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Going Green In Edgewater

greenThe Edgewater Chamber of Commerce hosted a community event “Greening your Bottom Line” today at Uncommon Ground on Devon Avenue. This was a panel discussion featuring local business leaders who put a priority on green enterprise. Helen Cameron from Uncommon Ground hosted the event and shared her experience in reducing energy usage, and paper and water waste at their two restaurants. Through such things as LED bulbs, EnergyStar appliances, low-flow water fixtures and switching to hand dryers over paper towels, they have been able to significantly decrease their carbon footprint and save a lot of money.

Brian Bonnano of Eco-Andersonville, an initiative of the Andersonville Development Corporation (ADC), shared some of the initiatives he has been implementing to help local businesses go green and save money. Over the last few years, he has implemented a sustainable business certification program, which helps business become more environmentally friendly and conveys to patrons their environmental consciousness.   Recently Eco-Andersonville has created a program to help businesses retrofit their EXIT signs with LED lights.

Patricia Harada, owner of Lightitech, was also on hand to share her knowledge and expertise. Lightitech provides businesses with assessments on how they can best reduce their energy use and costs. Utilizing Com-Ed and People’s Gas incentives, most companies will recover their initial investments in under a year.

Although she could not be there in person, video commentary from Maria Sigman, owner of Salon Echo, was shown.  Motivated by the health risks associated with working in a salon, Salon Echo  embarked on a journey several years ago to become a low toxin and waste salon.  They partnered with Green Circle Salon to recycle their waste – including hair which can be used to help with oil spills.

Although this event was targeted to business owners, the average person can still make a significant dent in their carbon footprint and energy costs. Patricia Harada of Lightitech recommends starting by replacing your high mileagelights with LED lights. If you spend much of your time in the kitchen, start there and slowly expand into the rest of your home.

The event concluded with a tour of Uncommon Ground’s rooftop garden – the first certified organic rooftop garden in the country. This garden allows them to bring a whole new meaning to the term “sourced locally.” If all goes as planned, they will also be brewing their own beer starting next month. It will be brewed at the Wrigleyville location  but will be available in Edgewater as well.

What initiatives do you take to be more eco-friendly?

Jen Loboda is a lover al all things green. She is a health coach and founder of Nutritious in the City. Follow her on Twitter at @NutritiousCity


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