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What we do

Sustainability means taking positive, proactive steps to protect Austin's quality of life now, and for future generations and finding a balance among three sets of goals:

  1. Prosperity and jobs
  2. Conservation and the environment
  3. Community health, equity, and cultural vitality

To achieve this, we:

  • Brief and advise Department Directors, the City Manager, Boards & Commissions, the Mayor and City Council
  • Oversee and coordinate activities with departments that accomplish operational objectives sustainably, including:
    • Green purchasing
    • Energy conservation
    • Solid waste recycling
    • Green building
    • Resource and water conservation
    • Greenhouse gas reduction
    • Environmental reporting metrics.
  • Manage the Climate Protection Program and related actions to reduce the City’s carbon footprint and be more resilient to the effects of climate change. This involves the implementation of 28 building and Departmental Climate Protection Plans (which has resulted in a 75% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions since 2007).
  • Offer educational outreach on conservation and sustainability initiatives to engage the community in making sustainability a priority – at home, at work, and all around town.
  • Partner with community members, organizations, and other government agencies to establish sustainability programs and practices.

Food access in Austin

Explore this map of local fresh food resources such as farmer's markets, community and school gardens, food pantries, and urban farms.

Our mission

We protect and improve Austin's quality of life now and for future generations by leading efforts to achieve net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emission, a healthy and just local food system, and a climate-resilient and adaptive city.

Contact information


Director Headshot

Lucia Athens

Chief Sustainability Officer
City of Austin

Lucia Athens is the City of Austin’s first Chief Sustainability Officer and is recognized internationally as an authority on sustainability. Lucia began her career in public service at the City of Austin as a key member of the development team for Austin Energy’s Green Building program in the early 1990's. After 10 years leading the City of Seattle's green building program, she rejoined the City of Austin in 2010 and has successfully guided efforts to enhance Austin’s reputation as a leading green city. In 2014, Lucia represented the City of Austin at the C40 Mayors Climate Leadership Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, and facilitated the Sustainable Buildings Working Group at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. She was also a keynote speaker at The Economist’s Urban Infrastructure Summit in London.

Contact information