Environmental Sustainability in Northbrook
Northbrook's Climate Action Plan
Northbrook's Climate Action Plan (CAP) is Northbrook's mission to reduce carbon emissions and foster a sustainable community for all. This is a Village-wide goal of 35% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and 80% by 2040, in alignment with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and LEED for Cities. The Village Board adopted the Climate Action Plan and established a Sustainability Commission on August 10, 2021. Learn more.
Timely Tips for Going Green: Summer 2022
Use the arrows to scroll through most recent social media posts pertaining to sustainability in Northbrook.
Have you heard that it uses more fuel to turn your engine off and on compared to letting the car idle for a short period of time? This myth has been debunked!
The US Department of Energy reports that idling for over seven seconds uses more fuel and produces more emissions that contribute to smog and climate change than stopping and restarting your engine does. So next time you’re waiting in a school pickup line or stopped in the drive-thru, please don’t idle! Poor air quality caused by tailpipe emissions can contribute to asthma in adults and especially children, whose lungs are more susceptible to damage.
West Cook Wild Ones is offering a free trade-in for Cook County residents that have invasive shrubs growing on their property! If you’re looking to replace invasive plants like Buckthorn or Barberry with a native shrub species, take photos for documentation, cut it down, and apply. Find more information and the online application here.
Interested in installing rooftop solar but don’t know where to start? The Village is partnering with the Library and Grow Solar Chicagoland to offer a virtual Solar Power Hour on Thursday, August 25, at 7pm. In this hour-long presentation you’ll learn the basics of solar, how it can save you money, and how the solar group-buy program works. At the end of the presentation, participants will be eligible to receive a free, no-obligation property assessment for a custom quote from competitively-selected solar installers. Register now!
Let’s get connected! Metra’s new $100 “Super Saver” monthly pass and $30 Regional Connect Pass are available for purchase starting today in the Ventra App and Metra ticket sales agents! Unlimited rides and connectivity services on all three systems for $130 a month (Metra, Chicago Transit Authority, and Pace Suburban Bus). Riding public transit in and around Northbrook just got easier. Learn more: https://metra.com/regional-connect-pass
Trying to conserve water this summer? These free water-saving kits from Nicor Gas offer products that can help, including low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators and a shower timer. For details or to order, visit http://nicorgas.com/.../free-products-and-services.html
Are you interested in electric vehicles? Starting today, Illinois residents can apply for a $4,000 rebate after purchasing an electric vehicle. Learn more about the program here: https://www2.illinois.gov/.../Electric-Vehicle-Rebates.aspx
Timely Tips for Going Green: Spring 2022
Growing your own food is good for your health, budget, and the environment! Join the Village of Northbrook as we begin free workshops on eco-friendly vegetable gardening, provided by local business The Organic Gardener, Ltd.
The new “Grow Northbrook” garden, located between Village Hall and Library, will educate the community on how to grow healthy and sustainable food as part of our Climate Action Plan. Leftover harvest will be sent to the Northfield Township Food Pantry.
Hands-on educational opportunities are available every other Tuesday from 2-3pm starting June 14. Register here: https://visit.northbrook.info/event/6758813
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recently issued recommendations on wild birds and a strain of avian influenza currently impacting some wild and domestic bird species. While the strain has not been detected in songbird species, IDNR recommends ceasing the use of bird feeders and bird baths through May, or until infections subside, especially those in which waterfowl may visit. It is unlikely that hummingbird or oriole feeders will contribute to the spread.
The Earth Day Recycling Event was a hit! Almost 750 vehicles turned up to drop off hard-to-recycle items: 555 gallon barrels of light bulbs, 1.5 20-yard dumpsters worth of electronics, and over 100 pounds of batteries were all diverted from landfills through the event. To add to it, the Village gave out 180 shrubs - way to grow!
Early spring is when endangered rusty patch bumblebee queens are found emerging from the underground overwintering locations in Northbrook. At this time, access to early-blooming wildflowers is important so that queen bees have enough energy to grow their colonies! The opportunity to establish beneficial insect populations (like our native bumblebees) is drastically reduced with early spring leaf litter removal and grass mowing.
