WESTPORT — Westport is up for the challenge: the sustainability challenge.

The Board of Selectmen voted at the end of March to join Sustainable CT, a new initiative with 40 participating municipalities which provides a detailed menu of sustainability best practices, tools, and resources.

“Westport has been a leader in sustainability actions, as the first Connecticut town to pass a legislative resolution to achieve Net Zero by 2050 and the first town east of the Mississippi to ban single-use plastic bags, as examples. We look forward to working with the Sustainable CT program and other municipalities, using the program as a road map towards increased resiliency and sustainability,” Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe said.

Westport Green Task Force Vice-Chair Pippa Bell Ader said the initiative will help Westport catalog and recognize sustainability initiatives already in place, such as town’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program that enables commercial property owners to put the cost of energy efficiency upgrades toward the assessed value of their building and thus pass on the cost of the upgrade if the property is sold.

When municipalities achieve different sustainability goals outlined in the Sustainable CT program, they will be awarded points that will go toward a certificate. Bronze and Silver are the only certification levels thus far, Adler said, and was modeled after the Sustainable New Jersey program, which began with two levels of certification and has since grown to include more levels.

Although sustainability is often associated with environmental preservation, Ader said the program encourages sustainability in many areas, from support for arts, creative culture, and local businesses.

“Sustainable CT communities strive to be thriving, resilient, collaborative, and forward-looking. They build community and local economy. They equitably promote the health and well-being of current and future residents, and they respect the finite capacity of the natural environment,” the Sustainable CT vision statement reads.

Inspired by the vision of Sustainable CT, Ader said Westport not only wants to catalog its current accomplishments, but plan for future sustainability projects, all beginning with a renewed effort to benchmark Westport’s energy, water and waste in order to better quantify Westport’s current consumption and use it to measure progress into the future.

svaughan@hearstmediact.com; 203-842-2638; @SophieCVaughan1