For more than a decade, local businesses and municipalities have been working towards integrating sustainability measures into their everyday practices through the St. Louis Green Business/Green Cities Challenge. This month, the Clean Air Partnership is thrilled to shine a spotlight on the City of Alton, Illinois for their green efforts and commitment to being a great city in which to live, work and play.
Alton continues to pursue various strategies to be a more sustainable community, such as offering curbside recycling at no charge to residents and promoting the installation of energy efficient lighting and solar panels. In 2019, the city received the Award of Achievement in the Green Cities Challenge, where participants address sustainability within the range of operational requirements unique to local governments. Participating municipalities also incorporated a sustainability policy and practice fundamentals, including addressing measures defined by OneSTL, the regional plan for sustainable development.
Last year, Alton encouraged its residents to decrease energy use through the installation of solar panels with their Power Hours event. In addition, the city reduced zoning requirements on residential small solar system restrictions, allowing more residents to set up solar panels on top of their homes. Alton’s public works department also started a project to replace current high intensity streetlights with LED lighting. Annually, this project will save 18,403.770 in kilowatt hours, or $14,744.30 in electricity costs.
Other exciting initiatives include a $500,00 Great Streets planning grant the city received last February that will allow Alton to create places that improve the atmosphere of the downtown corridor. In doing so, downtown will be more walkable, which will help eliminate the use of multiple vehicles on the roads and reduce auto emissions to help keep the air quality in healthy ranges. These improvements will be enjoyed by and made accessible to all people, regardless of age or mobility.
Looking to the future, Alton hopes to see the addition of roof-top gardens throughout the city. AltonWorks, a social impact company with a vision for the revitalization of downtown Alton, set a goal to be the healthiest and happiest community along the Mississippi River in 10 years. After being named one of the “Top Ten Places to Retire” by AARP and “Best Place to Retire” in the state of Illinois by Forbes Magazine, they should be well on their way to reaching that goal!
Registration for the 2020 St. Louis Green Business/Green Cities Challenge is now open. For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by the City of Alton and how your municipality can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly E-Newsletter or visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com.
To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.