Hilliard's newest commission has ambitious plans to help make the city greener.

Hilliard's newest commission has ambitious plans to help make the city greener.

The Environmental Sustainability Commission (ESC) gave members of Hilliard City Council a progress report at their Aug. 22 meeting.

The nine-member ESC is an advisory, unpaid commission. Council approved the formation of the ESC in February, and appointed its members in April. Some of the ESC members were part of the former Hilliard EverGreen Team.

"We've met five times since you last saw us," ESC chair Carrie Stanley-Davis said to council. Among those meetings was a strategic planning retreat in June, when members identified the commission's goals. Stanley-Davis said those goals were to apply for grants; collaborate with local community and business groups; produce an e-newsletter; develop a community feedback mechanism; encourage sustainable development and renovation practices; and implement the Hilliard GreenSpot program.

The GreenSpot program is a way for businesses, community groups and households to be greener by conserving energy and water.

"We are investigating the Columbus program and reformatting that for the city of Hilliard so businesses and residences would have the GreenSpot logo in their entryways if they meet those qualifications," Stanley-Davis said. "We would be the first city in Franklin County other than Columbus to have a program like that. It's definitely a way to set ourselves apart."

Another initiative by the ESC is having 12 Ohio State University graduate students help implement an energy and waste management policy that would complement Hilliard's recently completed comprehensive plan, at no cost to the city. The students would work on the policy as part of a winter quarter course on sustainable development.

Vice chair Jonathan Hsu, who helped to get the OSU class to work with Hilliard, read the ESC's mission statement, which is, "Advance the city of Hilliard as a leader in the area of environmental sustainability by:

Identifying policies and best practices that reduce the city's environmental impact.

Educating and engaging Hilliard's citizens.

Encouraging energy efficiency standards.

Preserving and protecting natural resources.

"We're looking to be creative and try things that maybe (other communities) haven't done," Hsu said.

Mayor Don Schonhardt, who sat in on the ESC's Aug. 17 meeting, told council that Hilliard applied for and received 20 collapsible and 50 permanent recycling containers from a Keep America Beautiful project called the Great American Cleanup. The blue and white containers will be placed in public spaces and at events such as Old Hilliardfest.

"We have made a commitment to collect those containers up and deposit those recycling materials into a larger container that's provided by Waste Management," Schonhardt said. "The proceeds from that recycling go to support post-9/11 disabled U.S. veterans. I couldn't think of a better program to support than that."

Following the ESC's report, councilman Albert Iosue said, "I'd like to commend Carrie and all the commission members. They're making progress. They're really putting a lot of time and effort into it with a lot of things on the radar screen."