Algonquin looks to renew with Cool Cities program

ALGONQUIN – As the village continues its green and conservation practices, it is urging state and federal governments to do the same.

The village wants to renew its agreement with the Sierra Club’s Cool Cities program.

The agreement, which is a nonbinding resolution, calls for practices that reduce dependence on fossil fuels and encourages the development of clean energy sources, support of greenhouse gas reduction legislation and reduction of greenhouse gases from 2009 levels.

Algonquin has been part of the agreement since 2007. Village Board members are scheduled to vote Tuesday on the new three-year agreement.

Village operations already include sustainable practices, including water conservation, membership in the Tree City USA program, use of naturalized detention basins, use of alternative fuels such as biodiesel or natural gas and a conversion to LED lights.

“Staff sees participation in the Cool Cities program as a method to recognize the village’s innovative strides in conservation and allow greater access to grant funding to further support these initiatives,” Assistant to the Village Manager Mike Kumbera wrote in a village memo.

Algonquin is one of 59 communities in the state recognized by the Cool Cities program.

According to the agreement, the cities that sign on urge federal and state governments to enact policies and programs to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and accelerate the development of clean and economical energy resources.

It also calls for the development of fuel-efficient technologies such as conservation, methane recovery for energy generation, wind and solar energy fuel cells and electric and efficient motor vehicles.

The agreement also calls for federal legislation to be adopted that includes “clear timetables and emissions limits and ... a flexible, market-based system of tradable allowances among emitting industries.”

Some of the goals listed in the agreement include promoting bicycle trails, incentives for car pooling and public transit, buying only Energy Star equipment and appliances for municipal use, and promoting tree planting to increase shading and to absorb carbon dioxide.

The village has several initiatives that are green-oriented, such as electronic waste recycling. Since 2009, the village has recycled 343,000 pounds of electronics.

Two vehicles in the village fleet also use natural gas. There even is a solar-powered trash compactor, which was provided to the village for free, at Cornish Park.