Living Green Initiatives

Village Departments are dedicated to finding "green" solutions whenever possible in the delivery of services to the public. Below is a summary of some Green Initiatives and the history on several existing, key programs.

Sewer Lining

Public Works' Utilities Division, started the Village’s Cured-In-Place (CIP) sewer lining program in 2012. This program eliminates infiltration of ground water into sanitary sewer mains thereby reducing sewage treatment costs. Since the program’s inception, we have lined over 7 miles of sewer line.

Smoke Testing

Sewer System Evaluations, Inc. completed the first year of a multi-year Sewer Smoke Testing Program in 2016. The RJN Group, Inc. is heading the Village’s Infiltration and Inflow Project. In the smoke testing process, harmless smoke is blown into a sewer segment through manholes at both ends. Defects are identified at locations where smoke exits the ground or an improperly connected drain structure. This ongoing program has been mandated by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDC).

Smoke testing procedures within these areas help to pinpoint sections of pipe that could be vulnerable to excessive amounts of water and sediment infiltration that may be in need of repair. This program also reduces unnecessary sewage treatment costs. Several subdivisions have been targets in 2016 and 2017.

Fire Station Lighting Refurbishment

In an effort to reduce energy consumption at our two older fire stations, 210 fluorescent lighting kits were installed in Fire Stations #3 and #4. The estimated energy consumption of the old fluorescent lighting fixtures was 30.22 Kwh; a 60% total savings is realized when compared to the 12.214 Kwh of energy consumed with the new refurbished fluorescent lighting fixtures.This project was made possible by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, which was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"Tap into Arlington" Water Conservation Program

The Public Works Department has recently developed a public awareness campaign to promote tap water usage in the Village called “Tap Into Arlington”. This positive community outreach program aims to educate our residents on the benefits of tap water and water conservation. The Village of Arlington Heights provides high quality tap water to our customers. In light of recent events such as the Flint Michigan water crisis, it is important to reassure residents that our tap water is safe and clean to drink. Additionally, using tap water and reusable water bottles has positive benefits to the environment. This campaign is not only an opportunity to encourage conservation, but it will also highlight the strict testing standards that the Public Works Department must follow.

  • Forestry's Tree University
  • Green Equipment at PW
  • Green Practices for Ice Removal
  • Solar Powered Resources
Forestry's Tree University

The Village made a massive investment in the reforestation of the urban forest following the Emerald Ash Borer. In an effort to protect this investment, the Forestry Unit recognized the need to reach out and educate the community on the importance of proper care for newly planted trees.  The Forestry Unit, comprised of nine certified arborists, created the “TreeU” Program to implement this goal.  TreeU allows for a unique enrichment of our community, leading to a healthier urban forest.

TreeU is a positive community outreach that allows the Forestry Unit to educate our current and future residents on the benefits of trees and the importance of proper tree care. TreeU partners with educators to focus on current forestry related topics that are relevant to their students’ curriculum. The focal week of TreeU is the final week of April, beginning on Earth Day and extending through Arbor Day.

When the program started in 2016, two schools, Greenbrier Elementary and Juliette Lowe Elementary, immediately took advantage by inviting Forestry Unit staff to participate with their classes.  Staff used the time to educate the children about why the Village removes and replants trees, why trees are important to our world, and how to maintain newly planted trees.

The Forestry Unit, along with the help of students planted an oak tree in the parkway adjacent to the school.  After the tree was planted, each child was able to spread a small amount of mulch around the tree, so they were all a part of planting this new tree.  To remember the day, the children were given a small tree sapling to plant at their homes. 

Forestry Unit staff plan to continue advertising and improving the TreeU Program in the future.

IMG_0139Annual Arbor Day Celebration

On April 29 of each year,  Arbor Day is celebrated in conjunction with the Arlington Heights Park District and a District 25 elementary school.

Representatives of all local governmental agencies, along with students, gather for the annual celebration by honoring the value of trees in our community and adding the final touches of  planting of a new tree.

Continuing with the Village’s emphasis on diversifying the urban forest, a different type of tree is planted each year, which will be part of the Forestry' Division's effort each Arbor Day going forward.

For over 30 years, the Village has been recognized as a Tree City USA. The Village has also received the Tree City USA Growth Award for a several years. Both awards recognize the Village for its urban forestry programs and commitment to maintaining and growing our urban forest.

Green Equipment at PW

sweeper_greenPublic Works' Hybrid Sweeper Scrubber 2016
In 2016, Public Works purchased a new Advance CS7000 LPG Hybrid Sweeper Scrubber that is used to clean the Village parking garages.  Designed for indoor and outdoor operation, the propane-fueled engine produces up to 45% lower CO2 emissions per square foot, and has lower operation costs compared to other machines in its class. The complex and high maintenance hydraulic systems including the large hydraulic reservoirs, filters and oil coolers as well as 98% of the leak-prone hydraulic hoses, pumps, motors, and valves have been eliminated. Hydraulic drives have been replaced by an intelligent system of electronically controlled, low maintenance electric drives.  This technology shift alone will save thousands of dollars in maintenance costs.

