Seven of the largest employers in Evanston have launched a joint initiative to move toward meeting environmental goals.

What’s called the Evanston Green Ribbon Committee include representatives of the city, Northwestern University, NorthShore Evanston Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, school districts 65 and 202 and Rotary International — which combined employ a third of Evanston’s workforce.

“As leaders of this community, we need to show we are willing to work collaboratively to find solutions,” said Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. “Meeting our greenhouse gas emissions reduction target is only going to happen if we all work together. If we are going to ask our residents and businesses to reduce their impact, then we need to show we are reducing ours as well.”

She says the city is taking steps to reduce its own carbon footprint by improving energy efficiency at its facilities, building to U.S. Green Building Council LEED standards and retrofitting street lights.

Energy efficiency improvements have earned Rotary International and several schools in School District 65 the Energy Star rating. Northwestern’s most recent facility is LEED Silver Certified, the school is implementing a multi-million dollar energy conservation program throughout the campus and recycles 30% of its waste stream. Both hospitals and ETHS are taking advantage of programs offered through ComEd and the State of Illinois to reduce energy use at their facilities.

“With funding assistance from the State of Illinois, we replaced 15,000 lights with more efficient lamps and ballasts this spring, which will provide significant energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions for the high school,” said District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon“Participating in the Evanston 

District 65 board member Andrew Pigozzi says, “Recent improvements in lighting, school boilers, automatic controls for building systems and window replacements reflect a commitment to environmentally sound practices.”

Committee representatives are now working to develop their first collaborative project.

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