Past Governor’s Award Winner: City of Arcola

arcolaIn this humble farming community, rich with Amish heritage and home to the founder of Raggedy Ann dolls, ISTC found a wind turbine, solar panels on city hall, and a community that was excited to be taking the lead in sustainability.


Founded in 1855, the City of Arcola is nestled off I-57 and marks the entrance to Illinois Amish County. With 2,900 residents, the city has many shops, learning opportunities and restaurants. Over the last seven years, the city has worked with Tick Tock Energy to continually integrate electrical improvements that increase efficiency and reduce overall electrical consumption.


arcola upgrades

  • Lighting upgrades: In 2008, the City began retrofitting old incandescent and T12 lighting to CFLs and T8s. Additionally, 295 watt HID fixtures were replaced with T8 fixtures to reduce energy by 85% in their fire station. With all of their lighting upgrades, they will be saving about $8,500/year. They are currently looking to transition all of these bulbs to LEDs in the future, and has already started with their street lights.
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant – Blower Upgrade: The City of Arcola’s wastewater treatment plant was one of the highest electricity consumers within the city – mainly because of a 30 year old blower system that provided aeration for sludge ponds. These blowers were upgraded to an HIS HT-30 turbo blower which reduced energy consumption by 97,000 kWh, saving the city over $9,800/ year.
  • Wind Turbine at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP): While the City was looking to reduce energy, they were also looking to produce their own clean, renewable energy. With the incentives for renewable systems at their peak, the City decided to invest in a turbine at their WWTP, producing enough electricity to cover 25-35% of the facility’s energy use.
  • Solar Panels on City Hall: In 2012, the City decided that City Hall was the optimal location for solar panels, after extensive surveying of all City buildings. A forty-two Sharp 240 watt solar PV system was installed on the rooftop, covering about 17% of City Hall’s electricity bill.


The City of Arcola has embraced energy efficiency for their facilities and county because they believe in using taxpayer dollars efficiently and effectively. Bill Wagoner, City Administrator, said that if solutions were available that could help save the city and its residents more dollars, then why not invest in these technologies and increase efficiency? Tick Tock Energy’s fact sheet on their work with Arcola is available here.


After winning the Governor’s Sustainability Award, the city also believed it was important to help their local industries become more cost-effective. They brought the Illinois Sustainability Technology Center into the community and introduced them to their major employers. In Arcola, which has a population of 2,900, a handful of companies employ over 700 people. It is extremely important for the city that these employers stay in Arcola.


The City of Arcola is just one of many examples of why this award’s program is so important. It helps educate organizations and companies about best practices; provides opportunities to connect applicants with various services throughout the state; and encourages locations throughout Illinois to reduce environmental impact.


Join us to celebrate the 29th Annual Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards on October 27th at the Sheraton Hotel Chicago. Find more information here.


View detailed case studies of past Award winners here. A comprehensive list of past Award winners is available here.