Sustainable approaches to providing local government services help to ensure a higher quality of life for future generations. True to its mission, Naperville’s sustainability successes have largely been achieved through many partnerships with organizations, businesses and residents. Likewise, a willingness to pursue innovative sustainable solutions has repeatedly resulted in cost efficiencies in line with the City’s sound fiscal management philosophy.
In August 2021, the Naperville City Council approved a Sustainability Workplan. A collaborative effort between City staff and the Naperville Environment and Sustainability Task Force, the Workplan will organize and guide the City’s work toward a more sustainable and resilient Naperville.
Naperville's Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fueling Station
In late 2020, the City of Naperville, along with Trillium and Groot Industries, opened Naperville’s first public compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station.
City staff first began investigating a transition from oil-based fuels to CNG, a cleaner methane that can be used in place of gasoline or diesel, in 2013. In 2018, the City agreed to lease the land as part of a long-term partnership with private CNG-provider Trillium. In return, Trillium agreed to build the station and fund the $3 million construction costs with the help of a $300,000 Drive Clean Chicago grant secured by the City in 2016. In addition, the City’s refuse and recycling contractor Groot Industries agreed to a long-term gas purchase agreement with Trillium, making the project more viable for all parties involved.
The station, which is unmanned and open on a 24-hour basis, features multiple CNG dispensers for light- and heavy-duty fueling. In addition to use by City vehicles, refuse trucks from Groot and other CNG fleets operating in and around Naperville, the station will also be available to the public. Naperville’s vehicle fleet currently includes three vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, as well as five propane, 11 electric and 16 hybrid vehicles. Groot will transition 22 of its 75 contractor vehicles from diesel fuel to CNG over the next three years, with the goal of 30 percent of its fleet running on CNG by 2022.
In December 2021, the City, Groot Industries and Trillium received Illinois Alliance for Clean Transportation's (formerly Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition) Public-Private Partnership Award for opening Naperville’s first public compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station to reduce emissions for fleet vehicles.
Update: Electric Lawn Equipment Rebate - Pilot Program Complete
With many thanks to our sustainability-minded residents, the City of Naperville concluded a very successful pilot of our Electric Lawn Equipment Rebate Program in August 2022. Within just four days, strong interest in the program resulted in residents receiving all available rebate funds.
The City is pleased to have distributed $50 rebate checks to residents who purchased a battery-powered electric lawn mower, leaf blower, trimmer, edger or manually powered reel lawn mower after July 15, then completed the application form and submitted the purchase receipt.
The new electric lawn equipment supported through this incentive is cleaner and quieter than gas-powered models. It will help decrease harmful air pollution and prevent spilled oil and gas from seeping into groundwater, polluting rivers and streams or damaging lawns and paved surfaces.
The City is celebrating the success of this pilot. Stay tuned for an announcement when more funding for electric lawn equipment rebates is available.
Have you ever thought about a rain barrel to provide a free irrigation option? Rain barrels are used to capture rainwater from your roof for reuse in watering garden spaces. Rainwater is better for plants and soil because it is free from the salts, ions and fluoride found in tap water. Just as importantly, rain barrels capture water that otherwise would run off and could harm streams and rivers.
To order a rain barrel for pick-up or delivery, visit Upcycle Products.
The City of Naperville is proud to have planted a pollination station in a plot of land above the east entrance to the lower level of the Municipal Center. This garden features a variety of native plant species that can offer a habitat for butterflies and other pollinators. This demonstration garden is a way to educate our community about the benefits of alternate landscaping options and inspire community members to learn more about this type of gardening.
Register your pollinator garden
Do you have a pollinator garden? Register your pollinator garden and upload a photo at the Pollinator Partnership Million Pollinator Garden Challenge website at https://www.pollinator.org/mpgcmap/register#form.
Earn a certification for your garden
The Conservation Foundation offers two certifications that gardeners can strive to achieve: Conservation@Home and Conservation@Work. Gardeners who meet the standards can be recognized for different plantings and practices. The residents or businesses who get certified will receive a Conservation@Home or Conservation@Work sign to place on their property for recognition of their good environmental stewardship and conservation.
Smart Thermostat Rebate
Naperville's Electric Utility is offering a $50 rebate for residential utility customers when they buy and install any smart thermostat. Visit www.naperville.il.us/thermostatrebate for more information.
City of Naperville Receives SolSmart Designation
Have you considered installing solar panels? The City of Naperville is participating in the SolSmart Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, which helps local governments reduce barriers to solar energy growth and makes it easier for homes and businesses to go solar. In 2019, the City worked with 20 other communities in the region in pursuit of SolSmart status, and on May 9, 2019, the City was pleased to receive SolSmart Silver designation.
The City of Naperville is happy to assist you by offering a streamlined permitting process and information for your consideration.
City Received the Governor's Sustainability Award
In November 2016, the City was one of 25 public and private organizations honored with the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award for its Citywide environmental sustainability efforts. Praised sustainability practices included successful and ongoing completion of 46 goals in the City’s 2010 Sustainability Plan and specific projects including the Water Leak Detection Survey, the new Household Hazardous Waste Facility that opened in early 2015, the Recycling Cart Program, the Emerald Ash Borer treatment program and the City’s plans to construct a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station, which opened in late 2020.
A Beautiful Yard without Pesticides
Studies show that use of lawn chemicals can have environmental ramifications, especially for children. The chemicals potentially can contaminate surface and groundwater, affect outdoor and indoor air quality, and threaten the health of pets and wildlife. Have you considered alternative approaches, such as:
- Leave grass clippings on the lawn to act as a natural fertilizer.
- Overseed to fill in existing bare spots in the late summer or early fall. This approach will prevent weeds from taking over these spaces in the spring.
- Aerate your soil to facilitate healthy grass growth.
- Keep your mower blade setting at least 2-3 inches tall to allow your grass to developer deeper, more drought-resistant roots.
Have you also considered using native plants in your landscaping? Join the many homeowners who have incorporated native plants into their landscapes to create beautiful outdoor spaces, invite birds and butterflies to their yards, reduce their use of water, fertilizers and pesticides and protect our rivers.
The monarch migration is truly one of the world's greatest natural wonders. Did you know that the monarch butterfly is in desperate need of habitats to lay its eggs? The City of Naperville would like to encourage residents to plant monarch waystations in their own backyards. If your monarch habitat meets or exceeds the general description of a Monarch Waystation set forth below, your habitat may be certified by Monarch Watch as a Monarch Waystation. You may also choose to purchase a weatherproof sign to display, identifying your habitat as an official Monarch Waystation. See the Monarch Waystation tips (PDF) for more information.
Looking to green up more than just your cleaning arsenal? Try the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, EWG, that reviews, rates and provides recommendations on everything from cosmetics to food and water filters: http://www.ewg.org/
And finally, what about all that junk in your storage closest, basement or garage? A perfect catch-all for the odds-n-ends questions you might have, www.dupageco.org/recycling. Earth911 also has recycling and sustainability ideas at https://earth911.com.
Holiday Lights Recycling
Holiday lights can be dropped off for recycling at the Electronics Recycling Center Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Accepted lights include mini-lights (Italian lights), C7, C9 rope and LED in all colors and lengths as well as extension cords.