Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Welcome to winter

It's the first day of winter, and by now we notice our utility bills going up. Home heating affects both our natural gas and electrical bills. The illustration published by the U.S. Department of Energy shows that heating consumes most of the energy budget for a typical home.

What can we do about it? If you are ready to replace your furnace, don't forget Nicor's rebate program.
Also, another option is Blue Star Energy, which is an interesting alternative electricity supplier, providing green energy at competitive rates.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Illinois Solar Schools

Illinois Solar Schools Grants have been announced for 2011. The deadline for submitting applications is March 24, 2011. See http://www.illinoiscleanenergy.org/site/epage/105355_949.htm This grant program has helped fund solar panel installations for educational purposes at Glenbard North and Benedictine University, according to the Web site.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Greenbuild 2010

Greenbuild returns to Chicago November 17-19, 2010. This is a premier international conference and exhibition sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council. You can find more information at http://www.greenbuildexpo.org/Home.aspx. After attending Greenbuild, we will report back on the latest trends in green building and what it could mean for Glen Ellyn.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cool Cities at Lombard seminar on environmental issues

Cool Cities participates in a Panel for the Planet seminar in Lombard. This was part of the 350.org events happening all over the world, especially on 10-10-10. This panel inlcuded a keynote speech by environmentalist and professor Fred Van Dyke of Wheaton College.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

ISEA Solar Tour October 2, 2010

There are two important take-home messages from today's Illinois Solar Tour. First, in our survey of several homes in Glen Ellyn, Lisle and Naperville, we learned that photovoltaic solar energy works just as well in Northern Illinois as it does in Florida. We also saw effective thermal solar used to make both hot water and to supplement space heating. Second, in all three communities, homeowners found that the municipal permitting process can go quite smoothly when the right information is submitted and the systems properly designed and installed. Most of the homes were not built to conserve energy, so it usually makes sense to take steps to conserve energy as much as possible before sizing a solar energy installation.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The 2010 Illinois Solar Tour is happening this Saturday, October 2. Several Glen Ellyn residences will be featured. Download and view the tour book at http://tour.illinoissolar.org/

Sunday, September 5, 2010

WTTW Dark Skies story

Debra Norvil, a Chicago area colleague associated with the Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting, was recently interviewed on WTTW's Chicago Tonight.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Landscaping with solar lighting

Tired of those lousy solar lights sold at big box retailers? Dancing Lights in downtown Glen Ellyn offers interesting alternatives. The light featured in the photo above is of higher quality, providing durability and more light. The only drawback is that the light is a bit blue. A more yellowish light would be more pleasing and have less impact on sensitive insects. Still, the solar panels do not fade, and the light is just bright enough to be functional for lighting a garden path. It is certainly a better alternative than the hard-wired lights in a number of landscaping applications. The cost is higher, but Carol Swetka, owner of Dancing Lights, assures me that I will get years of good use out of it. It looks better too!

Summer Fun

It's not too late for some warm summer and autumn "green" fun!

August 15 (Sunday) - Boating on Lake Ellyn, http://www.gepark.org/new_events.htm

August 19 (Thursday evening) - Sidewalk Astronomy on Naperville's Riverwalk, http://www.stargazing.net/naa/index.shtml

August 21 (Saturday) - Glacial Ridge Forest Preserve restoration work day (e-mail me for details)

August 28 & 29 (Saturday & Sunday) - Glen Ellyn Arts Fest, http://www.glenellynlions.org/

September 18 & 19 (Saturday & Sunday) - Vintage Illinois at Starved Rock, http://www.vintageillinois.com/

September 25 (Saturday) - Cantigny Green Fair, http://www.cantigny.org/visit/green_fair.aspx

October 2 (Saturday) - Illinois Solar Energy Tour, http://tour.illinoissolar.org/

October 16 (Satuday) - Glen Ellyn Historic Homes Tour, http://www.glenellynpreservation.org/
Photo: Elmhurst's Green Fest, July 31

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cool Cities meeting

Come to the Cool Cities meeting at Bells and Whistles Snackery, 405 North Main Street, Glen Ellyn.

This Wednesday July 20 at 7:30.

