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We encourage folks to support our programs for 2015 by becoming members, renewing membership or investing in our efforts at:

Our website: is set up for online donations/membership or mail checks to PO Box 9896, Springfield, IL 62791. 
Sustainable Springfield, Inc Plans for 2015
Spotlighting Sustainability in Springfield                        
  • Springfield's Advancements
    in Sustainable Design
  • Urban Tree Canopy Program 
  • UIS-Spfld and SSI Partnerships
  •  Design to Save the World
  • Passive House:  Future Standards in Design
  • Zero Waste at UIS-Springfield
  • Green Infrastructure Reducing Urban Flooding


Solar installation on Maldaners' restaurant in downtown Springfield.
Michelle Knox explains Maldaner's solar installation
Sustainable Springfield began the year of 2014 with an all-star panel, clearly demonstrating that solar energy is beginning to take shape in Springfield.  Jim Johnston’s all star panel included Michael Higgins of Maldaners, Michelle Knox of WindSolar USA, Julie Rourke of LLCC, Robert Labonte of the Bicycle Doctor and Bob Croteau of CWLP Energy Services.  LaBonte and Higgins both gave a step by step history of how they installed a significant solar panel setup with Michelle Knox and Bob Croteau’s guidance and assistance.  This presentation demonstrates solar is no longer out of reach for the average home or business.  

The complete story on Maldaners' solar installation click on this:  Solar at Maldaners.  To see how Maldaners' solar panels are working you can log in at  with: user name:
password:  solar202
Encouraging protections for our urban tree canopy system is another action item for Sustainable Springfield's group.  Anne Logue has drafted a tree replacement guideline that will encourage Springfield to maintain our current tree canopy percentage as well as set up an annual assessment of its percentage each year by the city.  By working with the city arborist, Logue hopes to construct a plan that works for both the city and the environment.  In doing so, we can ensure that Springfield will continue to have a healthy and vital urban forest to cool and beautify our homes and businesses.
Sara Lentz, Bianca Colmenares, Katelynn Essig, Mel LaMar, Emily Cross
Environmental studies graduate students at UIS-Springfield played a vital role in SSI in 2014.  This excellent group of students, through their graduate study in environmental studies, made their mark on sustainability in Springfield and SSI. From left to right we will let you know how each became important to our group.

Sara Lenz(far left) interned under the leadership of our past president Mel LaMar (fourth from left).  She crafted the foundation for our "Greenest of Springfield Awards" so we can now move into our next step of implementing a program in Springfield. We will begin by spotlighting small businesses who are practicing sustainability and providing leadership for others.

Bianca Colmenares served as a bright spot in our group as she worked with SSI on several projects throughout the year. She has moved to Chicago and remains our contact on sustainability there.

Katelynn Essig was a key leader in developing our green award program and on her own initiative became our contact intern in her work with Springfield Green. She is currently our contact in Portland where she is now employed with the Oregon City Department of Economic Development as a Sustainability intern.

Mel LaMar served as Sustainable Springfield's president from 2011-2014. Following graduation she headed to New York City for six months to learn how local environmental justice organizations in the Bronx and Harlem impact their neighborhoods. LaMar was instrumental in creating a relevant online presence and worked with interns at UIS to develop our new logo and image. Mel fostered relationships with UIS faculty and students which continues to pay dividends through ongoing interest and support from the UIS body of Environmental Studies. Her knowledge of sustainable issues and confident leadership was appreciated and she continues to assist us on our webpage and as a board member.

Emily Cross was a powerhouse of skill in designing our newsletter and website as well as preparing for year's green awards program. Emily is our contact with the Ecology Action Center where she is currently employed as the energy guru. We are grateful to each of these for each part they played in SSI and look forward to working with them in the future.
Clarissa Casper and Ryan Shea           Ryan Shea
RJ Schwartz
Leadership for Life Connection
Through Clarissa, we were introduced to RJ Schwartz who has now become our 
campus connection to Leadership for Life at UIS-Spfld.  We will be joining forces with RJ Schwartz to implement our “seal team” for SSI’s Green Business Awards for Small Business this spring.
One thing leads to another this summer for SSI . . . 
In the summer, SSI established a downtown presence in the midst of blistering heat and drenching rain as we set up a tent on Saturdays in June and August at the Downtown Artisans’ Market.  Materials on all environmental groups were there and discussed with visitors.   One hundred baby pines were available for the urban tree canopy program for $2 each.  Thankfully, we met Ryan Shea who has since then planted several of those trees and has promised to do more in the spring as he has started his own nursery of baby oak trees.

