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FAQs - 2018 Municipal Certification


1. Are there any required actions?

Yes

Municipalities must complete one action from each of nine categories.  The category called “Inclusive and Equitable Community Impacts” has only one action, “Optimize for Equity.”  Therefore the Optimize for Equity action is a required action 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 after November 28, 2017).  In summary, not only is Optimize for Equity a required action, but you should preview this action as a starting point to decide which new action you will apply it to. (Return to top)


 


2. Do I have to submit an innovation action?

Nope

Innovation actions are optional.  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. (Return to top)


 


3. 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 info@sustainablect.org. (Return to top)


 


4. Can I get credit for a past action?

Yes 

Every action has a section called “Credit for Past Action” in the write-up.  For this year, count back from the final submission deadline of August 24, 2018.  For example, for items with a one-year look-back period, the action must have been completed after August 24, 2017. (Return to top)


 


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

No

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)


 


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

Yes

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. (Return to top)


 


7. Does the 2018 Master Action list always stay the same?

Mostly 

None of the 2018 actions in Sustainable CT have changed substantively this year.  But as we receive feedback, we do keep updating the actions to be written more clearly, and then incorporate those changes into the spreadsheet.  For the most up-to-date-action write-ups, please check the website.  No additional edits of any kind will be made after July 20, 2018 for this certification cycle. (Return to top)


 


8. 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.  Each municipality must submit the appropriate documentation for that action when submitting for certification. (Return to top)


 


9. 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 submit a partnership letter, signed by both your municipality and the non-municipal stakeholder, articulating 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, visit https://sustainablect.org/get-involved/sustainability-team-guidance/ and download the “Municipal Partner Checklist.” (Return to top)


 


10. 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 after November 28, 2017), and (2) you must include this new action in your application submission materials.  For example, if you hold a series of sustainability events in July 2018, 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)


 


11. Have the requirements for “Benchmark and Track Energy Use” and “Reduce Energy Use Across All Municipal Buildings” changed?

Yes: we’ve made them easier. 

Sustainable CT is creating standard reports in Portfolio Manager for you to complete this action.  You’ll enter your data, export your reports into Excel, and then upload them to Sustainable CT.  Also, originally, you were required to benchmark and track energy use for 100% of municipal buildings.  Now, the action is revised to list building categories that must be tracked.  Contact info@sustainablect.org for more information, or consult the action write-ups directly. (Return to top)


 


12. 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 https://sustainablect.org/resources-news-events/.  For support from a Sustainable CT Fellow, contact your regional council of governments, and learn more about our Sustainable Fellows at https://sustainablect.org/sct-fellowship-members/. (Return to top)


 


13. Does my application have to be complete for Round 1 review?

Nope!

We know that your application is a work in progress.  Feel free to submit whatever you have for review, even if many actions are still in progress.  Our reviewers can then provide feedback to give you a sense of whether you’re heading in the right direction. (Return to top)


 


14. Can I submit website links?

It depends. 

To promote ease of review for reviewers and peer learning, please submit pdfs whenever possible, so that they can be accessed with just one click and so that they are available, even when websites go offline.  Please submit website links only if listed specifically as a submission requirement for that action. (Return to top)


 


15. Can someone take one more look at my application before I submit for Round 2 (final) review on August 24th?

Sure! 

Sustainable CT will hold application Q & A sessions.  Attend any session that’s most convenient.  Come with your questions, and if your application is near-complete, receive an informal review, with feedback on what to fix before submitting.  Sessions are open to all but especially encouraged for municipalities that did not submit for round 1 review.  Register here. (Return to top)


 


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

No

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


 


17. What happens after August 24th?

Application submissions will be verified in the last week of August.  Throughout September, reviewers will assess submissions by action (e.g., all submissions for “Implement Complete Streets” will have the same reviewer).  In October, Sustainable CT staff will double-check the work of reviewers.  The Municipal Certification Committee will review candidates and then make final certification recommendations to the Sustainable CT board.  Certified municipalities will be recognized at the annual meeting at the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities in late October. (Return to top)


 


18. What is the “expiration date”?

After a reviewer reviews your action, an “expiration date” will appear.  This aspect of the website is still under development, being built to contemplate future certification cycles.  For 2018, please ignore the “expiration date” field and the dates listed. (Return to top)


 


19. Can anyone else see what I submitted?

Yes and No

If your municipality gets certified, then yes, everything you submitted 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)


 


20. How long does certification last?

3 years

Certification lasts for 3 years, then it’s time to reapply.  But if you earn bronze-level certification, you can apply for silver-level certification as early as next year. (Return to top)


 


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

That’s O.K.!

This is Sustainable CT’s first application cycle, but programs in other states tell us that 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 this year’s attempt, subject to look-back periods and future programmatic revisions. (Return to top)