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Illinois Town Launches Toilet Rebate Program

June 11, 2010 - 4:23pm

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The city of Aurora, Illinois, has launched a rebate program that aims to help residents avoid flushing money and energy down the toilet.

Aurora is using $10,000 of its $1.5 million Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) for the city’s Water Saving Toilet Rebate Program, which gives residents $100 if they purchase efficient WaterSense-labeled toilets.

The rebate program, which requires residents to purchase toilets at Aurora businesses, started on June 1 and will continue until Sept. 1 or until rebate funds run out.

Karen Zilly, with Aurora’s Neighborhood Redevelopment Division, said the program “hits on multiple tiers” by slashing water and energy bills for residents, boosting commerce and benefiting the environment. “We felt we would be promoting the local economy and local jobs while also promoting energy savings.”

Zilly said the city and local businesses are working together to help make the program a success. “They are working with us to make sure there’s plenty [of efficient toilets] available.”

Residents are becoming aware of the program through the city’s outreach campaign. “We are promoting the program to residents but are also promoting it on the back end,” Zilly said. “We have also promoted the program to local contractors and plumbers who are doing the installing.”

So far the promotion efforts have paid off. Zilly said about 30 WaterSense toilets were sold in the first week.Home improvement companies are spreading the word as well. “We are relying on business to promote the program to their customers,” says Zilly.

Aurora residents with toilets needing 1.6 gallons of water per flush qualify for the program. Application forms are located on the city’s website.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates WaterSense toilets can save a family of four an average of $90 or more a year on water bills and $2,000 over the product’s lifetime.

A wider view

Aurora is also undertaking additional projects through EECBG funding.

The city of 171,000 has completed several lighting retrofits including ones at City Hall, parking garages and other municipal buildings.

In addition, Aurora is installing a free-standing wind turbine at its LEED certified police headquarters. Another wind turbine will power traffic lights at two intersections.

Aurora has made going green a priority, developing a sustainability plan that maps out energy, water and transportation goals.

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