Principle of Sustainability

Sustainability is based on a simple principle. Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and ecological requirements of present and future generations.

The Strategic Development Plan encourages sustainable practices for development activities including energy strategies, green building designs and development practices. One of the strategies to achieve this is to amend our zoning regulation to incorporate sustainable practices.

Energy Efficiency Projects

At the October 21, 2019 City Council meeting, Jeff Evans of Evans Energy gave a presentation about the nearly $6 million 2017 Energy Efficiency project which was recently completed. This complex project encompassed a number of improvements throughout all City facilities which are being paid for by an energy savings performance contract (defined below). In addition to energy improvements, the project included other critical capital investments the City would not have been able to afford without this creative financing mechanism. Director Joe McRae and his staff oversaw the Evans Energy group’s work over the last two years to construct and install each and every improvement. Below is brief timeline of the project over the last two years:

  • December 2015: City partnered with the County’s Department of Sustainability and Spectrum Energy to pursue an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) project. An ESPC is a financing technique that uses cost savings from reduced energy consumption achieved by installing upgrades known as energy conservation measures, or ECMs, to repay the cost of the ECMs. In some cases the collective energy savings derived from the ECMs are in excess of the cost of the ECMs which allows for additional capital expenditures, or capex) that would otherwise need to be financed in other ways. In our case, these capex projects are currently unfunded needs of our facilities with no identified source of funding on the horizon.
  • January 2016: Energy audit of all City facilities began. Spectrum Energy, an independent consultant, conducted audits of large facilities (City Hall, Community Center, and Service Garage). COSE conducted audits of the City’s smaller facilities. This first step was necessary to determine whether there was sufficient energy savings to pursue an ESPC project.
  • April 2016 through June 2016: Audit findings and corresponding financial analysis were presented to City team by Spectrum Energy, County Sustainability Staff, and Eutectics (an independent firm working with the County Energy Hub). City team reviewed findings and related costs and determined initial scope of work for the project following several months of additional financial and engineering analysis. The City team’s goal was to find a balance of project costs and project savings that could cover as many additional capex projects as possible while still achieving a positive cash flow at the onset of the project.
  • July 2016: Joint presentation given to Council by staff, Spectrum Energy,County Sustainability staff, and Eutectics regarding audit findings, project scope, financial analysis, and next steps which included issuing a request for proposal for energy savings performance contracting services.
  • August 2016: Council authorized permission to issue request proposals.
  • September 2016 – December 2016: Responses reviewed and vetted including extensive interviews and referencing.
  • January 2017: Council authorized a LOI with Evans Energy to enter into negotiations.
  • January 2017 through March 2017: Evans conducted additional project due diligence and engineering. City team and Spectrum finalize projects.Financial experts finalize project costs, financial analysis and financing tool vetting.
  • April 2017/May 2017: Council approved contract with Evans along with debt issuance.
  • Summer 2017: Projects throughout all City facilities were constructed and implemented.
  • Summer 2019: Project successfully completed.


On May 21, Cleveland Heights City Council approved amending our Zoning Ordinance to incorporate a Sustainable Zoning Code Amendment (PDF).

Cleveland Heights is committed to providing alternative transportation options to our residents and is pursuing ways to become a more bicycle-friendly community.

Circle-Heights Bicycle Network & Missing Links

Transportation Planning Study

Two studies are underway to develop and enhance bicycle and transit accommodations in the greater University Circle area and Cleveland Heights to encourage people to bike or take transit rather than drive: The Circle-Heights Bicycle Network Plan and The Missing Link Transportation Study. The power point presentation from the April 18th public meeting (PDF) provides an overview of the studies and explains our online survey.

Over 700 responses to our online survey are now being reviewed and compiled. This information will help shape the future of alternative mode travel in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. Thank you for your participation!

At the May 24th Missing Links work session information concerning current transit opportunities (PDF) was reviewed. Minutes of this Transit Focus Meeting (PDF) can be reviewed.

The final report and appendices can be found:

Solar Bus Shelters

RTA Solar Bus Shelters Solar Shelter

Two Solar Bus Shelters have been installed. One is at Mayfield Road and Warrensville Center Road and the second is located at Mayfield Road and Coventry Road. During the day, the shelter looks transparent and colorless. At night, front and back panels glow in programmable LED lighted color.

For more information, email Richard Wong.

Cumberland Pool Parking Lot MapCumberland Pool Parking Lot

A $238,726 Ohio EPA grant enabled the City to convert the Cumberland Pool parking lot into a water quality demonstration project! Precipitation drains from the parking lot into landscaped areas and is absorbed by plants and engineered soil. Excess water, after being filtered by fabric, gravel and soil, is piped to Dugway Brook. Heights High students will continue to measure and analyze water quality as part of their curriculum.

For more information, email us.