Environmental Sustainability

Residents and business owners can participate in a variety of environmentally sustainable programs through out the Village. 

Green Business Award

The Green Business Award recognizes businesses in Northbrook who make a significant effort to minimize their impact on the environment. The 2018 Green Business Award winner was Exact Blade. 

Green Building Initiative

The built environment has a large impact on energy and resource consumption, the health of the Village’s residents, and the surrounding community. In recognition of this, the Village Board created the Green Building Initiative, which provides incentives, including fee rebates and expedited permitting, for property owners and builders who build Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system compliant buildings. For more information, contact the Village's Development and Planning Department at 847-664-4050.

ProjectLocationCompletion DateProject DescriptionLinks
SmartHaus Single Family Home1833 MapleDec. 2013/Jan. 2014A custom, high-performance home designed and built to LEED for Homes Platinum rating (given a preliminary Platinum rating by USGBC)

Project Snapshot


How to "Green" Your Home or Business 

Get a Free Energy Assessment

ComEd, in partnership with local natural gas providers, offers free home energy assessments for residents living in single-family homes, two-flats, condos, and town homes. The assessment focuses on small things residents can do to conserve energy and lower their bills. For more information, visit ComEd's website. ComEd offers a similar program for businesses; more information can be found here

Take Advantage of Rebates & Discounts

In addition to tax credits for energy-efficient purchases, utility companies such as ComEd and Nicor Gas offer rebates and discounts. 

Expand Your List of Recyclables

Review the 'How Do I Recycle This?' guide to learn what can and cannot be recycled in Northbrook. 

How to "Green" Your Yard

Add a Rain Barrel...or Two

Save money on your water bill while keeping your yard lush green. Rain barrels collect stormwater runoff and store it until it can be Rain Barrelused for watering. This eco-friendly solution conserves water, reduces your water bill, and reduces excess stormwater that contributes to localized flooding. 

Residents can purchase up to two 55-gallon barrels for $25 each (typical retail cost is $100) at Village Hall. Please be prepared to transport the barrel home, as the Village does not deliver. The high-density polyethylene rain barrels are 23 inches in diameter and 35-38 inches tall. 

Once home, connect the rain barrel to the downspout. Allow the water to drain through the screen lid to keep debris out and deter mosquitoes from breeding. Try to use water within a week of collection. Because all barrels have a spigot at the bottom, a garden hose, landscape tubing, or drip tubing can be attached. To utilize a watering can, situate the barrel on a wooden pedestal to easily access the spigot. The overflow fitting on each barrel diverts excess water from the barrel and links to a hose fitting, so two or more barrels can be joined together.

If the barrel will be unused for an extended time, drain it and place it indoors. Be sure to drain and store the barrel over the winter. Any excess water could freeze and crack the barrel. 

Consider a Garden

Planting a vegetable or flower garden is a great way to beautify your property and potentially save money. Somethings to consider when planting a garden, especially in your front yard:

  • Native plants tend to consume less water and survive better in our climate. Check out the Native Plantings document for details and ideas.
  • A new garden cannot change the grade of a property enough to cause drainage or erosion problems.
  • A new garden cannot become a nuisance (i.e. causing mud, ice, pooling water, or water accumulation) or exceed the yard height limits allowed under the municipal code.
  • Fencing must comply with the Village's fencing regulations.

Consider a Rain Garden

A rain garden is specifically designed to absorb stormwater runoff. Learn more about rain gardens and planning resources from the Chicago Botanic Garden

Make Northbrook a Monarch Way Station

Monarch Way Station GardenIn an effort to preserve the monarch population and to make Northbrook a monarch way station on the migratory path from Canada to Mexico, the Village's Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) encourages residents to plant milkweed, a native plant that monarch larvae eat.

Residential gardens that can sustain Monarch’s during their annual migration are eligible to receive a “Let’s Make Northbrook a Monarch Way Station” garden sign. To be eligible, gardens must contain native plants, exclude exposure to pesticides or herbicides, and contain at least one native milkweed plant. Bring a picture of your butterfly garden to the Public Works Department to receive a sign. Please confirm sign availability with the Public Works Department prior to pick-up. 

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources offers additional information on monarch butterflies.