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Naperville Park District Releases 2015 Sustainability Report
Submitted by the Naperville Park District
Photo: Three racks of photovoltaic panels were installed on the roof of the Fort Hill Activity Center, currently under construction.
From establishing honey bee hives in the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots to installing a propane fueling station at the South Maintenance Facility, Naperville Park District continues to find new ways to benefit the environment, and in many instances, reduce long-term costs.
For example, in 2015 the District received a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to upgrade to energy efficient LED lights in three facilities. The project, completed in early April, will reduce the energy use by more than 100,000 kilowatt hours annually, resulting in an annual savings of approximately $11,000.
The Naperville Park District’s Green Team recently released its 2015 Sustainability Report, available at http://www.napervilleparks.org/greeninitiatives, which tracks the District’s environmental initiatives.
Highlights from the report include the following:
· Knoch Knolls Nature Center completed its first full year of operations, welcoming more than 24,000 visitors, garnering additional architectural awards, and serving as a center for environmental education.
· Sportsman’s Park Remediation and Improvements were completed, and the park was re-opened with a public celebration on October 3, 2015. The recreational improvements included a loop trail with access to the pond and natural areas, extensive landscape restoration, energy-efficient lighting for the trap shooting range, and renovations to the Clubhouse, which hosts various community programs. These improvements were supported, in part, by a SECA grant from the City of Naperville.
· More than half of the Park District’s fleet (59%) uses alternative fuel, including electric, hybrid and biodiesel vehicles. Six vehicles now can run on propane in 2015, with funding for purchases and conversions provided, in part, by a $24,000 grant through the Chicago Area Green Fleet Program.
· Photovoltaic panels at Nike Sports Complex and Knoch Knolls Nature Center generated a total of 37,103 kilowatt hours of electricity, saving more than $3,700 in 2015.
· The District’s two cisterns conserved a large percentage of water used at two sites in 2015: The cistern at Knoch Knolls Nature Center provided 90% of the water used at the facility and the underground cistern at Knoch Park provided more than 60% of the water used to irrigate the fields.
The 2015 Sustainability Report lists many more green initiatives, including those that the Park District has incorporated into its standard operations, such as purchasing office paper with 30% recycled content, managing acres of natural areas, engaging hundreds of community volunteers, planting nearly 300 trees each year, and recycling.
In 2016 the Naperville Park District continues to introduce new sustainability measures, for example, adding a fueling station at the South Maintenance Facility to service the growing number of vehicles and equipment in the District’s fleet that run on propane fuel. Thanks to a Renewable Energy Grant from the City of Naperville’s voluntary renewable energy donation program, the Park District was able to install 117 photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Fort Hill Activity Center, currently under construction. The panels will generate approximately 40,000 kWh of energy annually to help power the lights and systems in the Activity Center.
Additionally, in 2016 the Naperville Park District will continue partnering with other organizations in the community to benefit the environment. Examples include promoting the sale of rain barrels through The Conservation Foundation and recycling holiday lights at the City of Naperville’s Recycling Drop-Off Center. This spring, homeowners again may order rain barrels through The Conservation Foundation, either with home delivery or with an option to pick up their rain barrel at the City of Naperville’s Arbor Day Tree Sale on April 30 at the Naperville Public Works facility on Fort Hill Drive. The order form is available at the following link: http://upcycle-products.com/static.asp?path=5231.