In recent years, the Village of Mundelein has placed a significant focus on furthering sustainability efforts through the implementation of green initiatives, programs, projects, and policies. In 2018, the Village was awarded the Illinois Sustainability Award by the University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute. The Village's sustainability efforts have substantially reduced the environmental impact of Village operations, services, and community activity.
In 2014, the Village finished construction on a new LEED Gold certified Village Hall which spurred a continuous effort to place a special focus on sustainability efforts in all aspects of our organization and community. As a result, the Village has implemented several programs and has made changes to Village operations and polices which minimize negative environmental impacts of necessary services and activities.
Major sustainability projects implemented by the Village of Mundelein include:
In 2014, the Village of Mundelein finished construction on a brand new LEED Gold certified municipal building. The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded the Mundelein Village Hall LEED Gold status for its energy efficiency. The updated Village Hall was designed to maximize energy efficiency and reduce water consumption, leading to a reduction in water usage and significant energy savings.
The Village achieved LEED Gold certification due to some of the following criteria:
- Energy saving light sensors and controls
- Low-pollution emitting materials in building infrastructure and frame
- Localized heating and cooling controls
- Preferred parking for high efficiency vehicles
- Bike racks, to encourage green alternatives for transportation
- Electric vehicle charging station
- Green demolition and construction
The new Village Hall building has inbuilt features including the roof, walls, lighting, and HVAC systems that are designed to reduce energy consumption. The roof is made from composite materials that help reflect sunlight, reducing heat absorption and preventing the heat island effect. The construction of the walls and floors contained low-emitting materials that assist in optimizing energy performance. Lighting systems are localized and utilize motion sensors designed to reduce unnecessary usage. The lighting systems also have a high degree of controllability. The HVAC systems have a high degree of controllability that is also localized, allowing for rooms and work areas to have their own thermostats. Steps to reduce water consumption were also taken in the design of the village hall. Installed in the building were water efficient fixtures such as water closets, urinals, showers, and sinks. The surrounding building landscape was developed to maximize irrigation. The improved irrigation should result in less watering by the village.
To reduce the Village Hall employees’ carbon footprint, bicycle racks were installed on both the east and west sides of the building. To encourage more employees to consider commuting via bicycle, the village hall has provided access to showers and changing rooms on the upper floor. The Village, in addition to providing preferred parking spots for energy efficient vehicles, purchased an electric vehicle charging station accessible to all employees.
The green demolition of the Village of Mundelein’s previous building, located on the village hall site, was also recognized for its environmental benefits as the Village earned a “Cutting Edge Award” from the Lake County Municipal League.
Recycled materials included:
- 250 tons of waste materials 745 tons of steel
- 7,900 tons of concrete
- 13,000 tons of materials
The high recycling rate helped the Village qualify for a $165,000 grant and netted an additional (amount) from the sale of the recycled goods.
In recent years, the Village completed the retrofit of all Village facilities in need with new fluorescent bulbs and ballasts. The majority of the project focused on replacement of the existing, obsolete T12 bulbs and ballasts in 25 different buildings with new T8 bulbs and ballasts that are more energy efficient and have a longer life cycle. The retrofit at these facilities allows for greater than a 600,000 kWh annual energy reduction for the Village. The project improvements included interior and exterior lighting upgrades, LED exit signs, and occupancy sensors. While this in and of itself is an accomplishment, this project was accomplished with ZERO cost to the taxpayers of Mundelein. The project was funded in part by two separate grant sources: Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and the DCEO Public Sector Energy Efficiency Program. The Village was able to leverage grant funding from the different funding sources, thereby eliminating the cost share for the Village.
In 2016, the Village began the first phase of an LED retrofit program beyond Village facilities and throughout public spaces within the community to include the Village’s train station. Existing high pressure sodium luminaries were replaced with more reliable, efficient LED fixtures. The current HPS light emits a poor color quality and has a “glowing orb” effect that impacts adjacent property. The LED light produces a more natural color rendering and does not have the same spillage issues that are common among older lighting technology. In addition to the aesthetic improvements, these new luminaries will reduce the energy usage for the fixtures. The project also saves money on maintenance since the LED fixtures do not have bulbs or ballasts that require frequent replacement. All of this results in a substantial long-term cost savings for the Village.
In 2019, the Arbor Day Foundation named Mundelein a "Tree City USA" for the seventh consecutive year. Mundelein achieved "Tree City USA" recognition by meeting the program's four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. The Village also received the Tree City USA Growth Award for the second consecutive year for demonstrating environmental improvement and higher level of tree care.
