It was a beautiful day when the first Business Partners for a Greener Wilmette campaign, sponsored by Go Green Wilmette, took place on September 23 and was enjoyed by all who attended.
Mallinckrodt Park was the perfect setting for this outdoor reception and awards ceremony that felt like a neighborhood block party. Children played lawn games, volunteers painted the faces of youngsters and the not-so-young, while others enjoyed the delicious food, warm coffee and conversation watched by a few dogs sitting patiently.
Of the sixteen Wilmette businesses and not-for–profit organizations honored, owners and representatives of five businesses and two not-for–profit organizations were in attendance to receive their certificates at the event. All of the participating businesses received a public thanks for initiatives in one or more of three categories: buying electricity from sources that support Green energy, recycling business trash and reducing consumption of energy and resources.
The activities began with a special presentation of certificates to Harper school students, Katie Bielinski and Piper Dooley, who donated the proceeds from their summer lemonade stands to Go Green Wilmette. These funds will be given to the Park District to purchase native plants. In addition, Greg Vasilion, a senior at New Trier High School and GGW summer intern, was awarded a certificate for his hard work and dedication to environmental causes.
Certificates recipients present were: Marsha and Ray Pesavento of Artisanal Wilmette, Arash Zaré, assistant director of the Bahá’í House of Worship, Timothy Lenon of Fuel Wilmette, Jim Barkmeyer of Linden True Value Hardware, Bob Hausheer of Morning Glory Flower Shop, Julie Thomas of The Village Dog, and Nada Becker of the Wilmette Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce.
Inaugural partners not in attendance were: The Comix Gallery; Depot Nuevo Restaurant; The Design Center for Your Home, Wilmette; John Millen Hardware; The Northwest Passage; Panera Bread; Ridgeview Grill; Starbucks Corporation, Plaza del Lago, Wilmette; and Wilmette Taylor and Cleaners.
The range of initiatives varied from large-scale construction projects like the Bahá’í House of Worship’s LEED Silver Visitor’s Center (opening in 2014) and environmentally friendly HVAC system, to individual efforts by all of the participants to recycle and use low wattage light bulbs. Other initiatives that stood out include: Linden and Millen Hardware stores retrofitted their light fixtures to use low wattage T8 tubes. Wilmette Tailor and Cleaners offers a re-usable garment bag and asks customers to turn off car engines at their drive-up window.
Several newer businesses had a green mandate from their inception: Fuel restaurant, the Village Dog, Artisanal, and The Design Center used environmentally friendly and recycled building materials and decoration, and Linden Hardware reduced its heating and cooling bill by insulating the roof. The Comix Gallery and Millen Hardware are purchasing renewable electricity. Panera Bread and Ridgeview Grill were able to significantly reduce their air conditioning expenses with window shades and a revolving door, respectively.
The Northwest Passage and the Chamber of Commerce have moved towards paperless communications, while Depot Nuevo uses energy efficient appliances. Starbucks and Panera have placed recycling bins next to garbage bins inside their shops to make the choice clear to customers. Morning Glory Flower shop uses neutral cleaners and other measures to reduce water consumption and accepts old glass that is re-used or recycled.