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Paving the Way toward Sustainable Living in Cleveland, OH

Controlling the plants

Sustainable living is more than just a buzz phrase in Cleveland – it’s a way of life for many residents. Here are some of the local policies and community efforts aimed at making Cleveland’s growth more sustainable.

Controlling the plants

The Sustainable Cleveland Municipal Action Plan (SC-MAP)

The City of Cleveland already practices sustainability in many areas. However, the SC-MAP aims to accelerate sustainability in municipal operations through a coordinated plan of action and employee engagement across various city divisions, departments, and the broader community. It is also meant to unite the city’s many sustainability efforts under a single cohesive plan of action for greater efficiency.

Some of the goals and intended outcomes of the SC-MAP include:

  • Lower municipal energy costs
  • Lower water costs and consumption
  • Improved water quality in Lake Erie and rivers
  • Reduced motor vehicle emissions and fuel costs
  • Waste reduction and increased landfill diversion rates
  • Enhanced employee health, satisfaction, and productivity, and health
  • High-performing buildings and retrofits for existing buildings

Sustainable Cleveland

This city initiative aims to transform Cleveland into a livable and resilient city with a vibrant business climate and scenic natural environment. Part of its efforts include the Sustainable Cleveland Summit and plans to turn Cleveland into a “Green City on a Blue Lake” within a 10-year period. It engages residents and corporate and institutional partners to help make city living more sustainable through measurable goals.

The Cleveland Climate Action Plan (CAP)

Cleveland is part of the Climate Mayors Coalition, a bipartisan climate leadership network spanning 48 states and 74 million citizens. Since the Cleveland Climate Action Plan (CAP) inauguration in 2013, the city has made steady progress towards its sustainability goals.

For instance, the Cleveland Climate Action Fund has supported about 50 resident-led projects. The city has been recognized for supporting renewable sources of energy. It has also started a bike share program and successfully installed over 70 miles of bike infrastructure.

Other CAP outcomes include:

  • Reduced carbon pollution
  • Improved water and air quality
  • Implementation of the Cleveland Tree Plan

CAP has five focus areas with intersecting priorities. These include:

  • Clean energy
  • Energy efficiency and green building
  • Clean water and green spaces
  • Sustainable transportation
  • More local food and less waste

The plan is updated every five years and a new release is expected in 2023.

Decarbonization Summit

Cleveland’s first Decarbonization Summit took place in April 2023. Attendees discussed pathways to reducing the city’s carbon emission levels. Mayor Justin Bibb attended the event and announced that Cleveland has joined the National Better Climate Challenge with goals to decrease the city’s emissions by 50% over a 10-year period.

In line with its goals to reduce carbon emissions, the city reinstated the Urban Forestry Commission in January 2023 to help increase tree canopy. It also installed an electric vehicle charging station in the Lee-Harvard area back in November 2022.


Earthfest is an annual Cleveland State University (CSU) event that puts the spotlight on campus sustainability initiatives and organizations. It raises awareness through demonstrations and learning opportunities for students, staff, and faculty. For this year’s event, Ohio City Bicycle offered free safety checks for students’ bikes, which coincides with a new bike lane that has been installed along Superior Avenue. It also featured an electric car display, a live DJ set, free food, and fun prizes and merch.

There are many ways to make day-to-day living in Cleveland more sustainable. Get more tips on sustainability and eco-friendliness here.

Explore real estate in Cleveland, Ohio with a local expert. Realtor Michelle McQuade helps clients buy and sell homes in the area. Get in touch with her at 440.823.2448 or send her an email for real estate advice.

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