Today Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle released the Cook County 2019 Annual Sustainability Report. The report showcases the work the County has done in its pledge to create a more sustainable and environmentally safer community.
Report highlights include Cook County’s reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings, transportation, waste and water by 2.2% in 2018 from the prior year, putting the County well ahead of its target goal to achieve carbon neutral facilities by 2050. The County avoided emitting 409,869 million metric tons of total GHGs cumulatively since 2010 by reducing building emissions, and saved taxpayers a cumulative $33 million by reducing energy use since 2010. The County also reduced water usage by 12% in one year.
These initiatives align with President Preckwinkle’s vision outlined in the Cook County Policy Roadmap to create a fairer, more equitable Cook County by building vibrant, sustainable and inclusive communities where people want to live, learn, work and play.
“We have a responsibility to combat the devastating effects climate change will have in our region,” said President Preckwinkle. “We must pay particular attention to our most vulnerable neighbors who are hardest hit by the effects of climate change, such as flooding, extreme heat and poor air quality.”
Other highlights noted in the report include:
- 40% reduction in computer monitors left on overnight after behavior change pilot
- 14% reduction in fuel use since 2014 for County fleet
- 59% recycling rate at Dunne Building
- Adoption and application of Green Building Standards for the Capital Improvement Program
Cook County is also finding ways to cut energy use during the COVID-19 pandemic. While most employees work remotely, the County’s Facilities Management Department has shut off power to escalators and elevators that are not in use and lowered temperatures in unoccupied buildings.