By Logan Walrath for SUST 210 online
Around this time last year, Schaumburg was acknowledged as a “cool city” by the Illinois Sierra Club, making it one of the cleanest and most sustainable suburbs around Chicago. Since Schaumburg is one of the most traveled-to suburbs in the region, finding a way to implement sustainable practices is crucial to the city’s existence. In order to keep not only its residents but its visitors healthy, the city of Schaumburg has continued to expand the work and membership of its Environmental Committee, which has actually been existence since the 1970s.
So what is a Cool City to be exact? According to Lonnie Morris, the chair of River Prairie Group Cool Cities, a cool city is a laboratory of innovation for clean energy that creates local solutions that fit with their community’s vision.
So what steps has the village of Schaumburg taken to become a cool city? One answer can be seen in the Village’s own Public Works building. Throughout the building, boiler upgrades and lighting upgrades have saved the suburb thousands of dollars each year. Just like many of us do in our homes, the lighting throughout all public buildings in the village of Schaumburg is provided by LED sustainable light bulbs that last way past 8 years and consume far less electricity. Residents also approved electric aggregation, which allows the Village to seek alternative energy resources at a savings to eligible residents and small commercial and retail companies.
In an interview with Village President Al Larson (shown at right), Schaumburg’s ideas to become truly sustainable were laid out. “Schaumburg is implementing tactics to save energy, promote renewable power sources, reduce vehicle use, improve recycling and waste reduction, and many other strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Larson said in a press release .
Since Schaumburg continues to grow as a “cool city,” it is a great model for other suburbs to understand what goes into becoming a truly green and sustainable city and to make plans for achieving sustainability goals. In the next few years, the Village of Schaumburg will see many new steps taken by its leadership, making it hard to beat as a truly sustainable city.
Each week during the Fall 2013 semester, students in Prof. Mike Bryson’s SUST 210 Sustainable Future online class at Roosevelt University will contribute blog posts on suburban sustainability issues to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.