Office Of Sustainability

Sustainable Cleveland 2019’: Together, We’re Building a Thriving Green City on a Blue Lake Day One: Year of Clean Water

Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Chief of Sustainability Jenita McGowan welcomed approximately 500 local business and non-profit leaders, government officials, community members, students and educators to the seventh annual Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit held at the Cleveland Public Auditorium. This year’s keynote speaker for day-one of the two-day event was Dr. Marcus Eriksen, Director of Research and Co-Founder, 5 Gyres Institute.

Mayor Jackson began Sustainable Cleveland 2019 (SC2019) in 2009 as a way to involve the entire community in developing and implementing a 10-year economic development strategy and to transform the local economy into a sustainable one by 2019. The annual summit provides a venue to update the community on key local and regional accomplishments and the progress of current initiatives, as well as influence public policy to support the growth of a sustainable economy in Cleveland.

The Office of Sustainability leverages Cleveland’s wealth of assets by collaborating with the community to improve the economic, environmental, and social well-being of its citizens. Sustainable Cleveland 2019 is a 10-year initiative that engages people from all walks of life, working together to design and develop a thriving and resilient Cleveland region.
Mayor Jackson's 7th Annual Sustainability Summit will be held on September 16-17, 2015 at Cleveland Public Auditorium.  Registration is now open.  Over 500 local business leaders, government officials, students and residents will work together to help build a thriving green city on a blue lake.

The 2015 Annual Sustainability Summit will take place on September 16-17, 2015.

To lead by example, the Office of Sustainability develops policies and programs to embrace a culture of sustainability.

Working with City departments and key external partners, the Office implements projects in the following areas, resulting in cost savings and sustainability benefits.

  • Cleveland Bike Plan to Add 70+ Miles of Bikeway by 2017

    A new Bikeway Implementation Plan has been designed to increase the number of bikeway miles by 250% by the end of 2017. The goal of the Citys plan is to provide cycling amenities in every neighborhood, whether for transportation or recreational use.

  • Cleveland Recognized as a 3-STAR Community

    Cleveland is the 13th city in the nation to receive recognition from STAR Communities for its participation in the STAR Community Rating System, which evaluates the livability and sustainability of US communities.  

  • Sustainable Cleveland Releases Report From the Community

    This document provides highlights of the Sustainable Cleveland initiative since 2009, when it launched. It includes a section on measured progress, and many snapshots of sustainability work happening in Cleveland.  

  • The Bike Rack

    Those interested in biking to work now have access to bike storage and showers.  Located at the Gateway Complex, the Bike Rack features room to store 50 bikes, showers and related facilities for commuters. Info at 216.771.7120

Climate Action Plan

The Earth’s temperature is rising because people are adding heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere, mainly by burning fossil fuels. These gases are called greenhouse gases (GHGs). 
Vehicles driven, entertainment choices, foods eaten, business travel, products purchased... each of these everyday activities contributes to the 6.82 billion metric tons of GHGs that Americans emit each year. Warmer temperatures are causing other changes around the world, such as melting glaciers and stronger storms. These changes are happening because the Earth's air, water, and land are all linked to climate.

Experts predict Ohio will experience hotter summers, stronger storms, increased flooding, threats to agriculture, and a reduction in Lake Erie water levels. The implications for local natural, social, and business environments are compelling reasons for change.

The City of Cleveland led a community process to create a Climate Action Plan (CAP) to not only reduce GHG emissions, but also plan for changes in the climate that will affect Clevelanders. The CAP lays out 33 actions that will reduce GHG emissions in Cleveland 16% by 2020 and 40% by 2030. The Neighborhood Climate Action Toolkit helps neighborhoods and residents take actions to advance their neighborhood goals while also furthering Cleveland's climate action goals.

The City of Cleveland led a community process to create a Climate Action Plan (CAP) to not only reduce GHG emissions, but also plan for changes in the climate that will affect Clevelanders. The CAP lays out 33 actions that will reduce GHG emissions in Cleveland 16% by 2020 and 40% by 2030. The Neighborhood Climate Action Toolkit helps neighborhoods and residents take actions to advance their neighborhood goals while also furthering Cleveland's climate action goals.

