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Going Green


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On October 4, 2007, Elmhurst’s Mayor Tom Marcucci signed the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, joining Elmhurst with some 1,080 “Cool Cities” across America committed to reducing global warming carbon dioxide pollution to seven percent below 1990 levels by 2012. By signing on, Elmhurst committed to the three key common Cool City strategies: energy efficiency, green vehicle fleets and renewable energy, and also to its own unique strategies to take decisive action to reduce heat-trapping emissions, lower energy bills, save taxpayer dollars and protect the environment.

The excitement here is the interest and commitment sweeping across the community, and it all started on a chilly October evening in 2006 when a showing of An Inconvenient Truth at the York Theatre sold out. Seeing the extraordinary response, The League of Women Voters joined forces with the Sierra Club and a coalition began to blossom harnessing the accumulating interest and support—American Association of University Women (AAUW), the City of Elmhurst, Elmhurst PTA Council, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, garden clubs, business organizations, the high school EcoClub and individuals galore.


In celebration of being a Cool City, on August 9, 2008, the Cool Cities Coalition presented the inaugural Elmhurst Green Fest. This lively festival was held in Wilder Park with special events and activities in the Elmhurst Public Library, Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art and Elmhurst College.


What an exciting celebration this capstone event was, with information and inspiration for the youngest to the oldest citizens and for organizations and businesses small and large. Reduce, reuse and recycle became the mantra at home and at work—who could resist “going green?” Individuals, families and businesses too were signing onto the Elmhurst Cool Cities Pledge to support the Coalition’s goals to protect the environment by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, while at the same time offering support of the City’s action plans for green vehicle fleets, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Realizing that “going green” is its own learning process, the Green Fest was absolutely choc-full of intriguing and inspiring information—vendors, knowledgeable speakers and panel discussions, hands-on demonstrations, door prizes and some great activities too. It was all about all ages having fun and going green, greener, greenest!

And what an event to come back home for—though now college graduates, Ashley Happel and her brother Austin, also graduates of Elmhurst’s School District 205, happily volunteered with their mom and dad at the Green Fest. “Having grown up with compost piles, organic gardens and rain barrels, the opportunity for our family to inspire others was just irresistible,” said Elmhurst resident Jan Happel.

Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Construction

Founded in 1871, Elmhurst College is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the United Church of Christ. As you walk across the 38-acre campus, you are shrouded in the green of hundreds of trees that line paths and frame stately brick buildings. The trees and shrubs number in the 600s and comprise an accredited arboretum. Imagine experiencing all this and yet being only a 30-minute ride into downtown Chicago.

In the fall of 2008 West Residence Hall opened as the College’s newest living facility and its first building to pursue LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Wight & Company is the design, construction and engineering firm that has overseen much of Elmhurst College’s recent construction, including this new LEED residence hall.

“It has been inspiring to work with the architects,” says Joe Drogos, Director of Elmhurst Internet Marketing and previous Communications associate. “From the onset they’ve considered ‘What will be the function’ and then focused on sustainable design solutions. Their work intrigues and challenges them. It is wonderful to see the College take this step.”


Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare’s vision for a new integrated healthcare campus is also coming to fruition with Albert Kahn Associates, Inc., serving as the architect of record, providing full architectural, interior and landscape design services for the new replacement complex. According to Kyle Bauer, Public Relations Coordinator at Elmhurst Memorial, the integrated healthcare campus is projected to include various sustainable, eco-friendly features such as a rooftop healing garden, landscaping to be irrigated with rainwater captured on the campus and use of recycled building materials. Additionally, by being located close to major arteries, the complex is accessible via public transit. More GREEN for Elmhurst!

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