Sustainability Best Practices Framework

Overview

Sustainability Best Practices Framework: 2013 Update

Download the entire Best Practices Framework or use the navigation on the left or below to access best practices, case stories and resources by best practice area. The Institute for Local Government’s Sustainability Best Practices Framework offers options for local action in ten areas. They are drawn from practical experiences of cities and counties throughout California.

Overview

Energy Efficiency & Conservation

Energy generation is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, strategies to conserve energy and use it more efficiently in agency operations and the community help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, energy efficiency and conservation measures save money and resources.

Overview

Water & Wastewater Systems

Water and wastewater systems play an important role in sustainability for several reasons. First, energy is used to convey, pump, distribute, treat and heat water, so saving water saves energy. Second, experts agree that the effects of climate change will further reduce the availability of water. Therefore, efforts to conserve water will play an important role saving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and securing water resources for the future.

The best practices included in this section apply to cities and counties that provide water and waste water services directly, as well as to those that receive these services from other public or private agencies.

Overview

Green Building

Green buildings reduce energy consumption, use water more efficiently and use materials with recycled content, thus saving money and natural resources and related greenhouse gas emissions. Local agencies have taken a variety of approaches to embrace green building policies and programs, consistent with the unique characteristics of their individual communities.

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Waste Reduction & Recycling

The largest sources of human-generated methane, a potent greenhouse gas, comes from improperly managed landfills. Thus, waste reduction and recycling activities reduce the potential to generate methane at landfills, as well as reduces pollutants generated from transporting waste to disposal sites.

Waste reduction and recycling activities also conserve natural resources.

For related information see the ILG Commercial Recycling Resource Center.

Overview

Climate-Friendly Purchasing

Local agencies are large consumers of goods and services. As such, their purchasing practices can have a significant impact on the environment. By purchasing products or procuring services that reduce greenhouse gas emissions relative to competing goods and services, local agencies can remain fiscally responsible while promoting practices that conserve natural resources.

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Renewable Energy & Low-Carbon Fuels

Energy generated from renewable sources produces less greenhouse gas emissions than energy generated from conventional sources. Low carbon fuels are those that are formulated to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

 

 

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Efficient Transportation

Transportation is the largest generator of greenhouse gas emissions in California. Efficient transportation systems, encouraging alternatives to single occupancy vehicles, and reducing the miles that vehicles travel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help conserve fuel and cut fuel costs, improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion and make streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and motorists.

For related information see the ILG’s Land Use & Environment program.
Overview

Land Use & Community Design

Well-planned communities with a balance of housing, jobs, shopping, schools and recreation can reduce the length and frequency of trips and give people the option of walking, biking, or using transit rather than driving. This results in lower greenhouse gas emissions and also promotes physical activity and more vibrant, healthy and sustainable communities.

For related information see the ILG’s Land Use & Environment program.
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Open Space & Offsetting Carbon Emissions

Forests, parks, agricultural lands and open space serve as “carbon sinks” by storing greenhouse gas emissions that otherwise contribute to climate change. Co-benefits of preserving open space and protecting local agriculture may include: making recreational activities available to community residents and, in some cases, reducing vehicle miles traveled.

Overview

Community & Individual Action

Providing reliable and objective information helps inform residents about the causes, impacts and possible responses to climate change. Involving the community in the development of proposed sustainability policies and programs builds buy-in and awareness. Providing practical information that helps individuals reduce their greenhouse gas emissions empowers them to take action and make a difference.

For related information see the ILG’s Public Engagement program.

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