The Arbor Day Foundation, founded in 1972 on the Centennial Anniversary of the first Arbor Day observance in the 19th century, has grown to become the largest non-profit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with over one million members, supporters, and valued partners.
The Foundation's Mission: We inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.
After Mundelein constructed and completed a LEED Gold Certified Village Hall in June 2014, the goal of being technologically and environmentally innovative continued with the decision to install an EV charging station, a Telefonix L1 Power Post. This was made possible through a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Rebate Program. This charging station is accessible to Village employees, businesses, and residents. The Village Hall is part of a larger downtown subdivision and is located in a spot in which many commuters have an opportunity to benefit from the EV charging station. Many Mundelein residents have already taken advantage of this charging station and will continue to do so. Most models of electric cars with plug-in functionality should be able to use the charging station. Residents and businesses that use the charging station are not charged a fee and it is operational and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In a united effort to protect Mundelein’s water quality and the environment in area lakes and streams, the Mundelein Board of Trustees voted to pass an ordinance regulating the use of fertilizers containing phosphorous within Mundelein in 2015.
Under the new ordinance, any fertilizer—whether liquid, granular, or solid—may not contain any amount of phosphorous or other compound containing phosphorous except the naturally occurring phosphorous in natural or organic fertilizing products such as yard waste or compost. The ordinance also stipulates that fertilizer cannot be applied to impervious surfaces, areas within drainage ditches, waterways or within 20 feet thereof, or any delineated wetland.
The Village is committed to protecting the health, safety, and welfare of our residents by protecting the water quality and environment in lakes and streams and fertilizers containing phosphorous pose a threat to these commitments.
In November of each year, the Village of Mundelein partners with the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) conduct a highly successful household chemical waste (HCW) collection event. This household chemical waste includes items such as: paint, flammable liquids and solids, poisons, aerosols, corrosives, oil and antifreeze, mercury (bulbs and devices), oxidizers, batteries, and PCB's.
In The Illinois Food Scrap Coalition (IFSC) recently recognized the Village of Mundelein for offering composting services to its residents. Under the program, Mundelein residents have the opportunity to put their food scraps in their recycling bins for the compost piles. Residents can also place approved food scrap materials inside their landscape bags and containers. Collection occurs on their normal landscape pick-up day. Mundelein’s Food Scrap collection program is designed to help residents reduce the amount of garbage sent to area landfills.
Electric Energy Services - Constellation
The Village of Mundelein contracts with Constellation energy due to its lower costs and availability of a “green” option. Essentially, Mundelein residents and small businesses now have the opportunity to select a 100% renewable energy option from Constellation.
Mosquito Control Services – Clarke Environmental
Mundelein partners with Clarke Environmental to control mosquitoes. Clarke was chosen by the Village because of their solid reputation for using technology to implement green practices while still effectively and successfully protecting the public from the nuisance and health hazards of mosquitoes. Clarke’s environmentally friendly mosquito control service is called Earthright® and it uses three products called Natular® larvicide, MerusTM adulticide, and Azera harborage treatment to reduce the amount of mosquitoes in the area.
For some time, it was clear that the Village’s Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) was the biggest consumer of energy among our municipal facilities. So, the Village entered into a Guaranteed Energy Efficiency Performance Contract with Johnson Controls, Inc. for improvements to the water and wastewater facilities in the amount of $1.87M. The improvements are funded through the savings achieved by the project scope and will be recovered through the energy savings in less than 10 years. These savings are guaranteed through the contract term, whereby Johnson Controls, Inc. is obligated to fund any shortfalls in energy savings. The contract included the following ECRMs:
- Aeration System Blower Motor Improvements
- Drinking Water Pumping Station Improvements and Modifications
- Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) improvements to improve automation
Each of the individual project improvements has created certain energy or operational savings at the Village's facilities. When engineered together as a single program, significant savings have been realized both in the energy consumption and also in labor resource allocation. The electrical energy reductions at the WRF account for as much as $100,000 sustained annual savings at the Village's contract energy rates. The SCADA automation improvements resulted in annual savings for reallocation of labor resources of approximately $35,000 by eliminating previously required weekend overtime at the waste water plant; and a reduction of approximately $55,000 in annual maintenance costs as well due to the upgraded equipment installations. In 2011, the WRF’s annual costs for electricity and heating fuels totaled $365,468. In 2017, totals were $220,850 which is a reduction of $144,618 or 40% from 2011.
The Village of Mundelein is not subject to any environmental enforcement action or notice of violation from the U.S. EPA or Illinois EPA.