Step-by-Step Sustainability Assessment

Performing a baseline assessment will help you understand your household’s effect on the natural environment, such as: your use of natural resources, greenhouse gas emissions, and carbon footprint. One simple baseline assessment is looking at your current utility bills: how much electricity, natural gas, and water are you using?

A range of baselining tools for transportationwaterenergywaste managementfood, and emergency preparedness are provided below. Pick a topic to start your journey!

What is a carbon footprint? Why do greenhouse gas emissions matter? How do your actions contribute to the bigger picture?

We’ve identified actions you can take to make your lifestyle more sustainable – making sure resources are available for future generations – and more resilient – helping you to be prepared to bounce back from unexpected challenges. Many of these changes will save you money, too.

Take a look at the recommendations below for transportationwater and energy usage, food and waste managementemergency preparednesshealth and green space. Then, figure out what changes work for you and set goals.

To dig deeper into sustainability, resilience, and natural resource conservation, check out some of these resources:

*TDEC and OPSP do not endorse or support any of the items or sources listed here. If you have found other documentaries, books, or websites related to sustainable resilience that you’d like to share, please contact us.


Everyone can do something to pursue more sustainable and resilient living. Use the results of your baseline assessment and set goals to be more sustainable in your transportationwater and energy usage, food and waste managementemergency preparednesshealth and green space. Not only will your actions support the environment and help you save money, they will help you be more resilient: better prepared to bounce back in the face of unplanned events.  

Making simple behavioral changes will result in financial savings for you as well as environmental benefits.  

For example, achieve your goals for decreased energy and water usage, by changing some behaviors:
            -          turn off the lights when you leave a room,
            -          take slightly shorter showers and turn the water off while brushing your teeth,
            -          set your thermostat a degree or two closer to the ambient temperature.

Small behavioral changes lead to significant cumulative financial savings and resource conservation. Recommendations are provide below for transportationwater and energy usage, food and waste managementemergency preparedness, and health and green space.

Once you start accumulating savings, leverage your savings to fund additional sustainability and resilience measures. Simple behavioral changes to conserve energy and water lead to savings of $20-$50 (or more!) monthly. Further increase your savings by utilizing reflective curtains and blinds, LED lightbulbs, rain barrels, and low-flow fixtures, which will produce a return on investment (ROI) in a few months.

Or, retain the savings to off-set larger purchases with a longer ROI. When it’s time to replace appliances, choose certified energy efficient ones. Consider other measures like improving your insulation, replacing leaky windows with double paned ones, and adding solar panels or a garden. These upgrades typically pay for themselves over several years.

Take a look at the topics below to identify sustainable and resilient upgrades that fit your household.

This Page Last Updated: December 15, 2020 at 1:00 PM