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updated: 11/27/2013 2:11 PM

Naperville looking to join 'Cool City' program

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  • Naperville's garden plots are one of the community's many environmental efforts that supporters point to as they urge officials to apply for membership in the Cool Cities program.

       Naperville's garden plots are one of the community's many environmental efforts that supporters point to as they urge officials to apply for membership in the Cool Cities program.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville's downtown electric vehicle charging stations are one of the elements supporters point to as they urge officials to join the Cool Cities program.

       Naperville's downtown electric vehicle charging stations are one of the elements supporters point to as they urge officials to join the Cool Cities program.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 
 

Naperville soon might be part of an effort to "solve global warming one city at a time" as staff members consider joining the Cool Cities program of the Sierra Club.

Cool Cities are communities that sign local sustainability protection agreements committing them to take measurable steps toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and engage in other environmentally friendly actions.

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Roughly 60 Illinois cities and counties already have signed on as Cool Cities, and Naperville residents Stephanie Hastings and Beth Schwartz said their hometown has done plenty to make itself eligible.

"We feel it is a designation the city of Naperville deserves," Hastings said. "Cool Cities are leading the way in reducing heat emissions, lowering energy bills and protecting our environment. We believe the city has already taken the necessary actions to earn this designation and we would like the city to be recognized for its efforts."

Hastings and Schwartz, who both are members of Naperville for Clean Energy and Conservation, said the city already engages in the main steps Cool Cities must take because it has conducted an emissions inventory, created a sustainability plan, implemented green initiatives, kept track of progress and informed the community.

Among sustainable efforts the duo listed before the city council at a recent meeting are the city's smart grid program; downtown electric vehicle charging stations; the upcoming switch to recycling carts to allow residents to recycle more; the construction of a new environmental collection center; and the presence of garden plots and community-supported agriculture programs.

"Naperville should be recognized as a Cool City," Schwartz said. "We just have to sign the local sustainability protection agreement."

Naperville already is listed on the Illinois Cool Cities website, but with a note saying it has not yet approved such an agreement.

City council members said they liked the idea of joining the program and asked Hastings and Schwartz to provide details about how Naperville can enroll.

"I think we've earned it," council member Steve Chirico said. "We have led the way, and yet we're an 'uncool' city right now."

Nearby municipalities including Aurora, Carol Stream, Lombard and Villa Park are "cool," and Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger said a resolution to join their ranks should be brought before a council that "certainly is embracing the concept."

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