Charleston hires first-ever sustainability director to lead city’s environmental efforts

October 8, 2009

The city of Charleston has hired Brian P. Sheehan as its director of sustainability, a new position created this year.

The sustainability director will create long- and short-term goals and lead projects that promote environmental sustainability within city government and in the community. The new director also will lead some green initiatives the city has already pursued.

The job, in the Department of Planning, Preservation, and Sustainability, was the only new position funded in this year’s budget, city officials said.

Sheehan began work Monday.

Creating the position was a recommendation from the city’s Green Committee, a group of citizens that Mayor Joe Riley put together to recommend strategies for reducing the city’s carbon emissions.

Riley is one of 1,000 mayors who have signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, which calls for reducing carbon emissions 7% below 1990 levels by 2012.

Sheehan has a master of city and regional planning degree from the University of Oregon and is accredited by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED. Most recently Sheehan worked for the city of Portland, Ore., in the Department of Planning and Sustainability.

In government and non-profit roles, Sheehan has led projects related to energy efficiency, waste reduction, environmental preservation, housing development, community redevelopment and alternative transportation.

Sheehan will speak to the city’s Green Committee at its next scheduled meeting, which is at 8 a.m. Oct. 13 at John Wesley United Methodist Church, 626 Savannah Highway.

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