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Tips to Go Green

The The Village of Winnetka’s Environmental and Forestry Commission (WEFC) encourages residents to think and act in a “green” manner in order to reduce our environmental impact and plan for the future.

As part of the WEFC’s environmental initiatives, the Tips To Go Green page was created as a resource and education tool for residents and visitors alike. On this page you will find collective tips and materials about methods to reduce consumption, promote recycling and encourage energy conservation. They are arranged by season as well as by topic.

Tips to Go Green by Season


  • Install compact florescent light bulbs in your home as old incandescent bulbs burn out.
  • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible to save money and energy on heating water.
  • Install a low-flow showerhead. Relatively inexpensive, it will reduce water consumption and quickly pay for itself.
  • Plant native plants in your yard that require minimal watering. To find out which plants occur naturally in our area, click here.
  • Consider planting a garden in your backyard. Not only will this reduce resources used in food transportation, but provide you and your family with locally grown produce.
  • When possible, consider visiting your local farmers market for fresh produce. Click here to view local farmers markets in the area.
  • As you are cleaning out your home, electronics can be recycled at the Public Works building.


  • Use re-usable water bottles whenever possible. Buying bottled water is not only expensive, but generates large amounts of waste.
  • Limit air conditioner use as much as possible. Instead, open multiple windows to increase airflow throughout your home to allow for a breeze.
  • Limit using a dryer to dry clothes. Instead use a drying rack or an outdoor clothes line.
  • If possible, walk or bike to work to reduce fuel consumption and improve your health. As a very bike friendly community, click here to view the Winnetka Park District’s bike route map.
  • Reduce energy use and costs in your home, school, and office by air sealing and insulating, installing ENERGY STAR doors and windows, using lighting controls, and weather stripping doors and windows.
  • Reduce energy use and costs in your home, school, and office by turning off the lights, unplugging electronics, using LED lights (for the holidays and all-year round), and adjusting blinds and curtains.
  • Appliances and electronics draw power even when they are not on. Unplug these items when they are not in use to save electricity and money.
  • The sun should be the focus of temperature control in your residence throughout the year. Open your south-facing window coverings during winter days to bring free heat into your home. Close your window coverings when the sun goes down to keep the heat inside.
  • Use ceiling fans strategically to achieve better airflow. Counter-clockwise pushes hot air up in the summer and clockwise pushes hot air down in the winter. Use a low setting to push hot air back down gently.
  • If sealing your driveway, use non coal tar based sealants. For more information, click here.

Tips to Go Green by Topic

Waste Reduction Tips:

  • Unsubscribe from unwanted mailing lists.  Go to or, email customer service to stop getting unsolicited catalogs, and unsubscribe from unsolicited email lists.
  • Reduce waste that goes into landfills by knowing what can and cannot be recycled. To learn more, please visit the Winnetka Public Works Department's Refuse and Recycling Page.
  • Bring reusable bags when going to the grocery store to eliminate use of plastic bags.
  • When possible, buy items made out of recycled content and use products multiple times such as plastic containers, paper, etc.
  • Consider composting food scraps in your backyard to divert waste from the landfill.
  • When possible, buy items in bulk to reduce on packaging material.
  • Bring Styrofoam, batteries, holiday lights, old tennis shoes, CFL bulbs and small electronics to the Public Works Facility at 1390 Willow Road to be recycled.

Energy Saving Tips:

  • Use a motion-detector equipped bulb or fixture or timer on outdoor lighting to efficiently light the outside of your home.
  • Use cold water whenever possible. Heating water requires additional energy.
  • Check for seals, cracks and gaps around windows and doors that may let out heat or air-conditioned air.
  • When old appliances stop working, purchase new energy-efficient models that require less electricity.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to lower your utility bills and more closely manage your heating and cooling systems more efficiently.
  • Remember to turn off lights and electronics when not in use.
  • Clean your air conditioner’s filters regularly to keep your system running at an optimal level.

Pollution Prevention Tips:

  • Use water-based paint when possible to reduce harmful chemicals that may end up polluting our water.
  • When buying your next vehicle, look for fuel-efficient, hybrid or full electric models.
  • Consider installing solar panels on your house to eliminate air pollution associated with the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Choose earth-friendly lawn care products and eliminate harmful fertilizer chemicals when possible.
  • Leave grass clipping on lawn as a natural fertilizer and to reduce landscape waste.
  • Avoid aerosol products that put harmful pollutants into the air.
  • Plant trees to provide clean air and shade in your yard.


Additional Resources

Solid Waste Agency of Northen Cook County (SWANCC):

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