Green Steward Spotlight

Program Overview

Northbrook is a committed partner to improving the environment and encouraging sustainable practices. To this end, the Village recognizes the importance of government, community members, and businesses working together. Since 2018, the Village has awarded leadership annually through the Green Business and Green Resident Awards. 

The Village appreciates our community's sustained commitment to the climate issues and solutions. In 2021, Environmental Quality Commissioners recommended the Green Steward Spotlight as an alternative to the Green Awards program to extend recognition of community members’ sustainable practices through a year-round communications initiative.

Submissions Welcome

Interested individuals must submit the following information electronically by emailing with the subject line "Green Steward Submission".  

Only attach supporting images to this email that you are comfortable being shared widely on Village communications platforms. In a Word document, please include:

1) Name

2) Address

3) A summary of the sustainable practices incorporated into your daily life and operations.

4) Outcomes of these actions (ex: reduction in landfill contribution, monetary savings, reduction in carbon footprint). 

5) What you think everyone should know or could learn from your green initiatives. 

Village staff will review submissions, maintain a log on this webpage, and occasionally post spotlights to Northbrook’s social media channels to foster a community where members can celebrate and learn from each other’s achievements in environmentalism. 


2022 Green Stewards


Sarah Sanford with Go Green Northbrook 

Northbrook resident Sarah Sanford led Go Green Northbrook as president for three years and served as Board Member since 2015. During her time as President, Sarah has shown tireless energy, passion, and commitment to the work of Go Green Northbrook. From vermicomposting to energy efficiency tips, she educates our community on how to make impactful changes for the planet and future generations. She has been instrumental in expanding community outreach and support of Northbrook's Climate Action Plan. Thank you Sarah for your leadership and service to our Northbrook Community. 

Rose Jurczewski with Courts of Northbrook Townhomes Association

CN Pond PictureCourts of Northbrook Townhomes Association has been maintaining and upgrading their pond for several years. It began with the installation of natural rocks to create a rip rap barrier around the entire pond to assist in soil erosion, planting of native planting to assist in runoff into the water which is a pass through from Unincorporated Northfield to Northbrook Mall. They recently installed a diffuser system at the bottom of the pond to assist in clarifying the water due to the contaminants from construction from the pond that feeds into ours.

Thanks to the assistance of professional contractors, they have been able to reduce the use of chemicals to maintain an algae free pond for homeowners to enjoy as well as stabilize the pond to avoid additional expenditures if dredging was needed.  

Soil erosion is the number one issue with manmade ponds. As the water hits the bank is creates a void in the soil if there is nothing helping support it. Creating a rock wall is a great way to control the erosion and well as planting native plantings to help bring nature and color for everyone to enjoy. Although not both are needed for soil erosion control one of these options should always be used  to keep your pond stabilized.  

2021 Green Resident Award

The Kaminsky Family

The Kaminsky family built two raised garden beds from the ground up that produced over 1000 pounds of fruits and vegetables in one season. By recycling, growing their own food, and using a tumbler compost bin as fertilizer, their landfill contribution is only 1 bag per week for a family of 5! Join us in congratulating the Kaminskys: your family’s hard work yields fruitful outcomes, and is an inspiring demonstration of how to grow your own healthy food and reduce waste. 


2021 Green Business Award

Northbrook Park District

Throughout the Northbrook Park District, a variety of sustainable measures are taken both on a daily basis and with larger capital projects. Some of their most notable achievements include the Net Zero Energy building constructed at Techny Prairie Activity Center, the planting of 446 new trees within 2020-2021, and responsible land and water management of over 500 acres of open space throughout the Village. Use the arrows to scroll through the District's accomplishments below.


