The Mill River Park Collaborative was created in a 20-year long mission to improve the quality of life in Downtown Stamford. What was once a flooding prone area that was cut off to citizens is now a beautiful public park. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and City of Stamford removed two concrete dams that allowed the river to flow freely for the first time since the 1600s. One of the ecological components of the Mill River Greenway Master Plan was to capitalize on the potential for increased biodiversity that would result from the removal of the dam, helping to create a variety of habitats to support native wildlife communities. Working closely with bio-habitat ecologists, riffles, pools, and meanders were recreated to mimic the natural morphology of the river. A robust palette of native trees, shrubs, grasses, and forbs were planted to stabilize the river’s edge and to provide food, habitat and nesting places for wildlife. The reintroduced floodplain offers crucial salt marsh habitat in the heart of an urban metropolis—anadromous fish, migrating from salt to fresh water, have been granted passage to the watershed; 1,200 river herring have returned to spawn for the first time in 360 years; an open tidal exchange welcomes amazing diversity on land as well as in water. A refuge for other species resulted from the design of a variety of riparian edge conditions and water depths. In 2015, Mill River Park and Greenway received the Design Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects. This prestigious award confirmed the parks intelligent design and commitment to ecological protection.
In 2017, Mayor David Martin announced an initiative that replaced fluorescent light bulbs for energy efficient LED bulbs in the city's 15 public schools, as well as the Stamford Government Center. The project will reduce electricity consumption in the 16 buildings by 20 percent, according to the city. About 5.7 million fewer pounds of carbon dioxide will be generated each year, the equivalent of removing more than 500 cars from the road and it is expected to save nearly $900,000 annually in electricity costs. The project was a part of the Stamford Energy Improvement District and is one of multiple projects that will help the city not only save money but reduce our global footprint. The Energy Improvement District works to create small power grids that help alleviate the high costs of electricity and gas through the installation of solar panels and biofuel converters. Stamford based Framework LLC, and Darien based Greenworks Lending help businesses become more eco-friendly through consulting and providing long-term loans that always result in a profit for the business in the long run.
Stamford is home to many LEED certified buildings including the Stamford Hospital, Rodgers International School, JM Wright Tech, 100 Washington Blvd, 333 Ludlow St, and Metro Green Terrace apartments. Metro Green Terrace is a pioneering mixed-income project that is also LEED certified. The building features Energy Star appliances, water-conserving fixtures, non-invasive native plants, high-efficiency HVAC equipment, and a high-performance building envelope that insulates better. Since its development, many other buildings have upgraded their current systems to be more ecologically friendly and new buildings have been built to similar standards.
Stamford is also home to the world headquarters of the non-profit Keep America Beautiful, which is the largest community improvement organization in the United States. Keep America Beautiful works to restore public spaces after natural disasters, educate the community about the litter prevention, and increase the success rate of recycling. Other environmental organizations include Sustainable Stamford, the Stamford Environmental Protection Board, and the Stamford 2030 District.