Hybrid Tower TruckPublic Works' Hybrid Tower Truck 2017
Drive Clean Chicago is an innovative incentive program aimed at creating a roadmap for a greater alternative fuel transportation network for Chicago. Given the fluctuation in fuel costs, vehicle emissions and the lack of infrastructure for alternative fuels, Drive Clean Chicago provides important incentives to help Chicago fleet owners purchase cleaner vehicles that are better for business and the environment.

In 2017, the Fleet Services Unit used this program to purchase a hybrid aerial truck from Altec Industries. The Altec JEMS (Jobsite Energy Management System) is an integrated plug-in system that uses stored electrical energy to power the aerial device, tools and exportable power, and provides cab comfort. The energy storage system is recharged by plugging into shore power or by the truck’s internal combustion engine.

This innovative, patented technology:

  • Eliminates idle time at the job site
  • Reduces fuel consumption
  • Lessens noise pollution
  • Decreases carbon footprint and tailpipe emissions
  • Minimizes impact on payload
  • Offers reliable performance with automatic stationary recharge
  • Reduces maintenance costs
  • Complies with anti-idle legislation
  • Is approved by the EPA
Green Practices for Ice Removal

Beginning in the winter of 2008/2009, the Public Works Department started using a liquid deicer to augment our use of rock salt. The liquid deicer is a mixture of salt brine (salt and water), liquid calcium chloride, and sugar beet extract. The use of this material has allowed us to reduce our use of road salt while utilizing an environmentally friendly product to achieve our goal of safe winter streets.

In late 2008, approximately 2,300 gallons of deicer liquid was tested by pre-wetting salt at the auger. The purpose of this test was to see if deicer could prolong the freezing of precipitation to road surfaces and allow us to use less salt. We discovered with the right application and correct situation the liquid worked very well.

By 2009, all 19 snow route trucks were applying deicer via pre-wetting at the auger. The first storage tank was installed and held 10,000 gallons of liquid. During this season 52,370 gallons of liquid was applied.

In early 2010, a 400-gallon anti-icing tank was installed on a 1-ton truck allowing the Village to place liquid down on roads prior to a winter weather event. This helps prevent the early onset of ice buildup by creating a layer between the road surface and the precipitation giving snow fighters a jump-start in battling storms.  During this season 62,435 gallons of liquid was applied.

The 2011 season began with an additional 400 gallon anti-icing truck being put into service, giving the Village a total of two trucks with a combined 800 gallon capacity. Additional storage tanks and a new enclosed pump house were installed. The new tanks gave the Village a total of 30,000 gallon storage capacity. During this season, a total of 50,855 gallons of liquid was applied to Village streets.

In 2014, a fifth storage tank was installed so that the anti-icing program could be expanded to include the Village’s three parking garages. This tank holds 6,000 gallons of liquid. The parking garage snow and ice control truck was outfitted with the necessary equipment to perform this operation.

At the onset of the 2015 season, a third 400 gallon anti-icing truck was put into service. This truck allowed the Village to expand our operation into arterial roadways under our jurisdiction. This was also the first winter that anti-icing occurred in the parking garages. A total of 167,637 gallons of liquid was used.

During the 2016 season, the Street Unit experimented with different blends of liquid. Some of these liquids were used during periods of extreme cold. We found them to be effective, and will continue to experiment in order to improve winter maintenance operations. A combined total of 138,928 gallons of liquid was used.

The 2017 season will include the usage of two new hook lift trucks that will be outfitted with 1,000 gallon tanks. These trucks and tanks will allow us to apply liquid in less time. We will be able to travel further from the Public Works facility without having to frequently return to refill the anti-icing liquid. Trucks with the smaller tanks will be used closer to the Public Works facility for refilling purposes. All together, we will have the ability to have a total of 3,200 gallons of liquid being applied at any given time. 

As a result of our increased use of liquid deicer (beet juice), the reduction in salt use was noticeable. The most dramatic reduction in rock salt use was 2008-2009 when the program was initiated. The following yea the program was fine-tuned and the liquid application use was increased from a rate of ten gallons of liquid per ton of salt to fifteen gallons liquid per ton of salt.

Solar Powered Resources

Solar Powered Bike Shelter
Several years ago, Arlington Heights erected a new bike shelter in the parking lot next to the downtown train station. This new shelter includes six solar panels on the south facing side of the roof. These solar panels produce power for the lighting in the shelter, which is self-contained and off the grid. In addition to charging the batteries for the LED lighting, the solar panels generate an estimated 2,100 Kwh of metered electricity, which offsets the energy consumption of the parking lot lighting for an estimated eight months of the year. 

This project was made possible by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Solar Powered Warning Signs
In the summer of 1998, the Public Works Department started a program to replace the old Civil Defense warning sirens with the new Omni-directional solar powered warning sirens. This project was completed in 2008. We now have a network of twelve new Omni-directional solar powered warning sirens located strategically within the Village limits.

The new warning system is powered by solar panels, which charge deep cycle batteries to power an array of ten speakers mounted atop a fifty-five foot pole. The old warning sirens were powered by a Commonwealth Edison service and were reliant on that power source to operate. This type of early warning network is free of the Commonwealth Edison power grid and will remain in operation even in the eventuality of a power failure in the area. This solar-powered equipment is intended to ensure operational integrity in case of emergency.