Learn what we have done and what we might be doing next. Your input is most welcomed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This week, June 12-18, is Bike to Work Week. Biking is healthy for people, the community and the planet. For details see http://www.activetrans.org/biketoworkweek

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Reading

The Glen Ellyn Public Library and the Glen Ellyn Cool Cities Coalition have produced a short list of recommended environmental reading. Stop by the library to sign up for the Summer Reading Program for 2010. Free prize drawings are offered weekly! The GEPL suggests reading in 5 categories. You pick the books you want to read (General Fiction, Mystery, Biography or Memoir, anything you've read, and New Fiction). Receive the environmental reading list as a bonus.
See http://www.gepl.org for details.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ten Thousand Villages Saves Energy

In keeping with its socially conscious values and a desire to reduce its environmental impact, Ten Thousand Villages in Glen Ellyn makes extensive use of compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs) in its store. The retail space is brightly and cheerfully lit, with a warm ambiance. This shows that CFL lighting in a retail setting need not look cold. It is essential to select bulbs with the best "color temperature" for the application. These CFL spots, which look much the same as incandescent bulbs, save the business money over time due to lower wattage requirements. CFLs are particularly well-suited in retail applications where lights are left on for long hours. The longer life of the bulbs also means less time climbing ladders to perform maintenance chores. The use of CFLs not only reduces operating costs, but reduces energy consumption for both air conditioning and lighting in the warmer months, leading to a dramatic reduction in the store's carbon footprint.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Earth Day Event at the Glen Ellyn Public Library

Join us this Thursday April 22 (7:00-8:30 p.m.) to celebrate Earth Day. Various Glen Ellyn groups will be presenting "green" activities they have undertaken, plus we will share ideas for making Glen Ellyn a more beautiful and green community. The Glen Ellyn Cool Cities Coalition will be one of the participating organizations. This event is sponsored by the Glen Ellyn Public Library. It is free, but registration is required. http://www.gepl.org/ We will provide information that will help citizens become more involved after Earth Day. Please join us for an interesting and informative evening.

Friday, April 9, 2010

April 1 Meeting a Big Success

In a full room, Debra Lazar Pearl of the Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting gave an informative lecture about outdoor lighting practices. Her lecture incorporated images of commonly seen lighting practices, highlighting both the good and the ugly. This was followed by a lively discussion about energy conservation, and "good neighbor" lighting practices. In short, the message was simple: Use only the necessary amount of light where you need it for comfort and safety. Anything else is waste.

This lecture, the first event co-sponsored by Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation and the Glen Ellyn Cool Cities Coalition, attracted Village Trustees and concerned citizens.

The Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting has more information at http://www.illinoislighting.org/

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Special Presentation on Dark Skies and Beautiful Safe Lighting

On Thursday, April 1st, Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation and Glen Ellyn Cool Cities Coalition will co-sponsor a special presentation on the environmental effect of light at night and what we can do to have beautiful, safe lighting around our streets, businesses, homes and landscapes. Debra Lazar Pearl and Debra Briggs Norvil, executive board directors of Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting, will discuss the effects of light pollution on our health and the environment, and will offer alternatives that are safer, more attractive and less wasteful.

The implications of turning night to day are not isolated, nor small. There is a large price tag not just in money, but also in human health and environmental impact. Every ecosystem, indeed all-life, has evolved to exist in an environment of half day and half night. Affected are predator and prey relationships of nocturnal wildlife, human health that includes depletion of known tumor-suppressant hormones produced when sleeping in non-darkened environments and the resulting hundreds of thousands of tons of CO2 emitted in energy production each year to light the Chicago area.

Illumination at night is an important component of our lifestyle, bringing accessibility to activities that may not otherwise be feasible. However, light that never reaches its intended target is pure waste, and light that is emitted as glare impairs vision. A simple assessment asking Where, When, and How Much – is a great first-step to enabling responsible and sustainable actions.

The presentation will cover not only some of the most common lighting practices found on main-streets today and their causal impacts, but also, by positive contrast, some of the surprising uncommon practices – that yield substantial energy savings, improved environmental conditions, and happy neighbors.

Time: Thursday, April 1st
7:30 p.m.

Place: Glen Ellyn Civic Center
Clayton Room
535 Duane Street, Glen Ellyn, IL

Free admission, coffee and brownies will be served

For more information on the Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting and the environmental and health effects of light pollution:


Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation:

Glen Ellyn Cool Cities Coalition:

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting offers and interesting symposium on March 11, 2010. As stated in its Web site, "The day will feature lectures by prominent speakers on the gamut of topics... Artificial light and the natural environment; Outdoor lighting, energy waste and sustainability; Light at night and human health; The loss of the night sky and its effects on science and society; and Illumination for safety and security. Our goal is to bring together timely information on these subjects in a forum where all our fellow Illinois citizens can learn not only more about the 'perils' which current lighting practices lighting pose, but also about the 'promises' of a future where the night is illuminated in a responsible, sustainable manner."