All it takes is one person to make a difference. Clarissa Casper took that step.  Clarissa Casper connected with us at our summer tent and has since then single handedly worked with the manager of the UIS cafeteria to substitute their Styrofoam cups with reusable glasses.  Coming up with ways that are cost effective and encourages reusable containers vs. disposable take out can be a difficult task.  When Clarissa Casper first approached the food service, cost and customer cooperation was the issue in eliminating disposable products at the UIS cafeteria.  The cafeteria had come up with offering customers the option of renting a non-disposable clamshell take out container for $5 but few have been taking up the offer.  Clarissa noted that if there was more advertising of the offer, customers might get on board.

Clarissa even looked at asking Pepsi to make donations for a group of reusable cups.  It seemed like a win win for the company but Pepsi wasn’t interested.  The cafeteria went the extra step and purchased 200 reusable cups on a trial basis. The next step is discovering if there has been savings by reducing the cost of disposables.
  Styrofoam cups are still available and employees of the cafeteria can be seen walking around with the Styrofoam cups.  Presently, it is hoped that through more advertising at the cafeteria's entrance, sustainable practices would increase.  Casper and Schwartz also stated employees should be required to use non-disposable dinnerware.
Casper expressed that the director was really open to the idea and had tried renting a clamshell take out container but often customers forgot to bring them back.  The cafeteria at ISU has been very successful in its sustainable program and we hope for 2015 to connect Evans with ISU's resources in sustainable takeout ideas.  The director agreed to try this as a test program.  We hope it sticks.
Green Awards Leadership
Brett Ivers                                                         Steven Simpson-Black
Brett Ivers will be heading the program and our target month is April for a kickoff event at Maldaners restaurant.  Steven Simpson Black will be organizing our teams prior to April's event.  Brett and Steven have joined SSI's board and we are delighted to have them.  They both have a long history of working on sustainable issues and have much to offer.  We are excited to have them as board members.
Paint the Parking Lot
Last year’s weather for paint the streets made it a huge success.  This year’s date was an angry mix of rain and lightening forcing us to rephrase the event to “paint the parking lot at the Springfield Art Association.”   We are grateful for the participation of the Springfield Bicycle Club, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Jubilee Farm, The Sangamon Valley Sierra Club and The Illinois Native Plant Society for helping sponsor our participation in this endeavor.  John Sanford did a fantastic job painting "Abe on bike" lanes at the Art Association.  

Inhabitat:  Design to Save the World
Groundbreaking Developments in Renewable Energy were presented by Michelle Knox at Lincoln Library in October.  Michelle of WindSolarUSA did an excellent presentation on this website which has it’s fingertips firmly on the pulse of significant sustainable technology and design.
Passive House Design with David Cation  
The High Performance House, was also presented by green builder, David Cation, in October at Lincoln Library.  This in depth step by step description of how a passive house design fits in central Illinois, and how this air tight envelope can save up to 90 percent of household energy bills, was a valuable guide for anyone who is planning on building a new home.

Green Infrastructure:  Mitigating Downtown Flooding
A joint presentation with the Sangamon Valley Sierra Club attracted a large audience of engineers and others. This event featured local landscape architect Kent Massie from Massie and Massie and his design for the Jackson Street Corridor Project, as well as Hal Sprague from CNT who educated us about Green Infrastructure techniques.  This presentation discussed how Springfield can efficiently reduce flooding in targeted areas downtown through the use of gardens, bio swales, permeable paving and water harvesting for storm water infiltration.  These methods add beauty and character as well as save the city money by reducing storm water runoff and the minimizing of storm sewer rebuilding.

Members and Partnerships 
Again, by connecting with local environmental groups and encouraging protection and nurturance of critical local resources, SSI hopes 2015 will be an even better year than before.  We encourage folks to support our projects by becoming members, renewing their membership or investing in SSI by donating to our organization.  Our website: is set up for online donations/membership.   Checks can also be sent to: Sustainable Springfield, P.O. Box 9896, Springfield IL 62791.   If you are interested in helping with a project or working with us  please contact our president, Anne Logue, at