and grocery stores.

Infrastructure Checklist
__Pollution Prevention
__Emissions Reduction
__Collaborative Partnerships
__Outreach and Education

How did your community do?
How can you help make your community more sustainable?
Want to add something to the list?  Contact


Check out these resources to advance sustainability in your community.
Want to add something? Email

Massachusetts Go Green Web Directory
Local Business Alliance

New England Clean Energy Careers Training and Education Directory

Solar “Yellow Pages”
Renewable Energy Incentives
Stop Fracked Gas in Massachusetts


Community Planning and Technical Assistance
Green Communities Program
Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance
Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Sustainable Communities Online



Mass Rides

Massachusetts Technical Assistance, Funding & Other Resources
Clean Energy Center
Department of Agriculture
Department of Energy Resources
Department of Environmental Protection
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Energy and Environmental Affairs
DOER Green Communities Division
Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) 


What’s happening in your community and others? Click on links and compare data.

Massachusetts Green Communities
Communities awarded by MA Department of Energy Resources for energy reduction planning.  Click on “Green Communities”

Recycling rates for MA towns and cities.  Verify data with communities to assure accuracy of reporting.

Water Usage
Residential gallons per capita day (RGPCD) and unaccounted for water (UAW):  water usage.

Water Restrictions
Municipalities restricting water use in 2012

Community Profiles
Environment, Economy, Recreation, Education, Transportation, Land:  Metro Boston Data Common

Toxics Releases in Communities
EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory

Natural Gas Leaks in Communities
Squeaky Leak Report