Heritage Tree Ordinance: On Monday, August 3 the Portland City Council adopted an ordinance to protect large trees located in designated historic districts. These include native trees such as oaks, red maples, elms, birches, and chestnuts with a diameter of 24" or more. It also include decorative trees such as dogwoods, dawn redwoods, and apple with a diameter of 12" or more. Anyone who wishes to cut down one of these trees must receive a permit from the City Arborist and, if granted, must replace the trees on their property or contribute to a fund dedicated to planting trees in areas that lack an adequate tree canopy.
The purpose of the ordinance is to preserve vital ecological services provided by large trees. This includes carbon sequestration, cooling, and storm water management. See the documents section below to download a copy of the ordinance.
Energy Benchmarking: All single-occupant properties over 20,000 square feet are required to report energy data by May 1, 2020. NOTE: Vert Energy Group has been sending notices to property owners regarding this ordinance. This group is NOT affiliated with the City and does not represent the City in any way. Learn more about the ordinance and requirements here.
Plastic Straw, Stirrer, and Splash Stick Ordinance: This ordinance takes effect April 1, 2020. At that time, food provider may only provide a plastic straw, stirrer, or splash stick on request. Get more details on how to comply.
Maine State Plastic Bag Ban: Maine’s statewide ban on plastic bags takes effect on April 22, 2020. The DEP has prepared a fact sheet with important information about the law. Click to learn more.
What We Do
The Sustainability Office undertakes initiatives designed to make Portland a vibrant, environmentally friendly community now and into the future. We collaborate with all departments to increase the efficiency of City operations and seek innovative approaches to improve municipal services. We partner with community organizations, citizens, and businesses working to conserve energy, reduce waste, and preserve our natural resources. We promote actions that will make Portland resilient in the face of a changing climate.
Current key Initiatives
The City of Portland has committed to reducing community wide greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 and transitioning to 100% clean energy for municipal operations by 2040. Learn more about the many projects completed and underway to achieve these goals. Climate Action Initiative.
Smart City Initiatives
Smart city technologies enhance services for city residents and visitors, and lead to a more sustainable city. Projects include intelligent traffic signals in select locations, EV charging stations, and environmental sensors that can provide information about noise levels and air quality. Learn more.
Pesticide Use Ordinance
The City Council passed a pesticide ordinance designed to protect public health and the environment by reducing chemical inputs used for maintaining landscapes. Get more information on the new pesticide use guidelines.
Small changes can make a big impact.
5 Things You Can Do
- Reduce waste and recycle. Check out the EcoMaine Recyclopedia App.
- Weatherize your home. Learn more from Efficiency Maine.
- Walk, ride your bike, or take the bus to your destination. Learn more from Metro.
- Maintain a Bay Friendly yard. Learn more from Friends of Casco Bay.
- Support local businesses. Learn more from Portland Buy Local.