GOING GREEN: A Resource List for Local Government Officials
Local governments have an important role in protecting and enhancing the environment.
They are engaged in a variety of activities that affect air, water and land
resources. They spend considerable funds on electricity, fuel and waste disposal.
They are also large users of resources through the purchase of goods and services.
Despite these everyday challenges, local governments are in a unique position
to be a role model for efficient and sustainable practices. Local officials
have the ability to: respond to change quickly, exercise influence within the
community, foster partnerships with local entities and participate in innovative
There are several advantages to incorporating sustainable practices into local
government operations. These include:
- Improved quality of life
- Economic savings through efficient use of energy, water and materials
- Lower waste management costs
- Increased energy security
- Enhanced public image
Recognizing these benefits, many communities in the state are implementing
a wide range of activities to address energy use, waste generation, air quality,
water consumption and land development. In many instances, these communities
are working to institutionalize “green thinking” into their day-to-day
management, planning and operational decisions. They have adopted policy statements,
formed green teams, set performance targets or developed action plans to advance
sustainability strategically within their jurisdictions.
Illinois EPA has compiled a list of technical assistance, funding opportunities,
tools and guidance to help local governments move forward with a broad sustainability
initiative or carry out specific projects.
Making sustainability a priority in local government operations does not necessarily
require exotic or costly technologies. Some of the most effective sustainability
techniques are simple changes in operating practices or equipment. Others may
require more detailed engineering or design changes, but experience has proven
that environmental and energy improvements can have relatively short payback
Climate Change Program, State and Local Governments
U.S. EPA provides
technical assistance, tools and guidance to local governments on how to quantify
greenhouse gas emissions and develop effective greenhouse gas reduction strategies.
Club, Cool Cities Campaign
Cool Cities are cities that have
made a commitment to stop global warming by signing the U.S. Mayors' Climate
Protection Agreement. The Cool Cities campaign encourages cities to implement
smart energy solutions to save money and build a cleaner future.
ICLEI – Local
Governments for Sustainability, Clean Air and Climate Protection Software
One-stop emissions management tool that allows local governments to develop
greenhouse gas emissions inventories, quantify the effect of emissions reduction
measures, predict future emissions levels and set climate protection targets.
Energy Star for Local Government
This web site provides resources for improving energy performance in municipal
buildings. This includes tools for measuring and tracking building energy use,
online trainings, financing information and case studies.
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Energy Efficiency Program
This program provides grants and rebates for local government to improve electric
efficiency. This includes building and transportation projects, such as lighting,
motors, HVAC equipment and traffic signals.
Illinois Smart Energy Design Assistance
This is a partnership between the state and University of Illinois to support
local government efforts to improve electric energy efficiency in both existing
facilities and new design. The services include technical support; education
and training; support for building codes; and database of incentive resources.
Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation
This foundation supports programs and projects that will improve energy efficiency
and develop renewable energy resources. These programs include lighting and
traffic signal upgrades; energy efficient building design and commissioning;
as well as on-site solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and wind power generation
Illinois EPA, Pollution Prevention and Energy Efficiency
This program recruits, trains and places college engineering students at businesses
and local government facilities to work on energy efficiency and waste reduction
projects during the summer. The students gain valuable experience in a work
environment, while the host facilities can save money and improve efficiency.
Wind Energy Association, Small Wind in Illinois
This site provides information specific to public policies, incentive programs
and organizational resources for installing and operating a small wind turbine
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Solar and Wind Energy Rebate Program
This program offers incentives for the public sector and others to utilize
small-scale solar and wind energy systems in Illinois.
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Biogas and Biomass to Energy Grant Program
This is a grant program for projects that will use biogas or biomass as a source
of fuel to produce electricity with combined heat and power through gasification,
co-firing or anaerobic digestion technologies.
U.S. DOE, Green Power Network
Find out which organizations offer green power in the state. This includes
utility green pricing programs, retail green power products offered in electricity
markets and renewable energy
certificate products sold separate from electricity.