Sustainable Cleveland Municipal Action Plan
The Sustainable Cleveland Municipal Action Plan
 (SC-MAP) also completed in October 2013, is focused specifically on municipal operations.  The SC-MAP, in conjunction with the community-wide CAP, enables the City to lead by example while reaping the many known benefits of sustainability derived from increased efficiencies, reduced operating costs, and enhanced services.


The City of Cleveland is wrapping up $4.5 million in energy efficiency and conservation projects funded by federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds. These projects are moving Cleveland toward Mayor Jackson’s sustainability goals.

  • Cleveland Energy$aver was a collaborative pilot between the City, Cleveland Housing Network and Cleveland Action to Support Housing (CASH) that offered 150 Cleveland residents incentives, rebates and financial assistance to make energy efficient and weatherization updates to their homes.
  • The Downtown Recycling Pilot Project included the purchase of 70 recycling stations placed throughout downtown Cleveland.
  • The Lake to Lakes Bike Trail betweeen the Shaker Lakes area and University Circle was finished in Fall 2012.
  • The Bike Rack, partially funded by the EECBG program, opened in September 2011 in downtown to provide cycling commuters with a locker room, bike storage, and repairs.
  • The City completed HVAC Upgrades at 14 fire stations to provide more energy efficient infrared heating in the apparatus bays and garages.
  • Housing Deconstruction pilot for 22 properties on the City’s list for demolition prevented usable building materials from going into landfills.
  • Energy Audits were performed for 25 of Cleveland Public Power’s commercial and industrial customers. Audits revealed annual projected energy savings of 26,575 MMBtu that could be realized if all recommended measures were implemented.
  • Lighting Retrofits were implemented at 16 City facilities (health centers, police stations, fire stations, recreation centers) across Cleveland to install more energy efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs, with anticipated annual savings of more than 3 million kilowatt hours.
  • Building off of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Action and Resources Guide completed in 2010 with EECBG funds, the City completed the Sustainable Cleveland Municipal Action Plan and the citywide Climate Action Plan.
  • The LED Street Lighting Pilot will determine which types of LED technology provide the best value (cost, energy savings, etc.) to the City.
  • The City purchased and implemented an Energy Data Management System (EnergyCAP) to better manage utility consumption and costs, while tracking reductions and cost savings resulting from energy and water efficiency projects.
  • A solar thermal domestic hot water (DHW) heating system was installed at the Collinwood Recreation Center.

Getting Involved

There are many simple things that can be done at home, at work, and in the community to save money and be more sustainable.

What Clevelanders Can Do At Home

  • Participate in Sustainable Cleveland 2019!
  • Practice water efficiency - add low flow toilets, waterless urinals, etc. to reduce water consumption
  • Add a rain barrel to capture free water from the roof for plants
  • Install a rain garden – native plants might not need chemical sprays
  • Decrease or eliminate the use of pesticides and fertilizers – use eco-friendly options if necessary
  • Pick up pet waste – it affects water quality
  • Water the yard, not the storm drain – sweep yard and sidewalk debris instead of hosing it down the storm drain
  • Compost food scraps and yard debris whenever possible
  • Use green cleaning products instead of chemicals, which pollute water
  • Round up unused medication – Take it to the next hazardous waste round-up, not the toilet
  • Plant trees – they beautify the city and provide support in managing stormwater
  • Unwanted oil and grease should not be dumped into sinks or storm drains
  • Turning down the thermostat by one degree in winter cuts heating bills about 3%, and turning it up one degree in summer cuts air conditioning bills around 5%.
  • Replace refrigerators with ENERGY STAR qualified brands.
  • Washing clothes on the cold setting can save up to 40% of associated energy costs
  • Dishes can be air dried to save energy – over 80% of a dishwasher’s energy use is for heat

What Clevelanders Can Do At Work

  • Participate in Sustainable Cleveland 2019!
  • Take reusable items like cups, plates, and utensils to work.
  • Save energy by shutting down the computer before going home.
  • Use both sides of paper when printing – save toner and electricity.
  • Carpool, use public transportation, or ride a bike to work.
  • Meet via telephone, conference call or other forms of communication to save energy and time.

Additional simple steps to taking action at home, at work and in the community may be found on the website.