Sustainability Committee

Formerly known as the Sustainable Practices Blue Ribbon Committee

The Committee on Sustainable Practices was established by the Mayor and City Council to help them lead the City toward increased sustainability, a goal of the City's 2005 10 Year Master Plan. The Committee's work focuses on three main areas:

  1. Increasing awareness of the importance and value of sustainable practices among Portsmouth residents, business owners, non-resident employees of Portsmouth businesses, visitors to the City, municipal staff, and other stakeholders;
  2. Advising the City Manager and City Council on improving the sustainability of City operations including such aspects as the energy efficiency of City buildings and vehicles, purchasing guidelines, and alternative fuels; and,
  3. Advising the City Council on a sustainable approach to the future growth and redevelopment of Portsmouth. 


The Sustainable Practices Blue Ribbon Committee is a group of concerned citizens who serve as a resource and educational conduit to promote sustainability and propose sustainable solutions to the City. The Committee focuses on seven sectors of sustainability:

  • Food
  • Land Use & Agriculture
  • Energy
  • Industry
  • Transportation
  • Buildings
  • Water


To advance effective climate action, the Sustainable Practices Blue Ribbon Committee supports efforts to move climate solutions forward toward Drawdown — the moment when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere start to decline – as quickly, safely and equitably as possible.

Utilizing the four sustainability principles from he Natural Step, the Sustainable Practices Committee addresses emerging issues using the Drawdown solutions to frame responses for the City to consider.

Drawdown framework


"The Sustainable Practices Committee is aware we have about 10 years to address global emissions and societal inequities before we see catastrophic and unwavering changes to our climate. It will take transformational action now to safeguard how we live, work and function on this planet. It is a daunting task but there are guiding principles and solutions that we can institute here in the City of Portsmouth to slow down and alter this course. 

The overarching goals of the Sustainable Practices Blue Ribbon Committee are to support and push action as an Eco-Municipality and build public will and enthusiasm to do things better.  We seek to achieve sustainability in the short time we have left. We aim to educate on climate change trends, bolster and support efforts to build resiliency to protect our community from extreme weather events and take advantage of the advancements in clean technology.

We feel the urgency of the climate crisis and aim to serve the City of Portsmouth to push for sustainable practices to minimize the effects of climate change and enable the City and its residents to:

  • Reduce dependence upon fossil fuels;
  • Reduce dependence on chemicals and other manufactured substances;
  • Reduce dependence on activities that harm life-sustaining eco-systems; and
  • Meet the hierarchy of present and future human needs fairly and efficiently.”

Recent Sustainability Initiatives:

  • Apply The Natural Step Principles and Drawdown solutions to local issues
  • Support creation of an Energy Committee and preparation for a Work Session on Community Power
  • Bolster efforts by the Sub-Groups of  SEAREI  born from the 2020/2021 Drawdown series of Workshops, to support and push more Sustainability Initiatives in addition to the ones here: CREAT Climate Resiliency Report | City of Portsmouth
  • Use the City’s resources, personnel, and finances strategically to meet the urgency of this moment. For example, having personnel ready to respond to the opportunities available through The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
  • Provide active guidance and support to the City Manager, City Boards, Committees, and Departments to attain the 2025 Master Plan’s vision of meeting the ’Net Zero Energy’ Policy adopted 2018
  • Established funding for the creation of the City's first Climate Action Plan (Portsmouth's Climate Future)
  • Work with various groups such as Portsmouth Climate Action, Seacoast Area Bicycle Riders (SABR), and SEACAN to host and promote sustainability events such as Community Conversations, the annual Sustainability Fair, and the annual EV Car Show event.
  • Our working group, the Green Buildings Workgroup, recently had a new municipal purchasing policy approved by the City Manager in an effort for all new municipal construction and or substantial renovations to include more energy efficient technology and utilize more sustainable practices (Fall 2023).

 For further information please contact Director of Planning and Sustainability Peter Britz at (603) 610-7215.

Committee Membership

Peter Britz, Ex-Officio    
Bert Cohen, Chair    
Josh Denton, Council Representative    
David "Leigh" Hudson, School Board Representative    
Portsmouth High School Eco Club Members    
Dept. of Public Works Representative    
Bill Lyons    
Chas Sullivan    
Effie Malley    
Jessica Blasko    
Torey Brooks