Illinois EPA, Green Fleets Program
A voluntary program that recognizes the public sector and others for using
environmentally friendly vehicles to improve air quality, while promoting the
use of domestic fuels like natural gas, propane, E-85, biodiesel and electricity.
U.S. EPA, Green Vehicle Guide
Use this guide when considering the purchase of new city vehicles. The guide is updated
annually to allow you to evaluate both fuel economy and emissions for new vehicles that meet
Illinois EPA, Alternative Fuels Rebate Program
IEPA offers rebates to anyone using E85 or biodiesel fuels (20% blend or higher),
as well as acquiring vehicles that run on alternate fuels.
Illinois EPA, Clean Diesel Grant Program
This program will assist local governments in reducing diesel emissions from fleet
vehicles through diesel retrofit products, idle reduction technologies and other approaches.
Clean Air Counts
A public/private partnership to voluntarily improve air quality in the
Chicago metropolitan region.
Partners for Clean Air
A coalition of businesses, transportation organizations, health advocacy
groups and local governments committed to improving air quality and public
health in metropolitan Chicago and northwestern Indiana.
U.S. EPA Region 5, Brownfields Program
This federal program provides funding to help communities investigate and cleanup
abandoned, idle, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities that may
have environmental contamination (commonly known as “brownfields”).
Includes information about site assessments, revolving loans and environmental
Illinois EPA, Greener Cleanups
IEPA has developed a series of tools to help communities take advantage of
less-polluting, more efficient techniques in site remediation projects.
U.S. EPA, Managing Wet
Weather with Green Infrastructure
This site highlights green infrastructure techniques and practices that reduce,
capture and treat stormwater runoff at the source before it can reach the sewer
system. These strategies include green roofs, downspout disconnections, rain
harvesting/gardens, planter boxes and permeable pavement.
Illinois EPA, Nonpoint
Source Pollution Control Grant Program
Grants are available for reducing nonpoint source pollution, including stormwater
runoff, through watershed-based plans, innovative best management practices,
and education and outreach programs.
Center for Neighborhood Technology, Green
Values National Stormwater Calculator
This is a tool for comparing the performance, costs and benefits of utilizing
green infrastructure practices to manage stormwater runoff.
of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Recycling Grants Program
This program provides technical assistance and grants to governmental entities,
private businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Funds are awarded for
projects that will develop or expand recycling collection and processing efforts
Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Food Scrap Composting Revitalization & Advancement Program
This program funds projects that will divert food scraps and other organic
material (excluding yard waste ) from Illinois landfills for composting.
Illinois EPA, Medication Disposal
This is a pilot program in which IEPA is working with several communities across
the state, including county health departments and pharmacies, to provide expanded
opportunities for collecting or dropping off unwanted and expired medications.
U.S. EPA, Green Communities Assistance Kit
Developed by the U.S. EPA, this is a step-by-step guide for identifying and
resolving community needs, and planning and implementing sustainable actions
at the local level. Also identifies useful tools, case studies and other resources.
of Wisconsin Extension, Toward a Sustainable Community: A Toolkit for Local
This toolkit provides ideas and descriptions of planning activities that can
help local government officials integrate sustainability throughout a community.
An informational clearinghouse to facilitate
development and land use practices that better serve the economic, environmental
and social needs of communities. This includes a weekly e-newsletter, showcasing
best practices and tools developed across the country.
ICLEI - Local Governments
An international association of local governments
as well as national and regional local government organizations, this group
provides technical consulting, training and information services to support
sustainable development at the local level.
U.S. Conference of Mayors, Best
Details over 90 city examples of sustainability initiatives and projects, providing
summary and contact information for the staff person involved. Some cases provide
an analysis of the benefits and costs and/or the funding sources of the projects.
Government Environmental Assistance Network
The Local Government
Environmental Assistance Network is a "first-stop shop," providing
environmental management, planning, funding and regulatory information for
local government officials.