CNT, City of Chicago Announce New Sustainable Backyards Program Website


CHICAGO, IL – April 17, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — As the spring gardening season kicks off, the Chicago Sustainable Backyards Program (Sustainable Backyards), a City of Chicago initiative managed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), announces the launch of an exciting new and convenient website for the program: The new site centralizes resources that will help Chicagoans create environmentally beneficial landscapes throughout the city.

The Chicago Sustainable Backyards Program offers City of Chicago residents information and rebates of up to 50% on purchases of sustainable backyard improvements, including:

TREES (up to $100 back)
NATIVE PLANTS (up to $60 back)
COMPOST BINS (up to $50 back)
RAIN BARRELS (up to $40 back)

The new website features several enhancements to the popular program:

Chicago residents can now submit rebate applications online, using a smartphone or digital camera to quickly upload a photo of their receipts.
An interactive map showcases information about where to purchase trees, native plants, compost bins, and rain barrels in the Chicagoland region.
The program’s blog not only includes educational backyard advice, but also highlights stories of Chicagoans who made improvements in their backyards.
An events calendar of Sustainable Backyards workshops and events makes it easy for residents to connect with the program and other program participants near where they live.

“The new website will make both the rebates and the educational component of this program more accessible to the public,” said Sustainable Backyards program coordinator Sarita Upadhyay. “Chicagoans can also use the new site to connect with each other and share innovative ideas for their properties.”

“The Sustainable Backyards Program encourages Chicagoans to be part of the solution to issues surrounding water, waste, energy, and habitat loss. This program is successful because it calls on residents to help make Chicago more sustainable, one backyard at a time. The new website will make it even easier to be part of the solution,” said Karen Weigert, Chicago’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein commented, “The City of Chicago is proud to offer such a unique program to our residents. CDOT typically works on sustainability in the public way, and we’re excited to also promote stormwater management and green infrastructure on private property while saving residents money.”

Sustainable Backyards emphasizes the role of green infrastructure in alleviating basement and neighborhood flooding, and reducing the flow of polluted water into our rivers and Lake Michigan. Green infrastructure, as opposed to gray infrastructure (such as pipes), uses natural processes in order to infiltrate, evaporate, and/or reuse stormwater. Sustainable Backyards rebate-eligible items provide many benefits, from improving soils to cooling the air and fostering a sense of community.

Sustainable Backyards is part of CNT’s “Smart Water for Smart Regions” initiative, which includes research, inventive solutions, and regional advocacy focused on water supply and stormwater management in the Great Lakes region. Sustainable Backyards complements CNT’s wet weather retrofitting program, “Wetrofit,” which, in its pilot phase, will provide audits and resources for properties with basement flooding issues in Chicago’s Albany Park and Rogers Park neighborhoods.

Sustainable Backyards is funded by the City of Chicago and a USDA Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant.

City of Chicago residents can find more information at, or by contacting or 773-269-4086.

CNT: Sarita Upadhyay, 773-269-4086
CDOT: Sean Wiedel, 312-744-8182


Founded in 1978, CNT is a Chicago-based think-and-do tank that works nationally to advance urban sustainability by researching, inventing and testing strategies that use resources more efficiently and equitably. Its programs focus on transportation, energy, water, community development, and climate. Visit for more information.

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