That’s why at the April 12 Village Board Meeting, President Ciesla announced that up until June 1, 2022, the Village of Northbrook is suspending enforcement of the Municipal Code for excessive grass height and is permitting all residents to participate in our "No Mow" initiative to voluntarily delay mowing. This practice will allow pollinators to emerge and early-flowering grasses and forbs to establish, which may result in ground-cover exceeding the established ordinance height restrictions of eight inches. Learn more: https://www.northbrook.il.us/1056/No-Mow-May
A big thank you to everyone who attended our Earth Month Kickoff event in partnership with Somme Woods Community this past Sunday! More than fifty volunteers took part in important habitat restoration work such as invasive brush control and seeding the forest floor with rare plant species. Event participants were even able to see some forest inhabitants up close and personal- a redbelly snake and blue-spotted salamander! Let’s keep the spirit of local climate action alive throughout April - visit northbrook.il.us/1041/Earth-Month for upcoming events.
Kick off Earth Month by volunteering! Meet in the Somme Woods parking lot on Sunday, April 3, at 9am for a morning of restoration and invasive buckthorn brush-cutting. Be ready to get your hands dirty and dress appropriately. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. Village Sustainability Coordinator Tessa Murray will be providing native seed packets to event participants.
Timely Tips for Going Green: Winter 2022
Get your grow on! Plots are open at the Temple Beth-El Community Garden location, 3610 Dundee Road. Interested residents can sign up by contacting the community garden coordinator at email@example.com.
How did the Village Hall rain garden go from barren to beautiful in just one year’s time? It takes a Village! Such amazing growth would not have occurred without the helping hands of Northbrook Trustees, members of the Farmers Market, Garden Club, and GoGreen Northbrook. Check out this progress update report from Northbrook’s Sustainability Coordinator to learn more.
On 2/17 at 1pm, local conservation group Monarchs, Milkweed, and More is teaming up with Village Sustainability Coordinator Tessa Murray to present information on the endangered rusty patch bumble bee and what we can do to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the link to register for this virtual meeting.
We've all probably heard of the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle.” But have you heard about the other two “Rs”? The Five Rs are guiding principles for reducing the waste we output. A great way to “refuse, reduce, reuse” before items ever get to the “recycle” stage is through the Northbrook Free Box Facebook Group. The Free Box idea is to borrow before buying and share before selling. Post anything you'd like to give away, lend, or share among neighbors. Ask for anything you'd like to receive for free or borrow. The group page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1582898475094120
´The state recently reopened its solar funding program, in which the state provides a monetary incentive for renewable energy credits generated over a solar installation’s first 15 or 20 years of operation. Many different project types are eligible, however interested parties can only apply for funding through approved vendors. Learn more at https://www.northbrook.il.us/1032/Solar-Initatives
Although cozying up in a blanket or snuggling with the family pet are some of the ways to stay warm, another way is with Nicor Gas free weatherization kits! Nicor customers can order up to two free kits today to seal any air leaks that could be creating a chill and costing you on your heating bill. https://bit.ly/2P9Wbf1
Northbrook is grateful to partner with ComEd for participation in their Energy Efficiency Program! The Village received incentives incentives to complete LED fixture and light conversions at four Village facilities. This will reduce the Village’s kilowatt hour usage by an estimated 548,863 kilowatt hours per year, which is equivalent to 84.6 passenger vehicles being taken off the road!
In addition to energy savings from the increased efficiency, the new LED lights will also be set to dim themselves down automatically based on detection of motion activity or if there is enough natural light coming in through the windows.
ComEd’s Energy Efficiency Program, which is funded in compliance with State law, offers incentives, rebates, discounts and recycling opportunities to assist customers in conserving energy and saving money as a result. See resident or business discounts online: www.comed.com/WaysToSave
During the month of January, recycle your organic holiday tree by placing it at the curb on your recycling day. Remove all lights, garland, and decorations, and make sure your tree is easily accessible at the curb.
Please note that dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in your home or garage or be placed outside against your home.
Looking for a sustainable way to get rid of old or broken toys? Northbrook offers used toy recycling bins in the lobby of Village Hall at 1225 Cedar Lane. Accepted items are anything used for play, including electronic toys. This includes toy pieces, game boards, packaging from board games, books with sound, handheld electronic games and players, remote control vehicles, electronic stuffed animals, building sets, and stuffed animals. Terracycle separates materials for refurbishing and reuse.
UPDATE: Our toy recycling program has reached capacity and is no longer available. Thanks to all who contributed!
