The Library works towards developing more green solutions for our operations, building, and grounds to serve as better stewards of our shared environment.

We Select Green Companies and Green Building Options

  • We choose environmentally sustainable options when possible for all major building projects
  • We use permeable pavers instead of asphalt parking surfaces to reduce storm water runoff
  • We use a natural gas snow-melt system on our concrete surfaces to evaporate and reduce ice and snow accumulation
  • We hire LEED-certified architects to advise us on renovations and facility updates

We Use Green Products and Methods

To conserve resources and to promote reuse

  • We use a hybrid vehicle to collect, transport, and deliver materials, to conduct outreach services, and to carpool staff to training and events.
  • We recycle about 1,000 pounds of paper, cardboard, metals, glass, aluminum, and plastics per week.
  • We recycle all fluorescent lamps which includes all of the glass, metal ends, inert gasses and powders in the lamps.
  • We recycle all print cartridges.
  • We send out-of-service computer hardware to companies that repurpose or, if necessary, recycle the computer components.
  • We give withdrawn books to the Friends of the Wilmette Library or to Better World Books to sell or donate.
  • We make scratch paper out of used paper, reuse binders, folders, envelopes, and double-side printed material.

To light the building

  • We use LED light fixtures throughout the building.
  • We update older fluorescent lighting to more energy efficient fixtures.

To heat and cool the building

  • We maintain four geothermal wells to provide heating and cooling for a portion of our building. The wells circulate water that sheds heat into the earth in the summer, and pulls that same heat out of the earth in the winter.
  • We use a digitally control heating and air conditioning system which uses outside air for cooling, reduces the temperature of hot water needed for heating, and allows for variable heating/cooling controls for weekdays, weekends, and holidays.
  • We use glass with heat reflective coating.
  • We use white roofing materials to deflect exterior heat and promote cooling inside the building.

To clean the building

  • We stipulate that our cleaning service use green products whenever possible.
  • We use vinegar and water for daily cleaning, edible cleansers around food areas, and unbleached paper towels in washrooms.
  • We use the truck-mount extraction method for cleaning carpets which uses biodegradable, non-toxic, non-allergenic cleaning agents, efficiently extracts ground-in material, and is gentle on carpet fibers resulting in longer-lasting carpeting.

To maintain the grounds

  • We plant and maintain all-native trees, shrubs, and plants on our grounds.
  • We use completely organic fertilizer/weed/pesticide compounds on all lawn and shrubs.
  • We mulch the lawn with grass clippings to re-fortify the grass and reduce yard waste.
  • We mulch shrubs and borders with wood chips to keep the soil cool, reduce evaporation, and lessen watering.
  • We use a cordless leaf blower.
  • We use liquid ice melt rather than salt on snow whenever possible.
  • We provide recycling bins for glass, plastic and paper products both inside and outside the library building.

To furnish the building

  • We refurbish or repurpose existing furnishings whenever appropriate.
  • We purchase furniture made from recycled materials and/or with recyclable components by local companies when possible.
  • We use low VOC paint products.
  • We use carpet tile substantially made from recycled content that is recyclable and individually replaceable.
  • We use recycled or sustainable products to update floor areas or counters and tabletops.

We Encourage Green Activities

  • We provide an electric vehicle charging charging station at no cost to users.
  • We offer substantial space for bicycle parking to encourage biking to the library.
  • We provide public water fountains that support refilling water bottles.
  • We have an intergovernmental agreement with the Village of Wilmette, Wilmette Park District, Wilmette Public School District 39, and the Township of New Trier to provide a Sustainability Coordinator to share knowledge and best practices across organizations, to advance research into sustainability practices, to coordinate education across the community, and to move our sustainability efforts forward.
  • We partner with Go Green Wilmette to help promote environmental awareness, inspire people to take action, and create a more sustainable community.