The Village of Downers Grove has been selected as the 14th Government Green Fleet in North America. Each year the Government Green Fleet Award recognizes the top 100 fleets for their dedicated use of alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles. These awards are supported by the Clean Cities Coalition, which is operated by the U.S. Department of Energy. Downers Grove was the only community recognized in the Chicagoland area.
Of the 176 units within the Village's fleet, including on and off road vehicles and equipment, 83% utilize some form of alternative fuel. These alternatives include Biodiesel (B-20), E-85 (Ethanol), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), propane, solar power, and hybrid combinations. The Village uses CNG fuel to power a wide range of vehicles including Honda Civics, pick-up trucks, cargo vans, police patrol vehicles and five-ton trucks. The Village's five-ton trucks were the first in the midwest to be powered by CNG.
The implementation of green initiatives like the use of cleaner, more efficient alternative fuels achieves the Village's Strategic Plan goal of being a Steward of Financial & Environmental Sustainability. Using alternative fuels reduces the environmental impact of fleet operations and is more cost effective than traditional petroleum based products. For example, the per-gallon cost of gasoline equivalent for CNG is $.70.
The Village's fleet operations were also recognized for:
- Using solar power and used motor oil to heat the garage facility;
- Retrofitting the entire fleet facility with energy-efficient fluorescent lighting;
- Using nitrogen tire fills on all Village vehicles for improved gas mileage and longer tire life;
- Adopting a Village anti-idling policy; and
- Using in-cab warmers to reduce idling.
Being selected as the 14th Government Green Fleet in North America is a great accomplishment for Fleet Manager Larry Humphries and the entire sustainability team at VIllage Hall. It is important to note that this group is no stranger to this type of recognition. Past awards include selection as an Illinois Green Fleet by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA)and the Clean Fuels Champion Award from the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition.