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City of Elgin Sustainability Action Plan

The City of Elgin recognizes the importance of altering its practices to reduce costs, environmental impact and promote community participation.

Elgin has installed light-emitting diode (LED) traffic signals, LED street lights, installed traffic calming devices and created a pedestrian friendly downtown. Elgin provides pharmaceutical recycling, residential recycling, and hazardous waste disposal. Elgin promotes rain barrels, composting and is home to community gardens and farmer’s markets. Elgin has reduced its road salt usage, uses bio-diesel, reduced its fleet size and purchased several hybrid vehicles. The city has upgraded facility lighting, provides electric vehicle charging stations, redeveloped brownfields and has begun more sustainable procurement practices.

Elgin has adopted a bikeway master plan, water master plan, parks master plan, conducted two transit 

oriented development studies and has a draft urban forestry master plan. The city offers grant programs for residents and businesses for efficiency upgrades and requires that neighborhood improvement grants have a sustainable focus.

Elgin has hosted several sustainability conferences including the 2010 Sustainable Governance Conference, 2011 Greentown, a National Brownfield Association workshop and the Elgin Climate Change Organization’s Green Expo.

Yet, despite these accomplishments, there is a desire among Elgin residents to do more.

To that end citizen volunteers have developed a sustainability action plan consisting of one hundred and eight recommendations to be completed over the next several years. These recommendations cover a wide array of topics from green infrastructure to economic development.

View Sustainability Action Plan

Green Elgin Businesses

Sherman Hospital Lake - It's more than just a lake.

It's an energy-producing, stress-reducing geothermal lake that heats and cools the hospital, saving an estimated $1 million in energy costs per year. Since this 15-acre wonder is a big deal--it's the largest geothermal system in Illinois, and one of only 2 currently heating and cooling medical centers in the US.

Sherman was awarded a $400,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for its geothermal lake for setting a "green" benchmark for how hospitals and large institutional energy users can heat and cool facilities in an environmentally friendly way. Sherman was also awarded $956,000 from the US Department of Energy for the lake for promoting America's energy security through reliable, clean, and affordable energy.

Judson University Harm A. Weber Academic Center

Judson University’s Construction of its new Harm A. Weber Academic Center integrates such green features as natural ventilation, natural light and sustainable energy circulation. It expects to reduce operational fossil fuel costs by 50%. The building has been designed to meet the standards of the U.S. Department of Energy high-performance buildings and expects to earn a LEED silver rating by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings and promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Elgin Academy Media, Science and Fine Arts Center

Elgin Academy’s new 42,300 sq.-0ft. Media, Science and Fine Arts Center construction has been designed to attain a “Gold Level” LEED Certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. Elgin Academy launched the Harold D Rider Family Media, Science, and Fine Arts Center with an explicit goal of creating a high performance building to serve their students and the larger community. Research demonstrating the value of daylight and fresh air to support student learning, coupled with a desire to have a building that would serve the school well into the future led Headmaster John Cooper to the US Green Building Council’s LEED® rating system. Dr. Cooper recognized that the benchmark that LEED provides would help ensure a building that met the school’s goal for a facility that was energy and resource efficient in addition to blending well with the existing campus architecture and the surrounding community.

An exciting element of a school and community performance building striving for this level of environmental leadership is the educational opportunity. Student science classes will have a living laboratory to understand material science, the physics of thermal mass and related energy dynamics, and the many ways that sustainable building represents a better understanding of the ecology and context of the site. Solar panels, wind turbines and a vegetated roof will allow students to investigate these newer technologies. An informational kiosk and signage will expose community members attending performances in the building to the new ideas about our built environment that the building demonstrates.

THE National Bank

THE National Bank has opened a new facility on Elgin's west side at 3151 US Highway 20, near Nesler Road. The 11,000 square foot, two story building, which was designed to be a sustainable, environmentally conscious building, serves as a bricks and mortar example of THE National Bank's environmental commitment and demonstrates the value of building green to the community-at-large.

DLA Ltd., project architect, designed the building to be LEED registered, with a certification goal of Gold. As of the facility's grand opening, there were no new financial institutions that have been recognized as LEED Gold certified, making THE National Bank a leader in sustainability.

The Grand Victoria Foundation

The Grand Victoria Foundation encourages its grant recipients to utilize sustainable design principles. Their own tenant build-out showcases how green design can be successfully accomplished. The project is LEED® Silver certified.

Elgin Area Chamber

Being more sustainable is looking comprehensively at buildings from the mechanical systems down to the chemical makeup of cleaning supplies. The City of Elgin has partnered with the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce and architecture firm DLA Architects to do just that. Throughout summer 2011 the Chamber of Commerce building went through a “green assessment.” This assessment has identified opportunities for improving the energy performance of the building through its envelope, building systems and infrastructure, improving the indoor environment for both living and working. The assessment will also propose façade recommendations to restore the building back to its historical roots.

Elgin Area Chamber

In early May 2011, through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Public Sector Electric Efficiency program, a lighting upgrade was completed at the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce building, 31 S. Grove Ave. The project cost just over $12,000 and was 75% funded by the State. The lighting retrofit consisted of the replacement of 169 T12 fixtures with higher efficiency T8 fixtures. Since the retrofit the building has seen an average electricity reduction of 28% per month.