New report highlights sustainability achievements in 2015
Cook County is doing its part to help stem climate change.
The county is exceeding its target for reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from its buildings, the County’s 2015 Sustainability Report shows.
The County’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions have decreased by 11 percent since they were measured in 2010, an achievement that surpasses its target of an 8 percent reduction from 2010 through 2014.
Energy efficiency has been a key part of the effort and the County has increased efficiency by updating building control systems and investing in renewable energy technologies. Cumulatively, the County’s reduction in emissions is equivalent to keeping 20,400 passenger vehicles off of the road for a year.
The report was authored by the County’s Green Leadership Team led by Tasha Cruzat, the chief of staff for Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle.
“I am proud that through the efforts of my Green Leadership Team we have harnessed departments and offices from across County government to work together and creatively reduce our energy, water and fuel use as well as reduce our waste,” Preckwinkle said.
“But the efforts go beyond just County facilities. Programs to harness solar electricity clean up brownfields and recycle building materials, together with comprehensive plans for economic development and transportation, will help to support sustainable development in the County.”
Other key highlights from the report include:
- More the 500,000 tons of building materials have been diverted from landfills thanks to a 2012 County ordinance. Additionally, 100,000 tons of material have been reused or salvaged.
- Approximately 43 percent of the County’s waste was diverted from landfills. The goal is to divert 50 percent of waste from landfills by 2025.
- The County, with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is assessing brownfields in seven west suburban communities to begin the process of cleaning and redeveloping sites previously used for commercial or industrial purposes.
President Preckwinkle has made sustainability and green practices a priority in her administration. The president created the Sustainability Advisory Council, which is tasked with working with her office, the Cook County Department of Environmental Control and other County departments to put forward innovative solutions and resources for sustainability programs that foster energy efficiency and decrease pollution.
Additionally, President Preckwinkle named Deborah Stone, the director of the Cook County Department of Environmental Control, as the County’s first chief sustainability officer.