Sustainability Specialist

City of Evanston Published: June 6, 2017
Job Type



This position serves as one of two staff positions in the City of Evanston Office of Sustainability and reports to the Sustainability Coordinator. The primary role of the position will be to support the operations and programming of the Office of Sustainability through data organization and analysis, office communications and engagement. The majority of the data related analysis will revolve around the City’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory, climate action planning, solid waste management and STAR Community Rating System reporting. Work also includes implementing waste reduction programming and promoting the City of Evanston’s sustainability programs and projects through social media, the City’s website, awards and community events.


The City of Evanston seeks to provide a compelling and comprehensive work experience for a self-motivated individual interested in pursuing a career in local government and sustainability. The City has a longstanding history of sustainability achievements and progress and is recognized as a national leader in the field. The Sustainability Specialist will have the opportunity to develop and lead projects, work with senior staff, collaborate with various City departments and participate in significant engagement efforts with community groups and organizations. This position will prepare the individual for a successful career in professional local government and sustainability work, provide exposure to innovative and cutting edge ideas and industry best practices, and allow opportunity to showcase talents and abilities to benefit the City and the community in lasting ways.


ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS (Specific assignment will include some or all of the following):

  • Leads data collection and analysis of the City’s annual greenhouse gas emissions inventory. Including management of the database of building sustainability performance data gathered through the City’s green building policies.
  • Develops and administers community education and outreach programs on waste reduction and recycling, including specific outreach to multi-family properties and businesses.
  • Supports Evanston’s on-going participation in the STAR Communities Rating System by conducting data collection for the Climate & Energy and Natural Systems goal areas.
  • Assists departments in implementing best practices in sustainable operations by acting as a resource and coordinating activities across and within City departments, the public and other organizations.
  • Responsible for data organization and analysis of the City’s solid waste programs and services including performance metrics, diversion rates and waste characterizations analysis.
  • Represents the City at external meetings.  May make presentations and/or represent the Office of Sustainability at meetings of City Boards and Commissions and civic or professional groups.  Required meetings may be held outside of normal business hours.
  • Conducts research studies and surveys; produces reports recommending appropriate courses of action for solutions to sustainability challenges; and, makes public presentations as needed.
  • Raises public awareness of sustainability initiatives within the City of Evanston, including the update and maintenance of Evanston’s Sustainability web pages: the City’s sustainability blog, e-newsletter, Twitter, Google Groups, etc.
  • Assists, as needed, the Sustainability Coordinator in preparation of PowerPoint presentations and supporting materials for presentation to City Council, Committee meetings, key environmental groups, and/or other special interest groups.
  • Researches, and applies for, applicable grants in order to further develop and improve the City’s sustainability initiatives.
  • Responsible for data collection and monitoring necessary to demonstrate compliance with grant requirements.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


  • Must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in natural or environmental science or education, engineering, environmental studies, sustainability studies, public policy, urban planning or a substantially similar area and must possess one (1) or more years of work experience performing research and analysis, public education and outreach, planning, or project management; OR must possess an associate’s degree in one of the above areas and must possess three (3) or more years of work experience performing the above duties.
  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities in the following areas:


  • Working knowledge of issues, laws, regulations and trends related to sustainability, including resource conservation, waste, pollution prevention, and climate adaptation and resiliency.
  • Ability to effectively use Microsoft Excel to perform complex and detailed data analysis tasks and projects.
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing; including making presentations to a variety of audiences throughout the City and community.
  • Ability to identify, analyze and problem solve, assisting departments in incorporating sustainable practices into the organization.
  • Ability to research, develop, implement and evaluate projects and programs and implement new initiatives in a seamless fashion.
  • Ability to work as part of a team to carry out the mission and goals of the City of Evanston and Office of Sustainability
  • Ability to learn City-specific software tools and programs such as New World (financial tracking and reporting), CMMSS, ArcGIS, 311 software, etc.
  • Ability to engage in innovative, creative, and resourceful thinking and strong problem solving skills
  • Ability to coordinate and monitor interns and/or volunteers, as required and provide effective project management oversight.
  • Ability to work with and relate to a diverse group of citizens from varying socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Ability to meet deadlines and accept and coordinate changes in project schedules.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with all levels of City employees, the general public, City boards and commissions, other agencies and contractors.
  • Ability to understand and effectively utilize nationally recognized rating and evaluation frameworks such as STAR Communities Rating System and LEED.

Considerable knowledge of and ability to use Internet search engines, word processing software, photo and graphic related software, email, Windows operating systems, and social media tools.

  • The ability to work in a primarily sedentary position, with the ability to occasionally use force to exert up to 10 pounds. The ability to lift, carry or otherwise move objects, books, materials, etc. using up to 25 pounds of force frequently, and/or a negligible amount of force constantly to move objects.
  • The employee is subject to inside environmental conditions: protection from weather conditions, but not necessarily from indoor temperature changes.
  • There are no environmental hazards associated with this classification.



The Sustainability Specialist reports to the Sustainability Coordinator who mentors and outlines work assignments, reviews work in progress, and assess completed work on a project specific basis. Guidance is provided via the strategic plan, City Code, City policies and procedures, applicable state and federal laws and regulations, as well as a wide variety of information relating to sustainable practices, ensuring that initiatives meet legal requirements. Works closely with all relevant departments/divisions, especially Public Works Department, Administrative Services Department and other City Manager’s Office divisions.  Work is evaluated quarterly with respect to progress toward achieving goals, leadership, communication skills, customer service, ability to work productively and effectively with employees at all levels in the organization as well as community groups, businesses, major employers and the general public.



The employee has regular and frequent contact with department and division employees and other City employees; regular contact with individual citizens and groups, including business associations; and occasional contact with elected officials.


To apply for this position, please apply online at on or before the closing date.

Chosen candidates will be required to provide proof of licenses, certifications, and education required for this position.  Candidates will also be subject to qualifying pre-employment processes, including medical examination, drug/alcohol screen, employment verification, and criminal background check.

The City of Evanston is an equal opportunity employer and ensures against discrimination in employment on the basis of a person’s race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military discharge status, source of income, housing status, or gender identity.  The City of Evanston is also committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities.  Any person needing mobility or communications access assistance should contact Human Resources at 847-448-8204 (voice) or 847-448-8052 (TTY).

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