County’s Energy Reduction Initiative earns national achievement award

Laura Oakleaf

Cook County earned a national achievement award for saving a whopping $2.5 million dollars in energy costs.

The award was presented in May by the National Association of Counties in recognition of Cook County’s successful efforts to significantly reduce energy consumption. The county won in the category of “Environmental Protection and Energy” for its innovative Energy Reduction and Cost Saving Initiative, launched by President Preckwinkle in partnership with ComEd in March 2011.

“The award recognizes that we’re achieving—and even exceeding—our goals of saving tax dollars and building a greener Cook County,” said President Preckwinkle. “The real winners are the taxpayers and the environment.”

The energy-saving initiative surpassed the original estimate of $850,000 in annual costs savings, with the county already achieving $2.5 million in savings over a 14-month period.

“Our success is the result of our partnership with ComEd. We’d like to thank CEO Anne Pramaggiore for working with us so effectively and for serving as co-chair of the county’s Sustainability Advisory Council. We plan to continue forming public-private sector partnerships in the future because it saves tax dollars,” President Preckwinkle said.

President Preckwinkle also thanked the Department of Facilities Management, under the direction of James D’Amico, which led the effort to curtail electrical usage, measure energy performance, set goals and track savings.

During the county’s six-month “Wattage Wars” that started in March 2011, nine county facilities were required to reduce energy and save taxpayer dollars. The result was over $1 million in savings to Cook County and its constituents. While the competition has ended, the savings have continued and have reached in excess of $2.5 million dollars.

This latest recognition is in addition to other sustainability initiatives under President Preckwinkle’s direction. The county recently won the “Battle of the Bulbs”—an energy saving competition that pitted Chicago City Hall against the Cook County Building. And the president’s new Sustainability Advisory Council is helping identify innovative solutions that foster energy efficiency and decrease pollution.