A coalition of communities across the state met at Stonewall Resort Wednesday to share their successes in sustainability.
About ten communities gathered at the resort to exchange ideas and share success stories from their projects. The communities are partnered with the Bridgemont Sustainability Institute, which helps make those ideas reality.
"We provide technical assistance and capacity building services to communities across the state so we've invited some of the community members from the groups we work with to come here and talk about the projects they're working on in their communities relating to sustainability," said Kelly Drey of the Bridgemont Sustainability Institute, the group that is bringing this communities together.
And some of those communities are very close to home. Emma Clarke is the financial officer for the city of Shinnston, which is working to renovate a 1950's-era building to turn it into a modern, efficient space. She said it's a great benefit to the city to participate in the program.
"We don't have a city architect, a city engineer, we don't have those resources on staff, so programs like this enable us to consult with those experts in those fields and bring that expertise in, which helps us then make better decision for the community," said Clarke.
Projects like the ones discussed on Wednesday are often very detailed. They involve environmental, economic, and social concerns. Despite the complexity, Clarke said a well-planned effort can help communities save money.
"A good sustainability plan can actually help pay for itself, things like a rain garden on the roof; trap that water, reuse it maybe for flushing toilets, things like that in the building. So it should actually save you money in the long run," Clarke said.
For more information on Bridgemont's Sustainability Institute, visit www.bridgemont.edu/index.php/who-we-are/bridgemont-sustainability-institute.html.