Connecting residents with local resources to build a more sustainable Chicago.
With the looming threat of climate change, it’s critical that each one of us does our part to lead a greener, more sustainable life.
Chicago has long been a leader in green initiatives—we’ve articulated specific, measurable goals and objectives for securing a safer, more sustainable future.
Ready to do your part to go green? Chicago has developed and strengthened numerous citywide programs to help residents reduce their footprint.
Our Focus Areas
- Waste + Recycling
- Food + Compost
- Economic Development
- Green Space + Stewardship
- Emergency Preparedness
Our citywide energy efficiency focus—which includes upgrading thousands of buildings—will result in a cleaner, healthier, and more affordable place to live.
Led by the Mayor’s Office, the Retrofit Chicago Residential Partnership brings together organizations seeking to advance residential energy efficiency for Chicago residents. As of 2014, the Partnership members have saved Chicago residents over $4 million annually with over 100,000 installations of energy saving products in residences and over 20,000 deeper retrofit improvements.
As the price of installing solar has gotten less expensive, more homeowners are turning to it as a possible option for decreasing their energy bill. Project Sunroof makes installing solar panels easy and understandable for anyone, by putting Google's expansive data in mapping and computing resources to use, helping calculate the best solar plan for you.
The principles of waste reduction and recycling sit at the core of all sustainability initiatives—they’re one of the easiest ways for every Chicagoan to contribute.
The City's Blue Cart program provides bi-weekly recycling services to single family homes and multi-unit buildings with four or fewer units. By recycling regularly, you can help reduce the need for landfills, lower disposal costs, reduce pollution, and conserve natural resources, such as timber, water, and minerals. If you find that you need an additional blue cart, please call 311 to request one.
Zero Waste Chicago offers comprehensive services to help clients develop and meet sustainability goals in order to engage employees, reduce waste, and create brand messaging around sustainability best practices.
Chicago’s waterways have long been a platform for economic growth and expanded opportunities for all residents to live healthy, active lifestyles—we must protect them.
RainReady℠ is a trademarked initiative of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a national nonprofit headquartered in Chicago. RainReady help people manage flooding and drought in a time of climate change. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to becoming RainReady, and we fully expect that your approach will be shaped to meet your needs. The factsheets, photos, and videos on this site are available for you to use in community meetings or to show friends.
MeterSave is a free program offered by the City of Chicago Department of Water Management to non-metered Chicago homeowners to voluntarily install meters to help them save water and save money. Homeowners participating in MeterSave will be eligible for a 7-year guarantee that the home water bill will be no higher than it would have if the meter had not been installed. Interested homeowners may visit www.metersave.org to complete a quick and easy online registration, call 311 or billing and customer service at 312-744-4H2O.
Chicago first rose to prominence as a critical transportation link. Today, we’re presented with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to set a new standard for transportation in the 21st century.
With 6,000 bikes available at 570+ stations across Chicago and Evanston, Divvy provides residents and visitors with a convenient, fun, and affordable transportation option for getting around and exploring Chicago. The bikes can be unlocked from one station and returned to any other station in the system. People use bike share to explore Chicago, commute to work or school, run errands, get to appointments or social engagements, and more. Divvy is available for use 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year, and riders have access to all bikes and stations across the system.
Active Trans is a coalition of people who are working to make biking, walking and transit safe and easy options for getting around Chicagoland.
From farmers markets and community gardens to compost programs and grow-your-own workshops, Chicago cultivates opportunities for local residents to eat sustainably.
When school is out for the summer, Chicago residents 18 years of age or younger can access free, nutritional meals at dozens of locations around the city through the Summer Nutrition Program. The Summer Nutrition Program provides nutritious breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for youth, though meal options vary by site. Participating locations include Summer Nutrition Program sites, Chicago Housing Authority residential sites, day camps, parks, community, and faith-based organizations during the summer months. Contact 311 for more information.
Gardeneers is the only Chicago-based nonprofit providing full-service, customized school garden programs with on-going support. When schools lack the time and resources to sustain garden programs, we ensure their success.
Chicago has always flourished by creating innovative technologies and charting new opportunities. We continue that legacy by focusing on creating a sustainable economy.
The Department of Buildings offers three programs for projects that include green elements, the Green Permit Benefit Tier Program, the Green Permit Program, and the Solar Express Program.
- The Green Permit Benefit Tier Program offers qualifying projects an expedited permit process and possible reduction of permit fees.
- The Green Permit Program also offers projects with green elements (geothermal systems, green roofs, photovoltaic systems, rainwater harvesting systems, solar thermal panels, and wind turbines) a priority review process.
- The Solar Express Program expedites permitting for solar panel installations.
Founded in 1982, LUCHA has evolved into one the Midwest’s premiere housing advocates. LUCHA has effectively organized community members to fight for better housing services from both public and private sectors. It also works with community residents to access housing products and services, provide housing counseling, and coordinate technical assistance.
In 1837 Chicago adopted "Urbs in Horto" (City in a Garden) as its motto. In the 181 years since, we’ve remained committed to preserving our public lands.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's One Summer Chicago brings together government institutions, community-based organizations, and companies to offer over 31,000 employment and internship opportunities to youth and young adults ages 14 to 24, as well as a range of enrichment activities for children and youth of all ages, including camps, sports, arts, and recreation programs.
NeighborSpace is the only nonprofit urban land trust in Chicago that preserves and sustains gardens on behalf of dedicated community groups. We support community gardens – through property ownership, insurance, water, stewardship, education, tool lending, project planning, fundraising support, troubleshooting, and more — so that community groups can focus on gardening and on their community-building vision, generating food, beauty, play, health, and safety for their neighborhoods.
Understanding the risks and threats associated with climate change, we’re working to ensure all Chicagoans can take measures to prepare in case of emergency.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training class training and volunteer program offers members of the public an opportunity to learn basic hands-on disaster response techniques. Upon completion of the class, participants have the option to become a Chicago Citizen Corps CERT volunteer and assist professional emergency services following a disaster. Past participants have played a role in emergency exercises and assisted the City during the recovery and evacuee welcome efforts after Hurricane Katrina. The program is a Department of Homeland Security funded 20-hour class.