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.
Leaf Blower Regulations Working Group
The Village of Northbrook, along with neighboring municipalities, participates in a Leaf Blower Working Group to study the impacts of gas-powered leaf blowers, alternative technologies, and how communities can mitigate the impacts of these devices. Click here for more details.
Timely Tips for Going Green: Winter 2023
Save the planet and save money on energy costs!
Families can take advantage of a host of new tax credits that can save them up to 30% off on new solar panels, heat pumps, insulation, windows, doors, and more! Stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and do it all with help from the US Department of Energy.
Over-salting sidewalks is a waste of resources and harmful to the environment. Salt can run off and enter the water environment and impact aquatic life.
1. Shovel first. Salt should only be used after the snow is removed and only in areas needed for safety.
2. Size matters. More salt does not mean more melting. A 12-ounce coffee mug of salt should be enough for a 20-foot driveway or 10 sidewalk squares.
3. Spread. Distribute salt evenly, not in clumps. Clumped salt is wasted salt!
4. Sweep. If salt is leftover on the ground after the ice melts, then too much salt was used. Sweep up leftover salt to keep it out of local rivers and streams.
January 5 is National Bird Day! Northbrook is lucky to receive visitors from beautiful and rare birds due to our mature tree canopy and forest preserves. A great way to celebrate birds is to volunteer with the Somme Woods Community for ecological restoration. They host volunteer events almost every day – even during the winter months. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Bring any burnt out or unwanted holiday lights to the Village for recycling 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.
From Tuesday, December 27 until Friday, January 6, Waste Management will place a dumpster in the Fleet Maintenance Garage (1227 Cedar) parking lot behind Village Hall. This dumpster is for cardboard only. If the dumpster is contaminated with other materials, the cardboard will be taken to the landfill as “contaminated” recycling. Please flatten all cardboard before emptying it into the dumpster. Residents are responsible for removing items from their vehicles.
During the month of January, recycle your organic holiday tree, wreaths, and garland 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.
Keep an Eye Out: Updates from MC Squared Energy. During the week of December 19, 2022, MC2 will mail letters to roughly 2,000 households. Letters will be sent to those that recently moved to Northbrook, or now qualify for the program based on electricity use patterns. If you receive an opt-out letter, no action is necessary, and you will be automatically enrolled in the program. MC2 will not solicit door to door or initiate a phone call about this matter. Do not give your ComEd bill to anyone at your door. Call MC Squared Services at (855) 697-0286 for more details.
Looking to dispose of the packaging from your holiday purchases? The Village has you covered! If you cannot find ways to repurpose the materials yourself, see below for a Northbrook specific guide on the “do’s and don’ts” of disposal for common package types.
As your holiday gatherings begin, see below for tips on how to recycle your gift wrapping! Gift wrap is only recyclable when it is made of 100% paper. To determine whether your gift wrapping is coated with plastic, try a rip test. If you can’t easily rip through the paper, then it is most likely made with plastic. If it does rip easily then it is probably glossy paper, and can be disposed of through regular recycling collection.
Timely Tips for Going Green: Fall 2022
Are your Jack-O-Lanterns no longer looking gourd-geous? Don’t send them to the landfill! This spooky season, stop by the Village’s Pumpkin Smash event on Sunday, November 6, from noon-3pm at Northbrook Court's parking lot. Community members can toss pumpkins for composting, play games, meet some creepy crawlers, and learn about the benefits of organic waste recycling. Snacks will be provided.
Are you uncertain about what is recyclable and where to recycle it? When done properly, recycling helps to conserve resources and protect the environment.
At the October 19 “Recycle Right” webinar, representatives from Waste Management and the Village of Northbrook will provide information and answer your questions. Register now: https://visit.northbrook.info/event/6716457
Timely Tips for Going Green: Summer 2022
Use the arrows to scroll through most recent social media posts pertaining to sustainability in Northbrook.
The Village has launched a voluntary Lights Out Northbrook campaign where community members commit to leaving their lights off after 11pm each night from now until November 15. Participants will receive a free native seed packet by registering with the Village Sustainability Coordinator.
This movement is part of a larger effort to protect the rare migratory birds that pass through Northbrook during fall, such as the ones pictured. Researchers believe that exterior lights on buildings confuse the navigation systems of birds leading them to circle buildings repeatedly and die of exhaustion or collision.
Email email@example.com with your address to collect your free native seed packet. Call 847-664-4134 with any questions.
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
Electricity prices have increased significantly within Illinois over the past year due to higher wholesale fuel supply costs, regional power plant retirements, and increased demand. Beginning June 2022, consumers across the state will see higher electricity supply-based costs reflected in their utility rates.
ComEd rates are estimated to increase approximately 15 to 25 percent from the previous year. Click the following link to view ComEd's current rates and tariffs: https://www.comed.com/.../pages/currentratestariffs.aspx
If you are part of the municipal aggregation purchasing program, the rate that you pay is equal to the monthly ComEd published tariff rates. There is no risk of paying more than you would otherwise pay as a ComEd customer.
Want to save money on your ComEd bill and support local renewable energy? Check out the Village’s community solar program!
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.
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.