Nicor Gas partners with a variety of local organizations and government agencies that share our commitment to a healthy environment and strong communities in northern Illinois.
Nicor Gas was recognized an a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR partner in 2004, making us the first commercial and industrial ENERGY STAR partner in Illinois. Together, Nicor Gas and ENERGY STAR provide financial and technical assistance, tools and information to help businesses in northern Illinois save energy, reduce operating costs and preserve the environment for future generations.
EPA Natural Gas STAR Program – As a participant in the U.S. EPA's Natural Gas STAR program, Nicor Gas is working with the EPA and others in the natural gas industry to voluntarily reduce emissions of methane, the major component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas. The Natural Gas STAR program works with industry participants to promote the use of cost-effective technologies and practices to reduce methane emissions and, as a result, lessen the impact of global warming.
Nicor Gas' partnership with the EPA, natural gas utilities and others industry participants highlights our commitment to working together, sharing ideas and ultimately delivering clean-burning natural gas with the least amount of gas escaping into the atmosphere.
The Green Infrastructure Vision takes the Biodiversity Recovery Plan one step further by creating a map of the Chicago Wilderness region that reflects the existing forest preserves, natural areas, streams, wetlands, prairies and woodlands, and highlights the biodiversity protection and restoration opportunities. The Green Infrastructure Vision maps more than 1.8 million acres of recommended resource protection areas in southeast Wisconsin and northwest Indiana. Because urban and suburban development inevitably will occur within or adjacent to many of the recommended resource protection areas, the vision includes simple conservation guidelines for those areas to ensure that the development not only protects the natural environment, but also improves systems degraded by past disturbances.
Nicor Gas is a member of the Chicago Wilderness Corporate Council, a group of some 40 businesses that have made a commitment to preserve the Chicago region's natural heritage and improve the quality of life for local residents. Nicor Gas and other council members recognize that the business community has a profound influence on the ecological health and biological diversity of the Chicago region through its people, land development practices, management practices, political activity and philanthropy. Our efforts support major initiatives such as:
With the prevalence of the Internet and video games and the loss of green space to development, today's children can be disconnected from nature. The lack of unstructured outdoor playtime may be linked to childhood obesity, attention deficit disorder, depression and other children's health problems. Chicago Wilderness launched Leave No Child Inside to foster a generation of children that care enough about nature to protect it. This initiative includes teacher training, educational programs for students, and opportunities for parents and children to participate in fun and educational visits to local natural areas. Some of those opportunities include designing window décor or decals to prevent local and migratory birds from flying into windows, and creating simple backyard birdfeeders.
The Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan (PDF) is the result of a three-year collaboration among the region's scientists, land managers, educators and policy makers. The plan outlines what must be done to "protect the natural communities of the Chicago region and restore them to ecological health in order to enrich the quality of life of its citizens and to contribute to the preservation of global diversity." The Biodiversity Recovery Plan has won state and national awards for its far-sighted approach to protecting the region's biodiversity.
Biodiversity is the totality of genes, species and ecosystems in a region. For example, a healthy prairie community would normally include dozens of plant species as well as habitat for various species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, mites, fungi and bacteria. Within a region the size of the Chicago area, biodiversity can also be measured by the number and variety of natural communities that exist side by side in a given area, such as oak savannas, meadows and wetlands. A high degree of biodiversity is normally an indication of a healthy, sustainable natural community, ecosystem or region.
The Chicago area is one of the most botanically rich areas in the United States, with approximately 1,500 native plant species and 49 different natural community types. At least 25 of our natural communities are at least rare or uncommon at the global level, and as many as 23 are globally imperiled.
Around the world, people depend on biodiversity to sustain life. The living things with which we share the planet provide us with clean water and air, food, clothing, shelter, medicines and aesthetic enjoyment, and they embody our feelings of shared culture, history and community. The nations of the world have signed a treaty calling biodiversity the common heritage of mankind and calling on all people to be custodians of the biodiversity found in their countries and regions.
Source: Chicago Wilderness
Because natural gas is widely acknowledged as an environmentally friendly fuel, the American Gas Association (AGA) has developed the Naturally Green Natural Gas Home Program. By installing natural gas appliances, home builders, remodelers and homeowners take an active part in America's Green revolution. With natural gas appliances, the homeowner ensures dependable and convenient home comfort while decreasing the home's carbon footprint now and for the future.