The Town of Darien was one of nine Connecticut municipalities awarded Silver-level certification by Sustainable CT at its 2022 Awards Celebration earlier this month at the West Hartford Town Hall.
Building on the Bronze certification achieved in 2019, Darien met high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments to qualify for the prestigious Silver certification, the highest level currently offered.
Sustainable CT is a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more efficient, resilient, and inclusive for both current and future residents.
“Darien is a community that has demonstrated its commitment to the future by promoting sustainability. Members of the Advisory Committee on Sustainability worked tirelessly to achieve Silver level certification by encouraging support of local businesses, safeguarding natural spaces and educating the public. They have provided a foundation for long-term resilience that bonds residents’ connection to Darien, while also attracting newcomers.” -First Selectman Monica McNally
Through a rigorous application process, Darien demonstrated significant achievements in thirteen sustainable impact areas ranging from inclusive community building, thriving local economies, and vibrant arts and culture to clean transportation and well-stewarded land and natural resources. Highlights from the application include efforts to enhance pollinator pathways through invasive species education and management and the installation of native trees and gardens, participation in a regional study to measure and track the ecological health of Darien’s bays and harbors, the Chamber of Commerce’s “Live Darien CT” app and EPA ENERGY STAR certification for demonstrated superior energy performance in four municipal buildings. Silver certification required the achievement of 400 points across this broad range of impact areas; Darien earned 535.
Leading the effort to compile and document the work of the town and various community organizations, was the Darien Advisory Committee on Sustainability.
“I am proud of the application we submitted,” said Carolyn Bayne, Chairman of the Darien Advisory Committee on Sustainability, “Working collaboratively with dedicated town employees and town leaders, this Committee’s outstanding team of volunteers successfully documented numerous sustainability initiatives underway in Darien. We are confident that efforts highlighted will inspire further sustainability efforts here in Darien as well as in other communities.”
Kathy Finnegan, member of the Advisory Committee on Sustainability and project coordinator, agrees. “There is benefit beyond attaining points for certification. The process documents actions that have led Darien to become a more sustainable community and identifies best practices and opportunities for improvement in energy management, waste reduction and equitable services to community members. My hope is that the principles defined in Sustainable CT’s certification become part of the conversation in future decision-making in the Town of Darien and the Board of Education.”
In its five years Sustainable CT has seen strong momentum and growth as a valuable, high-impact program. To date, 129 of 169 municipalities participate in the program, representing nearly 90 percent of the state’s population, with 62 having earned certification at either the Bronze or Silver level. Certification lasts for three years, with submissions rigorously evaluated by independent experts and other Sustainable CT partners.
“Congratulations to our 2022 certified communities,” said Lynn Stoddard, Executive Director of Sustainable CT. “We are inspired by the leadership and commitment of these communities. From elected officials and town staff to resident volunteers, these certified towns are improving opportunities and the quality of life for all.”
Sustainable CT is independently funded, with strong multi-year support from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Hampshire Foundation, Connecticut Green Bank, Common Sense Fund, and the Community Fund of Eastern Connecticut.
For more information, and to view Darien’s application, visit www.sustainablect.org.