The signs of climate change are all around us – extreme heatwaves, huge storms, and … high gas prices? Climate change drives ecological and geopolitical instability that contributes to rising prices for our everyday goods. As the planet gets hotter, this will only intensify. Fortunately, there are many steps we can take that are both good for the environment and our pocketbooks.

Buildings are a significant source of carbon emissions in Oak Park. Switching to electric appliances can make a big dent in a building’s carbon footprint and provide better air quality. As more renewable energy powers Illinois’ electric grid, electric appliances are greener than gas ones. And studies show gas appliances release pollutants like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and fine particulate matter, which can worsen respiratory conditions like asthma.

Coupled with improving your building’s insulation, switching to electric appliances will reduce utility bills, protect you from volatile fossil fuel prices, and help you breathe easier. The village has resources and funding available for this at www.sustainoakpark.com.

Transportation is another big source of carbon pollution. Fortunately, electric vehicles are becoming increasingly common and affordable. Many new multi-unit residential buildings already have charging stations onsite. But more multi-unit residential and commercial buildings should install charging stations to help promote further adoption of EVs.

Solar is another great option for Oak Parkers. You can take advantage of the village’s rooftop solar grant program, as well as some great incentives from the state. Local environmental nonprofit Seven Generations Ahead can guide commercial buildings and tenants through their solar options. Reach out to Mark Burger at solar@sevengenerationsahead.org. Are you in a multi-unit building or not quite ready to put panels on your roof? Community solar is a fantastic option. It’s easy to sign up online to support a grid-scale solar project in Illinois. A credit is applied to your monthly electricity bill, so you can go green and save green.

Whether you’re a homeowner, a building manager, a renter, or a tenant in a commercial building, there are many ways to help make Oak Park a healthier, more sustainable community. The time to act is now.

Mark Burger
Renewables Consultant

Liz Lukehart
Communications Director
Seven Generations Ahead

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