For additonal information, visit http://www.illinoislighting.org/symposium.html

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Community Consolidated School District 89 Makes Energy Efficiency Improvements

According to Superintendent John Perdue,

District 89 has recently completed $24.8 million in school facility renovations over the last two
summers. Many of the improvements encompassed energy efficiencies. Below is a list of energy efficiency improvements accomplished with these renovations:
• Replaced existing window systems at Glen Crest, Park View, and Westfield schools with new energy efficient window systems containing low-E glass.
• Increased the roof insulation thickness at all schools, which doubled the R value of the roof systems.
• Replaced black tar roofs at Park View and Briar Glen with highly reflected white membrane roof system to minimize heat gain.
• Replaced existing exterior light fixtures with new compact florescent exterior light fixtures District wide.
• Replaced existing interior light fixtures with new energy efficient interior light fixtures in most schools.
• Replaced high-bay gymnasium light fixtures with energy efficient fluorescent fixtures District wide.
• Installed long lasting LED light fixtures at specific locations.
• Installed building automation system, which gives the District the ability to turn off mechanical equipment and lights when building is unoccupied.
• Installed occupancy sensors in all rooms that turn off lights and mechanical equipment automatically when room is not in use.

This is the kind of improvements that Cool Cities promotes.
Photo by District 89.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sierra Club Program in Glen Ellyn

February 15, 2010 (Monday) 7:00 PM – Chill the Drills, Oil Development and Climate Change in America’s Arctic

Presented by Kit McGurn
Glen Ellyn Public Library
400 Duane St., Meeting Rooms A & B
Glen Ellyn, IL
Free and Open to the Public

The Arctic ecosystem on the North Slope of Alaska represents a microcosm of the realities that society at large faces with regard to fossil fuel dependency, climate change and the importance of protecting our last wild and pristine places. Come learn what is being done to protect this iconic American landscape and what you can do to help!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Energy Star rebates now available in Illinois

You can now purchase Energy Star appliances and obtain a rebates through the newly-launched Illinois Energy Star rebate program. During February, rebates are available through contractors for qualified water heaters, heating and cooling equipment. For the period of April 16-25, 2010, rebates are available for Energy Star dishwashers, refrigerators, and freezers.

Energy Star appliances are available through two participating downtown Glen Ellyn businesses - Young's Appliances and Soukup's Hardware. They may not be on display at Soukup's, but you can order them for fast delivery. See http://www.soukupshardware.com/products.html
Young's focuses on the higher-end models. See http://youngsappliances.brandsource.com/default.aspx

Remember, to reduce your carbon footprint, you do not want to keep the old fridge! ComEd has a program for taking your clunker away for responsible disposal, and as long as funding lasts, it will pay you $25. For details see http://www.comed.com/sites/homesavings/pages/appliancerecycling.aspx

For more details on the rebate program, see

There is so much talk of changing lightbulbs and other "easy to be green" hints, but for greater impact, start with household appliances and heating equipment.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Illinois mayors who have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement

Here is a list of Illinois mayors who have signed the U.S. Conference of Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement. Nationwide, 1016 mayors have signed so far, and the number is growing.

John Scmitt, Algonquin
Donald Sandidge, Alton
Thomas Weisner, Aurora
Mark Eckert, Belleville
Robert Lovero, Berwyn
Donald Peloquin, Blue Island
Roger Claar, Bolingbrook
Brad Cole, Carbondale
Ross Ferraro, Carol Stream
Richard Daley, Chicago
John Miller, Collinsville
Martin Maylan, Des Plaines
David Mingus, East Peoria
Gary Niebur, Edwardsville
Ed Schock, Elgin
Thomas Marcucci, Elmhurst
Lorraine Morton, Evanston
Robert Donaldson, Hazel Crest
Michael Belsky, Highland Park
William McLeod, Hoffman Estates
Richard Hofeld, Homewood
S. Michael Rummel, Lake Forest
Edwin Plaza, Lake in the Hills
William Mueller, Lombard
Jason Briscoe, Minooka
Donald Welvaert, Moline
Chris Koos, Normal
Gene Marks, Northbrook
David Pope, Oak Park
Daniel McLaughlin, Orland Park
Brian LeClerca, Oswego
Rita Mullins, Palatine
John Ostenburg, Park Forest
Howard Frimark, Park Ridge
Donald Baker, Peru
James Waldorf, Plainfield
David Blanton, Rock Falls
Mark Schwiebert, Rock Island
Kenneth Nelson, Rolling Meadows
Al Larson, Schaumburg
Kenneth Beasley, South Roxana
James Narczewski, Spring Valley
Timothy Davlin, Springfield
Laurel Prussing, Urbana
Rae Rupp-Srch, Villa Park
Robert Sabonjian, Waukegan
William Rahn, Westmont
Christopher Canning, Wilmette


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lombard becomes a Cool City

Lombard recently became the fifth DuPage County and 49th Illinois Cool City when Village President William Mueller signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, according to a Sierra Club source.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Elgin LWV Calendar

Leave it to the Elgin League of Women Voters to take a fun and creative approach to raising awareness about the serious subject of climate change. This was previously published on a Glen Ellyn LWV Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/League-of-Women-Voters-of-Glen-Ellyn/89366374662?v=info