The Northbrook Public Library solidified its commitment to sustainability through adopting Northbrook's Climate Action Plan! Located in the lobby across from the elevators, you can drop off the following items to recycle next time you’re visiting:
Empty snack & candy wrappers
Unusable pens, pencils, markers, and glue sticks
Used toothbrushes, empty toothpaste tubes & dental floss containers
Are you twiddling your green thumb looking for an opportunity to get outside as winter sets in? The colder months are a great time of year to tackle invasive buckthorn that is a large threat to our native ecosystem. Get involved with Somme Woods Community restoration workdays, or learn about buckthorn identification and control procedures in your own backyard at http://ow.ly/PvsR30rAtbt
While waiting to pick up food or goods from Northbrook businesses, remember to turn off your vehicle's engine. Idling produces harmful emissions that contribute to smog and climate change. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than stopping and restarting your engine!
Timely Tips for Going Green: Fall 2021
Did your cat mistake your holiday lights for a toy again? Don't throw the lights in the trash! Bring any busted, broken, or burnt out holiday lights to the Village for recycling starting tomorrow, December 1, through January 31. Lights can be dropped off in the Village Hall lobby on weekdays from 8:30am-4:30pm, at the Fleet Maintenance Garage behind Village Hall on weekdays from 7am-3pm, or during regular Electronics Recycling events on the first Tuesday and Saturday of the month.
Looking for ways to save water and money? Check your toilets for silent leakage! The Northbrook Water Department recommends the following “color check” method… open the toilet tank, drop a dye tablet or some food coloring in, and wait 15 to 20 minutes. When you return, look in the toilet bowl, not the tank. If you see colored water, then you have a leak.
On Native American Heritage Day, we celebrate the original stewards of lands in Northbrook, the Potawatomi tribe. The Potawatomi teach their children about the "Seven Grandfather Teachings" of wisdom, respect, love, honesty, humility, bravery, and truth toward each other and all creations. Pictured is small white leek, which is used in the traditional cuisine of the Potawatomi and grows in Northbrook’s natural areas.
A great way to connect with nature and help our environment is to shrink your lawn space, plant natives, and leave the leaves to allow wildlife habitat. Stop by the Northbrook Public Library lobby for free milkweed seed packets and information on fall native planting for pollinators! Seed packets are available while supplies last.
The Smash was a hit At last Sunday’s Northbrook Pumpkin Smash at Northbrook Court, we composted a grand total of 4.61 tons of pumpkins! Gourd job, Northbrook
Did you know that red solo cups are type 6 plastic and therefore not recyclable? Waste Management’s single stream recycling service accepts plastic types 1-5. Make sure to check the number on plastics before throwing these items away. Better yet, try to avoid buying disposable plastics and opt for reusable or compostable alternatives instead!
October 6 is Energy Efficiency Day Today we are reminded that being smarter about using electricity and natural gas to reduce wasted energy can deliver significant results. Not only does it help the climate by reducing our electric consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, it also lowers your energy costs each month.
You can read more on how to save at http://energyefficiencyday.org/ways-to-save-on-your-next.../ or receive a free home energy assessment including free ENERGY STAR ® products here: comed.com/WaysToSave/ForYourHome/Pages/SingleFamily.aspx
Scientists report that land use change and global warming are driving a sharp decline in bug populations: this threatens agricultural production and our entire ecosystem. Don’t let your yard be a part of the problem, let it be a part of the solution!
Leaving the leaves on the ground of your yard allows for butterflies, bees, and many other animals to survive winter. It helps maintain nutrient-rich, productive soil for your plants and trees as well. Any leaves on the hardscape can be put in garden beds or composted.
If you must, use a lawn mower to mulch leaves directly into turf grass. The smaller leaf bits will allow sunlight to keep grass growing and provide free fertilizer when microbes and worms get to work recycling them
Greenest Region Compact
When Northbrook signed on to the Greenest Region Compact in September 2018, the Village agreed to achieve green goals in collaboration with other municipalities across the Chicagoland region. Through the Greenest Region Corps, Northbrook receives an Americorps volunteer to serve our community as a Sustainability Fellow. With the GRC agreement, the Village tracks progress in 10 key sustainability areas:
In 2013, the Village and Northbrook Park District partnered to create the Strategic Sustainability Plan, which outlines improvements and initiatives in energy, material management, natural resources, community development and transportation for a more sustainable future.