Sustainability Through The Greenest Region Compact

The Greenest Region Compact (GRC) promotes sustainability in communities around the Chicago region with an emphasis on building strong and vibrant communities. The Compact addresses ten areas: climate, economic development, energy, land, leadership, mobility, municipal operations, sustainable communities, water, and waste and recycling. The GRC guides the more than 70 participating municipalities towards sustainable goals and actions and encourages communities to work together to create a sustainable region.

In Winnetka, the GRC2 was adopted by municipal resolution R-23-2018 (PDF) on April 3, 2018.

Sustainability Focus Areas

  1. Climate
  2. Economic Development
  3. Energy
  4. Land
  5. Leadership
  6. Mobility
  7. Municipal Operations
  8. Sustainable Communities
  9. Waste & Recycling
  10. Water

ClimateClimate Icon

The overall objective is to reduce air pollution in and near Winnetka. Given the increasing need for clean air, it is importance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The Village enforces a no-idling policy for Village-owned trucks and equipment as well as employs strategic placement of no idling signage in commuter areas. The Village holds status as an Illinois Green Fleets Community through having and supporting environmentally friendly vehicles and fuels to improve air quality. The Village also enforces a gas-powered leaf blower ban during the summer. Details of goals and activities are found on the GRC2 Climate and Energy Goals pages.  

Climate Goals

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Maintain clean and healthful air
  • Develop resiliency to climate change impacts
  • Engage the community in climate change mitigation and adaptation

Strategy: Process & Context

The Village Council has given the Winnetka Environmental and Forestry Commission a broad mandate to assist the Village in disseminating information about environmental and forestry matters and to make recommendations concerning policies the Village might adopt. The specific charges are contained in the enabling ordinance establishing the Commission.

The Village of Winnetka is a small municipality and many solutions to environmental issues may well be better handled at the national, regional, state or other levels of government. Accordingly, the Commission focuses its resources on local solutions which can have an impact and to take advantage of expertise available from many sources and the synergies which can be achieved through partnering with other organizations and municipalities.

Projects to induce a sustainable lifestyle should be ranked according to their potential to produce the greatest change for Winnetka with the least effort. While focusing on this ratio of costs to benefits can lead to an over-emphasis on small changes, project choice should not ignore necessary large but difficult changes.

The initial step in comparing costs to benefits is identifying an aspect that can be measured, though these aspects may be multiple and complicated. Environmental issues are challenging because many involve complex, long-term economic transfers and complex chemical interaction. Often, these issues require detailed study that includes economics, chemistry, physics, biology, and public behavior.

A simple process of determining benefit to cost ratio of changing Winnetka's lifestyle to one that is more environmentally-friendly can be summarized with a series of five questions:

  • Change:               What is the resource or activity to change?
  • Benefit:                What is the measurable benefit?
  • Method:               Are there mechanisms that can be adopted or expenditures made by the Village to alter the activity                                   or resource?
  • Cost:                     What is the identifiable cost?
  • Response:            What is the public and staff response to the proposed mechanism or expenditure?