FAQs - 2021 Municipal Certification

1. What do I need to do to get certified? 

You must complete actions totaling a certain number of points, complete one or more equity toolkits, and complete at least one action in Sustainable CT categories 1 - 11. More details on certification are available. (Return to top)


2. What are the deadlines for the 2021 certification cycle?

The final submission deadline is April 6, 2021 for the spring certification cycle and August 24, 2021 for the fall certification cycle. If certification is not achieved in one cycle, simply make revisions based on feedback received and apply in the next cycle. (Return to top)


3. Are there any required actions?


Category 1 "Inclusive and Equitable Community Impacts" includes one mandatory action, Action 1.1 "Optimize for Equity," for any town seeking certification. It is important to note that the Equity Toolkit, which is the submission document for Optimize for Equity, must be applied to a new Sustainable CT action (one initiated in the past three years).

Not only is Optimize for Equity a required action, but you should preview this action as a starting point to decide which new action(s) you will apply it to. The Equity Toolkit must applied to new actions upon recertification. Successfully complete at least 1 equity toolkit to be considered for bronze certification and at least 3 equity toolkits to be considered for certification.

In addition, municipalities must complete one action of their choosing from each category in Categories 1 - 11. Category 12 "Effective Compassionate Homelessness Prevention" is required beginning 2022, though communities implementing actions in this category may earn points in 2021. Category 13 "Innovative Strategies and Practices" is optional. (Return to top)


4. Do I have to submit an innovation action?


You have the option of submitting up to 2 Innovation actions. If you submit a sustainability action under the innovation category, to successfully earn points, your submission must be, well, innovative!  In addition, it will be evaluated against these areas. If your proposed action(s) fits better within an existing Sustainable CT action it will not be awarded points as an innovation act. Be sure to look closely at the Sustainable CT list of actions to determine the best place to submit your work. Submission of innovation actions are encouraged by May for early reviewing.  (Return to top)


5. Do I need to do every part of the action?

It depends 

Some actions require you to do every piece listed. Other actions are like a menu, where you earn points for the pieces of the action you choose to complete. Read the action carefully.  If you still have questions, contact (Return to top)


6. Can I get credit for a past action?


Sustainable CT has simplified its “credit for past action” framework. Actions can either be “New” or considered for “Rolling Credit.”

New Action Credit. Any action completed within the past three years (from January 1 of the year seeking certification) is eligible for potential certification points. If you are applying for recertification in your year of expiration, you may not claim New Action Credit for items that previously received credit.

Rolling Credit. For any action older than three years (from January 1 of the year seeking certification), you must demonstrate ongoing, currently relevant, and meaningful impact in your community to be considered for certification points. If you are applying for recertification in your year of expiration, you must apply for Rolling Credit for any item that previously received credit, even if it was completed within the past three years.

View the “Timeframe for Credit” Guidance Document for detailed submission requirements. (Return to top)


7. Can I get points for the same activity under different actions?


There is no double-counting. For example, if you held a roundtable for sustainable businesses in your community, it cannot count toward both “Provide Resources and Support to Local Businesses” and “Hold a Sustainability Event.” (Return to top)


8. I’ve already submitted documentation to other groups in Connecticut for some of these actions.  Do I need to submit again?


One of the remarkable features of Sustainable CT is its transparent platform and capacity to support peer learning. By submitting your documentation to Sustainable CT, if you get certified, your documents will be available online for anyone wishing to learn from them, searchable both by action and by municipality. Where possible, we are happy to assist you in obtaining documents from other programs for your Sustainable CT application. (Return to top)


9. Do the actions stay the same?


Actions are updated every year, usually near the end of the calendar year. We update the Action Overview Spreadsheet once edits are made and announce the posting of program updates in our Sustainable CT e-news. (Return to top)


10. Can I collaborate with other municipalities?

You bet! 

