ComEd partners with Cook County for green initiatives
Cook County has entered into a pro bono partnership with ComEd, the state’s largest energy provider, an effort that is designed to save energy and taxpayer dollars. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined today with ComEd chairman and CEO Frank M. Clark to announce an energy-efficiency initiative that is expected to produce $850,000 in annual cost savings. ComEd will also be conducting regular site visits to implement best practices for energy savings. The company will provide the County with personnel as well as research and real-time data about power usage at County facilities to track and manage performance. Already, the County has acquired better tools to track and monitor its energy usage. A dedicated energy tracking line will be utilized by Facilities Management to monitor energy usage, prevent energy spikes and help reduce overall energy use. Preckwinkle said this partnership meets an ongoing administrative goal of working with private industry to save tax dollars. “It’s important that the public sector and the private sector are building new relationships and collaborating on important issues like cost-savings and energy efficiency,” she said. Clark said that the assistance ComEd has provided during the preliminary walk-through process has already served to identify cost-savings opportunities. “Based on our review of energy usage at the Cook County building in downtown Chicago alone, we have identified more than $850,000 in potential annual energy cost savings,” Clark said. “We are committed to empowering ComEd customers with the tools they need to make more informed energy decisions and we are proud to help make Cook County greener through long- and short-term initiatives that will save energy and tax dollars.” Clark was a member of President Preckwinkle’s transition team. The energy saving initiatives already under way include preliminary walk-throughs of all facilities. As a result of the data collected during walk-throughs, the County has received approval from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for the retro-commissioning of building automation systems at several County buildings. This retro-commissioning will result in a significant reduction in energy usage. The Facilities Management Department has made it a goal to achieve the Energy Star rating for numerous County buildings, including the County Records Warehouse at 2323 S. Rockwell and the Domestic Violence Court House at 555 W. Harrison Street. The Energy Star program was introduced in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of an effort to introduce energy efficient practices and products and was later applied to computers and appliances.The EPA’s innovative energy performance rating system has been used for more than 130,000 buildings across the country. Wattage Wars energy saving competition The goal of the competition is to reduce overall energy consumption between March 1 and August 31, 2011 by four percent at all of the County’s outlying court houses, the County’s Juvenile Detention Center West facility and the Rockwell Warehouse. The total savings from a four percent overall reduction and an estimated 10 percent reduction during times of peak energy demand at these facilities will be between $500,000 annually. The buildings will be able to measure their progress through monthly energy benchmarks. Weekly energy consumption readings will be reported via the dedicated energy line. Daily reports will be provided to engineering staff at each building so they can make adjustments to reduce usage. The winning team will receive a prize: for example, the Building Engineer and Assistant Engineer at the facility that reaches the largest overall energy reduction could represent Cook County at a national energy conservation or sustainability conference. Preckwinkle said the contest is important for employees and building engineers who take energy saving seriously. “We’re counting on front line employees to measure current energy performance, set goals and benchmarks, track savings and provide recommendations to build a greener Cook County. Our employees are able to directly participate in achieving the goals of our administration, that’s the kind of collaboration we’re looking for because it will allow us to better manage our energy consumption and produce significant savings,” she said. Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), one of the nation’s largest electric utilities with approximately 5.4 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.