Built in 1855, the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield is among the oldest and longest continuously-occupied Governor’s residences in the nation. Abraham Lincoln and six other Presidents attended events there. Governor Pat Quinn has declared it the “People’s House” and hosted a wide range of audiences and guests there.
To set a “green” example for all Illinois residents, Governor Quinn has been transforming this 159-year old relic into a model of sustainable living.
A timetable of transformation:
Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s White House vegetable garden, the Governor’s Mansion plants its own vegetable garden on Earth Day. By summer, herbs and vegetables are abundant. Today, with the help of volunteer community gardeners, it is a lush and productive garden which helps offer a healthy menu for Executive Mansion guests.
Rain barrels are put under Executive Mansion drain spouts to divert rainwater out of the municipal sewer system and into the Mansion’s vegetable garden.
A compost garden is created on the Executive Mansion grounds. Food scraps from Mansion events and landscaping debris are transformed into rich nutrients which are spread over the Mansion’s vegetable garden, shrubs and trees.
Three Illinois firms donate solar panels which are installed on the Mansion’s roof by volunteers from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 193, making Illinois only the second Governor’s Mansion to go solar. This bolsters Illinois’ standing as one of the nation’s leaders in solar power.
History is made as the Illinois Executive Mansion becomes the first to install an Electric Vehicle charging station. Within three years, there are EV charging stations all across Illinois, including stations at Illinois Toll Highway oases and on college campuses.
A Naperville company installs LED lighting throughout the Executive Mansion. The new system will consume 90 percent less energy, last for 10 years and pose less of a threat to historic artifacts.
Digital water meters are installed to better monitor usage.
The Executive Mansion replaces its aging air conditioners with an energy efficient system.
Soon, 2014. Illinois will once again make history when its Executive Mansion becomes the first with its own chicken coop. A state-of-the-art coop has been donated as well as chicks. Eggs served at the Mansion’s breakfast table will suddenly taste fresher.