The District is responsible for stewardship of over 500 acres of open space throughout Northbrook. The Northbrook tree canopy has grown in number and diversity over the past year due to the District’s ongoing planting efforts, with 446 new trees planted throughout 2020 and 2021. Monarch butterfly gardens and milkweed planting locations have been installed in several parks. Prescribed burns are conducted annually in various open space areas throughout the District to help support healthy growth of the native landscape while preserving biological diversity.  To improve air quality and decrease emissions, the District is purchasing battery-operated grounds equipment such as blowers and string trimmers to reduce the emissions from gas-powered equipment. Particularly stellar examples of the Park’s sustainable land management include:

  • Heritage Oaks Golf Club has been certified for its achievements in environmental sustainability by Audubon International.
  • At Techny Prairie Activity Center, no-mow areas have been employed to reduce the use of gas-powered machinery and chemical maintenance. Special care was taken to preserve the root systems of two of the property’s oldest American Linden trees with the use of specialized Cornell University structural soil.
  • On the West Fork of the North Branch of the Chicago River, the Park District restored an old farm field and created ecological habitat with a restored prairie and two wetlands.


Water conservation is achieved through the installation of timed water faucets to reduce waste. In addition, rain-gauge irrigation controls are retrofitted to shut off sprinkler systems when it is raining. Rain gardens have been installed in several park areas and bioswales have been added in the new parking lots at Techny Prairie Activity Center (TPAC) and Heritage Oaks Golf Club (HOGC). In addition, expanded pond areas and permeable pavers at HOGC assist with stormwater management, including retention and reuse, on the property. Renovations at Northbrook Sports Center Pool have resulted in the conservation of 1,966,000 gallons of water since the project’s completion in 2017.


Throughout the District, energy is saved by utilizing LED lighting, Building Automation Systems, and no-idling procedures. As well, the Northbrook Park District is the second park district in Illinois with a Net Zero Energy building: the Techny Prairie Activity Center has 833 photovoltaic (solar) panels on the roof which will produce more energy than the building needs to operate. The following design components were utilized to reduce greenhouse gases, energy consumption and the building’s overall carbon footprint:

  • HVAC and mechanical systems with the highest efficiency ratings
  • Airtight construction and increased polyisocyanurate insulation
  • High-performance windows with low-emissivity coating and triple-pane, argon gas-filled insulated glass
  • Strategically placed windows on the north and south walls to maximize ambient light
  • LED lighting with occupancy and light level sensors in the building and parking lots


  • Recycling is conducted at every facility – in public areas and at every workstation
  • Recycling containers are located in every park along with additional containers provided at our special events and at sports fields
  • Wood chips generated from tree removal are reused for tree and shrub bed mulch
  • Paper towel use is reduced through the use of air dryers in restrooms
  • Lawn furniture made of 100% recycled milk jugs at Heritage Oaks Golf Club
  • Recycled materials include:
  1. Plastics
  2. Paper/cardboard
  3. Light fixture ballasts and batteries
  4. Fluorescent light bulbs (bulb eater machine)
  5. Vehicle battery cores
  6. Motor oil


2020 Green Business Award

Northbrook Court - Winner!

Over the past several years, Northbrook Court has aggressively pursued efforts in sustainability. In addition to being recognized by the Institute of Real Estate Management as a Certified Sustainable Property, Northbrook Court has achieved great strides in energy conservation, renewable energy, waste diversion, and water conservation. A notable highlight is a drastic reduction in electricity consumption from 16 million kilowatt hours in 2010 to 7 million in 2019. The facility also completed a roof solar installation in January of 2019 and is now generating 1,300,000 kilowatt hours of carbon-free electricity generated annually. They average 150 tons of cardboard waste diverted from landfills and recycled annually and also installed a closed loop fountain re circulation system reducing water consumption by over 50% annually.

Northbrook Court’s achievements in a variety of environmental categories is nothing short of impressive. The Environmental Quality Commission reviewed the application and unanimously selected Northbrook Court as the 2020 Green Business Award recipient.

2020 Green Resident Award

Aaron and Jenny Stash - Winners!

