Clean Air Counts and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus recently announced that Evanston was designated a Platinum Level Clean Air Community, the highest designation in the Clean Air Counts initiative.

The city originally applied to be a Gold Level Clean Air Community, one level below Platinum. The city more than fulfilled the requirements to earn the Platinum title.

In a congratulatory letter to Evanston Mayor Lorraine H. Morton, president Thomas J. Murawski, chair of the Environmental Committee for the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, wrote, Evanston’s “decision to implement the same strategies we promote to businesses – such as using low-VOC cleaning products and energy efficient products – demonstrates your leadership in the community and is appreciated.”

Murawski continued, “To date, the Communities Campaign has reduced smog forming pollution by over 401,000 pounds. We hope you will continue to be a leader in the Communities Campaign by continuing to implement air quality improvement strategies and sharing your success stories with other communities.”

The City of Evanston earned the new designation by implementing outreach efforts to promote clean air initiatives.

Examples of the city’s efforts include articles and information in the city’s newsletter, local media, and web site to educate the public and feature the city’s green efforts; providing business license and zoning applicants with information on energy efficiency and emission reduction strategies; hosting lawn care buyback and gas can replacement events; co-sponsoring the First Annual Evanston Green Living Festival with the Evanston Environmental Association; and using bio-diesel for the past three years in all 149 City trucks.

The city is also in the process of creating purchasing guidelines or policies that address the use of low-VOC-content paints, natural cleaning products and Energy Star-approved office equipment and lighting.

Clean Air Counts is an innovative, non-regulatory approach to reducing smog-causing emissions in the Chicago metropolitan region to achieve compliance with standards of the federal Clean Air Act.

Joining Clean Air Counts means individuals and/or organizations are making a commitment to undertake voluntary efforts to reduce smog in the Chicago region. CAC adopters assess opportunities to reduce emissions and conserve energy in areas related to transportation, energy, operations and maintenance, and development.

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