The city of South Portland has hired its first environmental sustainability coordinator to oversee and promote municipal efforts to “go green.”

Julie Rosenbach was selected from 135 applicants representing 28 states and five countries, said City Manager Jim Gailey.

Rosenbach has been the sustainability manager at Bates College in Lewiston for eight years. Before that, she was a waste reduction specialist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C.

“Julie possesses the right skills, knowledge and work ethic that we need here in South Portland,” Gailey said Tuesday in a news release.

He said “college-university systems are far ahead of most in the world” in implementing sustainability practices and that bringing on a talent such as Rosenbach “will only strengthen the City Council’s and staff’s goals in becoming a leader in sustainable practices in the state of Maine.”

Rosenbach will start the full-time position March 9.

During her time at Bates, Rosenbach developed the college’s first five-year sustainability and climate-action plans and helped to increase campus recycling from 23 percent to 40 percent. She also led campus renewable energy initiatives, including solar, thermal, biodiesel and biomass programs, and developed a “green” certification program for faculty and students. Plus, she has been a lecturer in the college’s environmental studies program.

“I’m excited to join an amazing team of people dedicated to making South Portland a great city,” Rosenbach said. “I look forward to building on notable accomplishments and helping our community grow more sustainable and resilient.”

Hiring a sustainability coordinator is the latest step in the city’s accelerated effort to reduce its carbon footprint. In November, the City Council approved a Municipal Climate Action Plan that already has resulted in the expansion of the city’s fleet of electric cars and public charging stations. Other recent improvements include solar panels on public buildings and sewage treatment plant improvements to reduce energy use.

In 2007, the council passed a sustainability resolution and signed onto the U.S. Mayors Climate Action Agreement, pledging to reduce greenhouse gases produced by city departments by 17 percent within a decade. That year, municipal operations produced an estimated 10,100 metric tons of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change.