The Stash’s identified various sustainability aspects of their LEED Platinum home ranging from high insulation, low-flow plumbing, energy star appliances, and bamboo flooring. Additionally, the Stash’s recently installed 39 solar panels to the roof of their home and made the purchase of an Electric vehicle.

Naraharisetty and Seshulaxmi Rao- Winners!

The Rao’s identified multiple little actions that add up to living an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Their actions include recycling plastic bags, light bulbs, electronics, and product containers. The Rao’s also compost at their home, avoid paper goods, and save water through conservation practices and by installing a rain barrel.

Applications for the 2020 Green Resident Award were reviewed by the Environmental Quality Commission. This year the Commission selected two (2) winners to emphasize that there is a broad range of things you can do to help the Environment. There is value in big and small actions, and even small, everyday actions are worth highlighting. Through the example actions of this year’s winners, the Commission seeks to promote sustainability actions at all levels and competencies. After a thorough review of the Green Resident Award applications, the Environmental Quality Commission unanimously selected Aaron and Jenny Stash, as well as Naraharisetty and Seshulaxmi Rao as recipients of the 2020 Green Resident Award.

2019 Green Business Award

Shred Spot - Winner!

Shred Spot is a paper shredding business that recycles the paper it shreds. The company also recycles shipping pallets, electronics, and cardboard. In total Shred Spot recycled 269 tons of paper, 4.5 tons of electronics, and 15 tons of cardboard, as well as reusing/ recycling 1,200 shipping pallets during 2019. Among the benefits that Shred Spot has contributed to the environment were saving the equivalent of more than 4,500 trees, saving 1.8 million gallons of water from being used, preventing 822 cubic yards of material from going to landfills, and saving 158,000 pounds of air pollution from being generated.

Shred Spot’s business has helped to divert materials from landfills, reduce prospective air pollution, and save trees with the reclamation of materials, thereby contributing to the environment in a positive way. The Environmental Quality Commission reviewed the application and unanimously selected Shred Spot as the 2019 Green Business Award recipient.

2019 Green Resident Award

Applications for the 2019 Green Resident Award were reviewed by the Environmental Quality Commission. Four noteworthy applications are highlighted below:

Anna and Andrew Pawlowski - Winners!

The Pawlowskis identified numerous sustainable energy efficiency actions they have taken, including but not limited to using Energy Star rates appliances, relying on ceiling fans and open windows in lieu of running the air conditioner, planting trees to help shade their home and reduce cooling costs, utilize LED bulbs, adding addition insulation to their home, utilizing power strips for electronics to reduce electricity usage, and using public transportation and driving electric vehicles to reduce use of fossil fuels. After a thorough review of the Green Resident Award applications, the Environmental Quality Commission unanimously selected Anna and Andrew Pawlowski as the inaugural recipients of the Green Resident Award.

Anna Pawlowski recommends reading “Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste” by Bea Johnson and watching the award winning documentary “Plastic Paradise – The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”.

Aaron and Jenny Stash

The Stash’s also identified numerous sustainability efforts they have undertaken; Most salient of these is the construction of a LEED platinum home. In conjunction with this, the Stash’s have high levels of insulation, utilize LED lights in their home, have low flow plumbing fixtures, use Energy Star rated appliances, and are seeking the addition of 39 solar panels on their roof.

Lawrence and Marc Seeger

The Seegers’ application detailed their efforts to collect litter at Williamsburg Park and along the basin behind Northbrook Court and recycling the materials from their collections. As they state in their application, their efforts have helped keep the area safe, fresh, clean, and green. Special shout out to the Seegers for actively reducing harmful impacts of litter on wildlife!

Jonathan and Rachel Laven

The Lavens outlined in their application their sustainable energy efficiency efforts including the installation of solar panels on the roof of their home, using 2 electric vehicles, using high efficiency furnaces, and they are currently pursuing a Tesla Powerwall.

2018 Green Business Award

Exact Blade Knife Sharpening and Cutlery Store - Winner!