Council: Naperville’s officially ‘Cool’

<p>File Photo</p>

File Photo

Naperville is already green. Now the hue has been provided with fade protection.

With most of the parameters already met in current practices, the City Council recently signed on unanimously to the Sierra Club’s Cool Cities initiative, essentially agreeing to stay the course on its environmentally sound policies.

Council members in their Feb. 18 business meeting asked for clarification that the city won’t face imposition of new regulations or expectations as a designated Cool City, a status already established in most of the surrounding communities.

Stephanie Hastings, president of Naperville for Clean Energy and Conservation, addressed potential concerns about the move creating new mandates calling for additional spending or staff time.

“I want to emphasize that the Cool Cities program is a resolution to strive,” said Hastings, who brought the proposal to the council in November. “There are no hard and fast targets or deadlines. It is just an agreement to continue down the path that the city is currently on, and just to recommit to that path.”

The city is no stranger to environmental commitment. Residents have had access to recycling services in the community since 1971. Nearly a decade ago, a program was launched to update more than 5,000 traffic signal lamps with LED lamps, which cut the energy requirement for the municipality’s traffic lights by more than 90 percent. Among the many other pieces of its Environmental Sustainability Plan, adopted in June 2010, are a greenhouse gas inventory, the city’s acclaimed renewable energy program, a push toward downsizing many of the 500-plus city vehicles, water conservation measures and use of refurbished and recycled products where they make sense.

Questioned by Councilman Dave Wentz about idling restrictions for city vehicles, Public Works Director Dick Dublinski said the city’s fuel conservation plan addresses the practice with an eye on both saving fuel and reducing pollution.

“We track fuel usage of every vehicle,” said Dublinski.

Consideration is being given to adding automatic vehicle locators, he said. The devices give a more detailed picture of idling and fuel consumption, to more of the fleet. The Public Works Department already has the locators in more than 100 vehicles in its fleet.

In supporting the Cool Cities program, Naperville joined a local lineup that includes Aurora, Bolingbrook, Carol Stream, Lombard, Oswego, Plainfield and Warrenville. More than 500 cities nationwide have signed onto the program. In 2012, DuPage County became the first to commit to the state Sierra Club’s Cool Counties initiative. Joliet has been declared a Cool City, but the Will County Board last year split down party lines on joining the initiative’s county counterpart.

Details about Naperville’s environmental policies can be found at www.naperville.il.us/envirosustain.aspx.

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