Cook County Saving Millions and Decreasing Energy Use

May 16, 2018

Cook County saved nearly $8.6 million and significantly decreased energy use in the first two years of implementing energy efficiency improvements by using guaranteed energy savings performance contracts. 

The savings resulted from two guaranteed energy savings performance contracts that updated County facilities with energy efficient lighting retrofits, boilers and chiller replacements, building controls upgrades, replacement windows and other improvements in facilities throughout Cook County, including the Cook County Jail, the campus of John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, courthouses and in administrative facilities.  

The Cook County Board of Commissioners today received the Measurement and Verification Report for 2018, which details the data collected from Sept. 1, 2015, to Nov. 30, 2017.

In that time, operating costs have decreased by nearly $4.5 million per year for utilities. Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 37,000 metric tons – the equivalent of removing 7,923 passenger vehicles from the roads for one year.  

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has made sustainability and green practices a priority in her administration.  The County has reduced energy use by 25 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 19 percent since it was first measured in 2010, according to the latest Sustainability Report

The County is also incorporating sustainable practices into transportation projects and economic development initiatives. Notable projects include:

  • The Rosemont Transit Center was redesigned and restructured as a major multi-modal transfer station increasing public transportation services for users of the express Pace bus service on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway.
  • Cook County invested $18.4 million in seven storm water infrastructure projects to address flooding issues in the south suburbs, with the goal of increasing the County’s investment in green infrastructure in future projects.

Other achievements include:

  • A reduction of the County’s vehicle fleet, which has decreased by 197 since 2014. In addition, new vehicle purchases include many energy-efficient and hybrid vehicles.
  • The County’s Dunne Administrative Building attained LEED Gold Certification and has an Energy Star score of 91, which  means its energy performance is better than 91 percent of similar buildings across the country.

In addition, the County is investing in renewable energy. Cook County has increased its solar energy portfolio with panels at the Domestic Violence and the Bridgeview courthouses. 

As part of the County’s commitment to green practices, the Department of Environmental Control changed its name in December to the Department of Environment and Sustainability, which better aligns with its ongoing initiatives and broader role.