Bristol Certified as Sustainable: What Makes a Community “Sustainable”?

Welcoming sign at ESPN’s main campus in Bristol

Bristol is one of the first Connecticut municipalities to achieve certification as a “Sustainable CT community,” Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu announced in a recent press release.

According to Zoppo-Sassu, the city met high standards “One of the first items the new City Council did in the new year was to accept the Energy Plan and create an ordinance for a permanent Energy Commission.”

Sustainable CT, a statewide initiative that supports and recognizes sustainability action by Connecticut communities, was launched last year and announced its first group of certified towns this week.

In its application for Sustainable CT certification, the City of Bristol demonstrated significant achievements in actions in nine sustainable impact areas ranging from thriving local economies and vibrant arts and culture to clean transportation and diverse housing.    

The City of Bristol successfully completed actions included in numerous areas: Supporting Local Economy, Land and Natural Resource Stewardship, Creative Cultural Ecosystems, Dynamic and Resilient Planning, Clean and Diverse Transportation Systems, Efficient Physical Infrastructure and Operations, Inclusive Public Services, Efficient and Diverse Housing and Inclusive and Equitable Community Impacts.

“Energy efficiency and maximizing all of our assets to benefit the bottom line is a big priority this year,” stated Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu.

“We have staff committed to energy issues and will be working across department lines to implement new procedures and policies as well. I want to take the opportunity to thank the various members of the Energy Task Force that has worked for years to come up with a plan that is reasonable and appropriate for Bristol,” continued the Mayor.

“Recently, we integrated Building Maintenance Facilities management with the Board of Education,” stated Councilman David Preleski, who chairs the Ordinance Committee.

“In addition to the elimination of a position, we now have like-minded custodial, mechanical maintenance and other skilled trades working side by side to create efficiencies with Peter Fusco from the Board of Education overseeing both sides. This has given us the flexibility to formally have designated formal Energy Manager duties to David Oakes, a facilities manager on the City Hall side. I think this will be a win-win for taxpayers and future building projects and renovations.”

“Completing the SustainableCT application shows what tremendous and forward-thinking work that all City departments have completed in previous years and to date,” stated David Oakes, the City Facilities and Energy Manager.

“The program also provides a roadmap for future areas of improvement for overall efficiency and sustainable practices, which benefit the Bristol community and help reduce operating expenses in the interest to the taxpayer, local businesses, the environment and future generations of Bristol residents.  The program also shows where Bristol is in relation to other Connecticut municipalities and where we can work together with neighboring towns to improve and reduce our overall footprint on the environment, for which we are responsible. Bristol residents may not be aware of the hard work being done pertaining to resilience and sustainability, this is an opportunity to shine a light on those many efforts, which should be recognized and commended.”

“Congratulations to our 2018 certified Sustainable CT communities,” said Lynn Stoddard, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University, which administers the program.

 “We are inspired by your leadership and eager to share your accomplishments in building efficient, thriving, and resilient communities.”

With input from municipal leaders across the state, Sustainable CT was developed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University.  The program is independently funded, with significant support from three Connecticut philanthropic foundations. The founding funders include the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Hampshire Foundation, and the Common Sense Fund.  

The City of Bristol and other certified communities will be recognized on October 30th at the Annual Convention of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, followed by additional local and regional recognition events in the coming months.

For more information, visit


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