Village officials on Friday gave U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert a tour of Downers Grove's initiatives in environmental sustainability.
The tour, taken by Biggert, along with Mayor Martin Tully and others, highlighted hybrid street lights in the Prentiss Creek neighborhood and the fleet maintenance facility at village hall.
"Municipalities are the incubators of innovation," Tully said.
Prentiss Creek is the only area in Downers Grove that has the hybrid lights, powered by a combination of solar and wind. The light fixtures have an expected life expectancy of 25 years; the two batteries in the base of the light pole are expected to last 10 years.
The fleet maintenance facility, located behind village hall, is outfitted with solar panels that generate heat in the winter time, is the location for other environmental initiatives, including the use of nitrogen to inflate car tires, vehicles outfitted to run on compressed natural gas, and bio-diesel vehicles powered by used cooking oils. Of the 206 vehicles in the fleet, 151 of them run on alternative fuels, according to the village.
Biggert, who said she has driven a variety of alternative fuel vehicles, was particularly impressed with the nitrogen tire pump, a technology she hadn't seen before. Instead of using regular air to inflate the fleet's tires, Downers Grove uses nitrogen, which improves mileage and extends the life of the tires, according to fleet services manager Larry Humphries.