Wherever possible, regional collaboration is highly encouraged. Each municipality in a collaborative to implement a specific Sustainable CT action is eligible to receive full points for implementing that action. Beginning in 2021, applicants may complete action Collaborate with Other Municipalities to receive points for regional sustainability efforts. Each municipality must submit the appropriate documentation for that action when submitting for certification. (Return to top)


11. Can I collaborate with other non-municipal stakeholders (e.g, schools, councils of governments, nonprofits, etc.)?

Also an emphatic yes! 

If your municipality requests points for an action completed with a non-municipal stakeholder, you must articulate the role of the municipality in action implementation. To receive points, your municipality must demonstrate some meaningful role in action implementation; it is insufficient to rely solely on the work of a partner. For more information, see the Partners Guidance document in the "Engaging Partners" section of each action write-up. (Return to top)


12. What do I need to know about the “Optimize for Equity” action?

A few key things:

(1) The Equity Toolkit must be applied to a new Sustainable CT action (one initiated in the past three years, (2) you must complete at least 1 Equity Toolkit to be considered for bronze certification and at least 3 Equity Toolkits to be considered for silver certification, and (3) you must include this new action in your application submission materials. For example, if you hold a series of sustainability events in January 2021, apply the Equity Toolkit to planning and implementing them, and then submit documentation for both “Hold a Sustainability Event” and “Optimize for Equity,” you’ve met the requirements. (Return to top)


13. How can I learn more about opportunities for free technical assistance to implement Sustainable CT actions?

Opportunities are available.

For free technical support resources, visit Sustainable CT Support For Your Town. You'll find information posted there on: Sustainable CT Fellows, equity support, funding through the Community Match Fund and other external grants, trainings and events, and other no-cost assistance. (Return to top)


14. Does my application have to be complete by the submission deadline?


Feel free to submit whatever you have for review, even if the work of implementing many actions is still in progress. Our reviewers can then provide feedback to give you a sense of whether you’re heading in the right direction, and you can apply again in the next certification cycle. (Return to top)


15. Do I need to apply for certification in the year that I registered?


Work at the pace that feels right for you. Opportunities for certification are offered twice each year. If you’re not ready to apply for certification, you may apply in a future certification cycle. (Return to top)


16. What happens after the submission deadline?

Application submissions will be verified immediately following submission. Expert reviewers will assess submissions by action (e.g., all submissions for “Implement Complete Streets” will have the same reviewer). Sustainable CT staff will check the work of reviewers to ensure quality. The Sustainable CT board of directors will review and approve the list of certified communities. Spring and fall certified municipalities will be recognized at the annual meeting at the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. (Return to top)


17. Can anyone else see what I submitted?

Yes and No

If your municipality gets certified, then yes, everything you submitted for actions that were approved will be available on the Sustainable CT website, searchable by action to promote peer learning. If you do not get certified this year, your materials will remain on the website, but they won’t be publicly viewable, even if individual actions were approved. (Return to top)


18. How long does certification last?

3 years

Certification lasts for 3 years, then it’s time to reapply. For example, for municipalities certified in spring or fall 2020, certification lasts until December 31, 2023. (Return to top)


19. What if I apply and don’t get certified this year?

That’s O.K.!

The opportunity to certify is offered every Spring and Fall. Many municipalities who aren’t successful in their first attempt but try again often achieve certification on subsequent tries. In reapplying, you’ll need to resubmit everything but will likely re-earn many of the same points you earned in any previous attempt, subject to look-back periods, action revisions, and other potential programmatic revisions. (Return to top)


20. When should I re-certify?

Any time.

Certification lasts for 3 years, but the opportunity to re-certify is offered every spring and fall. Consider re-certifying early to earn more points, possibly achieve a higher certification level, and refresh your municipality's accomplishments on the Sustainable CT website. (Return to top)


21. Will I need to change anything in my application after the final submission deadline?


Following review of your application after the final submission deadlines, you may be contacted and asked: (1) for additional documentation, and/or (2) to make edits to your submission for posting on the public-facing portal. (Return to top)


22. What actions will be updated for the 2021 Certification Cycle?

Please contact us at