Knowledge Center

What is Sustainability?

As defined by Elgin's working groups:

Sustainability for Elgin, Illinois is a movement that complements community values to foster a cooperative spirit and reward efficient use of all resources locally, regionally, and globally; accomplished by incorporating the social, economic, and environmental objectives of our citizens into our policy, development, and culture.


Elgin's sustainability movement is guided by these principles:

  • To create a self sustaining community
  • To ensure that future generations can enjoy at least the same natural resources that we did
  • To preserve, minimize, and restore
  • To accept that we are one species among many
  • To evaluate current practices and policies to lessen our environmental footprint
  • To foster spaces that are healthy, energy efficient, and encourage community inter-connectivity

Sustainability Briefs

Sustainability Briefs are short (2-3 page) reports created by Sustainability Working Group members. The reports outline a specific sustainable topic relating to each group's focus. They are great way to spread the word about sustainability and educate the community. Click below to learn more about a sustainable topic.
Permeable Pavement
Water Resources Group

Hydroelectric power on the Fox River
Alternative Energy Group

Native Planting, Cultivars and Turf Grass
Green Infrastructure Group

Food Waste Composting
Waste Management and Recycling Group

Promotional Media

Elgin Sustainability Master Plan You Tube Video

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Rain Garden Homeowner's Guide

Learn about the city's parkway rain gardens, native plants and some helpful hints for creating your own rain garden!

Energy Options

Revisit Mark Pruitt's presentation to the Sustainability Commission at the August 10th, 2021 meeting. 

Energy Options, Mark Pruitt

Elgin Environmental Research

What are our community's greatest sources of emissions?

2005 Community Emissions

How healthy are our natural resources?

Air Quality since 2000

Acreage of Parks per 1000 Citizens

303(d) Listed Water Courses in and around Elgin

How sustainable are our land use and development patterns?

Walkable Access to Fresh Food

Commuting Time since 1980

Green Buildings in Elgin

Land Cover Statistics

How are we at risk over the long-term from the impacts of a changing climate?

Elgin Temperature since 1976