Sustainability Committee, May 9, 2019

June 4th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

Members present: Council Member and Chair Julianna Senturia; Council Members Sean Malone and Anne Williams; Citizen Members Carmen Franks (by phone), Julianne Potter, and Norman Robbins.

Others present: Mayor David Weiss; Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin; Sustainability Coordinator Michael Peters.

The agenda for the meeting may be found here:

The meeting was recorded, and the audio is available here:

Ms. Senturia called the meeting to order at 7:35 a.m.

The minutes of the April 11, 2019 meeting were approved without comment and are available here:

Update on LEED for Cities Grant. Mr. Peters said that documents have been signed and the announcement of the 15 cities being awarded the grant is May 21. Mr. Peters and Ms. Williams will attend the working session in Washington, DC, June 5/6, 2019. Tory MacMillan at Hathaway Brown has a student who used sustainability as an interest topic to become a fellow, which goes on her school record. That student will work with this committee to create an interschool student committee on sustainability so they could help getting Shaker Heights its certification.

Discussion of Committee Priorities and Goals. Mr. Peters prepared an outline to encourage members to think about topics and create common language—a mission statement, vision, objectives, measuring success—a LEED requirement but also a good idea for this new committee. The document (a Google Doc) is now in the committee’s Google Drive folder so all can access and comment on it. He will gather the comments/suggestions and create a final document. Mr. Malone and Ms. Williams thought it was a positive step and liked idea to work individually on the document off line. All agreed that creating a framework, or beginning with LEED’s framework, was the place to start and that the aligning the metrics to targets that have already been created will be helpful. The timeframe will be more obvious after the June meeting, but LEED’s idea is to spend the summer collecting data and the fall refining it, hoping that as many of the 15 cities as possible can at least apply for certification by the time of the Greenville Conference at the of November. Success will be more than meeting metrics/milestones, though, and should include community engagement, finding groups of people who may not be naturally engaged and asking them, using existing topics, their priorities on sustainability to see if they align with the core ideas that created this committee. A survey tool (list of issues to prioritize) would help determine overriding issues for the community. Choosing two or three of these priorities, rather than getting lost in the weeds, could be best. Create short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. One short-term goal might be the number of residents switching from 50% to 100% renewable energy, through changes to the NOPEC letter. But even that is not easy. Stay focused on city issues, though, not statewide or national ones, especially political. Perhaps setting aside five minutes for resident comments, etc. at the beginning of each meeting, or sharing email concerns/requests. Supporting documents here: (

Creation of Subcommittees. Waiting until the June meeting makes most sense. LEED seems an overarching topic that the entire committee will work on. Resident actions/interests could determine subcommittees/working groups. Think about the nomenclature. Maybe an energy group reporting back to the entire committee, transportation, recycle/reuse/compost (focus on possibilities for Cuyahoga County to make changes), too. Point toward actions that are not city driven.

Update on Support for NOPEC Letter. Mr. Robbins discussed the communications from NOPEC about sources of energy. The city will send a follow-up letter to NOPEC saying it will encourage residents to sign up for the renewable energy plans, but 1) request that NOPEC notify residents that have opted into the 12- or 24-month 100% plan of when their contract expires; and 2) ask NOPEC to mention in their opt-out letter that a 100% renewable plan is available (option three). NOPEC has made a number of appearances to City Council and is very responsive. But many residents will not read the letter, so we need to educate them. He has helped form a citizen group to help residents of three community areas (Heights area, South Euclid [whose mayor is vice chair of the NOPEC board], Chagrin Falls area) with these issues. The group is setting up a website to help any NE Ohio resident find 100% renewable energy at a reasonable rate and explains what the rates mean, etc.

Mr. Peters related that Shaker has been targeted as a best prospect for a Rust Belt Riders test case for composting. There are two plans: for $5/month bring your compostables to the Nature Center, where RBR will pick them up; for $20/month RBR will come to you. Also, the restaurants in the Market Hall at the Van Aken District use RBR, so even animal-based food waste is possible to compost, using very high temperature composting.

The sustainability coordinator’s monthly report is here:

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 am.

The next meeting is June 13, 2019, 7:30 a.m.

Barbara Bradley

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